Writing African American History Into Wikipedia


  • Laurie M. Bridges Oregon State University
  • Diana Park Oregon State University
  • Tiah K. Edmunson-Morton Oregon State University




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As the world’s largest information database, Wikipedia is a familiar resource for many people. Given the ubiquity of Wikipedia articles on various topics, it has become a first stop for conducting online searches. However, there is a gap of information within Wikipedia related to African American history, and addressing Wikipedia’s well-documented racial bias should be a priority for librarians and archivists (“Racial bias on Wikipedia,” 2019). In February of 2019, Oregon State University Libraries and Press hosted a Wikipedia Editathon, “Writing African American History into Wikipedia.”

In the early fall of 2018, we began planning for the Wikipedia Editathon. Two librarians and one archivist, the authors of this article, formed a small team to decide on workflows and individual roles. The team initially discussed various ideas for an editathon theme, but quickly settled on African American history in the Pacific Northwest, which could be incorporated into OSU’s annual African American History Month activities in February. In addition, we all felt that Pacific Northwest African American history is not well known, even among residents of the Pacific Northwest, and so we focused on local history. None of the team members identify as African American, which made the first step, establishing partnerships, vitally important.


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Author Biographies

Laurie M. Bridges, Oregon State University

Laurie Bridges is an Instruction and Outreach librarian at Oregon State University. She is the library liaison for international programs and liberal arts. In 2019, she taught a two-credit Wikipedia undergraduate course; co-authored a column for the Journal of Academic Librarianship about Wikipedia; participated in the international Wikipedia + Education conference; and is currently co-researching librarian use of Wikipedia in Spain as an outreach and instruction tool. She received an MS from Oregon State University in College Student Services Administration with a minor in Women Studies and her MLIS from the University of Washington.

Diana Park, Oregon State University

Diana Park is a Science librarian at Oregon State University. She started at OSU in the fall of 2018 and immediately joined the team in planning OSU’s first Wikipedia editathon. She is currently working on a project to research retention of Wikipedia editors among underrepresented groups. She received her MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Tiah K. Edmunson-Morton, Oregon State University

Tiah Edmunson-Morton is the director of the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives at Oregon State University’s Library, which was established in 2013 and is the first of its kind in the country. In addition to her curatorial work, she oversees other programs in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center. She teaches courses on library and archival research, oral histories, and university history; manages the department’s exhibits and internship programs; and coordinates social media and outreach. She has an MLIS from San José State University, MA in English Literature from Miami University, and is a Certified Archivist.




How to Cite

Bridges, L. M., Park, D., & Edmunson-Morton, T. K. (2019). Writing African American History Into Wikipedia. OLA Quarterly, 25(2), 16–21. https://doi.org/10.7710/1093-7374.1987