University’s Wikipedia work wins inaugural award
Press release issued: 26 July 2012
The University of Bristol has won a special award for its efforts to ‘bring knowledge to all’ through the charitable arm of Wikipedia.
Wikimedia UK is a membership organisation supporting online reference site Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects in this country. It was recognised as a charity last November.
Bristol University supported a unique paid internship which allowed student Sam Knight to explore various ways in which staff and students might be able to both use and improve Wikimedia resources and Wikipedia entries.
Due to a poor ratio of male to female editors, currently 87:13, the project organised a Wikimedia Girl Geek Dinner, which was hosted at the University to generate more interest among women who might like to get involved with the website – currently the fifth most used in the world.
Wikipedia is maintained across all languages by tens of thousands of editors - about 77,000 of whom make more than five edits a month. Wikimedia UK want to harness all this information to the benefit of learning institutions and also wants to recruit editors to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information is available on Wikipedia.
The winners of the inaugural UK Wikimedian of the Year awards were announced at Wikimedia UK's annual conference at the Science Museum in London. They recognise individuals and partner organisations that have ‘gone above and beyond the call of duty to help bring open knowledge to all’.
Dave Jarman, Head of Enterprise Education at the University of Bristol, managed the internship and said: “We’re honoured to receive the award and play a role in some pioneering activities.
“The University of Bristol saw a variety of opportunities in working with Wikimedia – as a tool for public engagement, as a vehicle for research impact, as a teaching tool engaging students in writing for the lay person, and in some exciting projects around geo-tagging and school outreach. We were able to explore a few of these last summer by hiring a student intern to develop our ideas.”
The award takes the form of a physical version of a ‘Barnstar’ - the virtual award given internally in Wikipedia for excellent contributions.