Wikipedia Workshop returns with a new volunteering programme

We’re pleased to announce that our Access Data service will be running another Wikipedia Workshop, in cooperation with Edinburgh University, on Wednesday 19 April. Each workshop teaches the basics of how Wikipedia works and how to start creating articles, whilst at the same time practicing key digital skills – essential for the contemporary job market.

The partnership began with a natural connection in locality between Access to Industry and neighbours St Cecilia’s Hall (pictured), which houses the University of Edinburgh’s musical instrument collection, and became the venue for the first Wikipedia Workshop.

Participants then have the opportunity to continue their learning by volunteering with library digitisation. Of the 20 who have completed the course so far, seven have continued on as volunteers with the University of Edinburgh Heritage Collections – auditing, updating and editing pages linked to the university’s collection.

The volunteer work is flexible and allows them to further develop their employability skillset, giving them valuable office environment and teamwork experience. Some impressive recent examples of Wikipedia pages that the volunteers have worked on include: Fiona Wilson’s Celtic Psalter page, created from scratch, and the gallery of images that Ian added to the Album amicorum page.

We will soon be launching a further progression route with a Digital Collections Wikisource Volunteer programme, working to identify and upload digitised heritage collections to Wikisource (Wikimedia’s online library of digitised texts). It will teach valuable skills in managing digital documents as well as learning about OCR (how computers can make digital documents searchable) and transcription.

Laura Beattie, Community Outreach Officer at The University of Edinburgh, says:
Our partnership with Access to Industry is one of our most valued, enabling us to use our venues and collections in projects resulting in positive social impact. The volunteers perform vital activities adding information and images about our collections to Wikipedia, which allows many more to people find them. It’s been a pleasure working with the volunteers, especially watching them grow in confidence and ability: we’ve been really impressed by their progress and the quality of their work. We’re looking forward to them progressing to the next stage of the volunteer programme, where they’ll use their newfound skills to make a range of books and texts available for all to read on the Wikisource Platform.

You can learn more about our Access Data service here.

Image credit: Jim Stephenson.

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