Wikipedia Loves Libraries/Editing ideas

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Ideas for editing:   for librarians and participants at library edit-a-thons

Ten ideas for contributing to Wikipedia during a library edit-a-thon[edit]

Link library or archival collections[edit]

Link relevant archival or special collections under the "external links" section of an article.

Example edits
  • This template is intended for use in the External Links section. It displays the location of a notable figure's archives, identifiers, access conditions, and a link to the digital description. It uses the Wikidata property archives at (P485).

Write about a topic in library collections[edit]

Does the library have a special collection or a particularly strong collection on a particular topic? If so, use this collection to reference articles articles on that topic. Also take a look at the library's reference works -- biographical encyclopedias, literary encyclopedias and other common reference works are often under-cited and under-utilized in Wikipedia articles.

Add identifiers[edit]

There are a number of identifier tags, including links to outside library resources and authority control tags, that can be added to articles.

Example edits

Build bibliographies[edit]

Every article can use a bibliography of further reading to point the interested reader towards other useful resources; this is separate from the references section. "Further reading" can include the best-known, core or historically important works on a subject, as well as comprehensive works such as subject encyclopedias and biographies.

There are a multitude of free and open-access publications put out by consumer agencies, government bureaus and scientific organizations, many of which would serve as useful external links and further reading for Wikipedia articles. Librarians can help surface these publications. (Remember that links and references should be directly related to the topic of the article, but broad enough to be useful for a wide readership).

Example edits

Write about books, journals ... and libraries[edit]

Major reference works and journals should have articles about them. For existing articles, sources discussing the work and detailed publication information often needs to be added. Articles about libraries big and small need to be copyedited, made more comprehensive and formatted. Many articles related to library and information science need to be made more comprehensive and better referenced -- or may not even exist yet!


Check (and improve) references[edit]

Most articles on Wikipedia do cite some references, but often these are poorly formatted or are missing information. Expanding, completing and verifying references is core work that librarians are well-placed to do.

Example edits
  • add ISBNs and DOIs where needed
  • format "raw" citations (URLs, incomplete citations) to use citation templates
  • add publication information to bibliographies lacking it

Find a citation[edit]

There are roughly 320,000 articles on the English Wikipedia at any given time that have statements tagged as [citation needed]: that is, they need a source for the statement that is being claimed. Some of these statements are simple factual claims that just need an outside source (such as a newspaper article, a book or journal) to verify the claim being made. Sometimes [citation needed] is used to indicate a more difficult matter of interpretation.

In addition to articles that need more citations, there are around 230,000 articles on the English Wikipedia that have no sources listed. These articles need to have references about the topic found, footnotes added as appropriate, and the text of the article checked against the sources.

Think of this backlog as half a million reference questions waiting to be answered. If someone asked you about the topic of the article, where would you direct them to look?

Example edits

Expand a biography[edit]

There are hundreds of thousands of biographies in Wikipedia, and most of them could use some work. For instance, articles about authors should include a separate bibliography of their works.

Example edits

Add images and videos[edit]



Do any of the edit-a-thon participants speak a second language? If so, encourage them to contribute to that language Wikipedia. English is the largest Wikipedia edition, which means that there are many topics waiting to be covered in other languages. It can be particularly satisfying to contribute to a "small" site that needs a lot of work -- any contributions, from writing a new article to adding to an existing article, will be welcome.

  • Find a list of all language Wikipedias at
  • One "translation" project that English speakers can participate in is adding to the Simple English Wikipedia: which aims to make easily accessible versions of English articles for translation and English learners.

Contributing to other projects[edit]

All of these projects are hosted by Wikimedia and based on the same software as Wikipedia. There are also several other projects hosted by Wikimedia in addition to the ones listed below, including Wiktionary, Wikinews, Wikibooks, Wikiquote and Wikispecies. The following are some ideas for getting started on these "sister" projects.

Contribute to Wikidata[edit]

Categorize images on Commons[edit]

Add manuscripts to Wikisource[edit]

Write about your town on Wikivoyage[edit]

  • WikiVoyage is a free travel guide project. An easy way to get started is to find the article about your hometown or region and add more details. If there's not already an article about your town, start one! If you live in a major city that is already well covered, try adding to the article about the region or writing about places you've been.