Kansas City museum, library using resources to improve Wikipedia pages on local black artists

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — You’ve probably used Wikipedia to look up something. You probably have also been warned to take its information with a grain of salt.

“Wikipedia is this amazing source,” Amelia Nelson, Head of Librarian Archives of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, said. “But as most of us have heard, it’s not the most amazing source for authoritative and accurate information.”

On Saturday, Nelson and a group of people working with both the art museum and the Kansas City Public Library tried to change that. The Nelson-Atkins hosted its fourth annual Wiki Edit-A-Thon to add a bit more truth to those Wikipedia pages.

This time, the group specifically focused on African-American artists in Kansas City.

“These are people who we work with every day in the museum and the library,” Nelson said. “When we can share information about their careers, we’re thrilled to be able to do that.”

It took a few minutes for simple tutorial, and then each person in the group was assigned an artist. Using research from the museum and public’s library, the volunteer worked to add truthful information to the existing Wikipedia page.

“Wikipedia is consistently one of the top-visited web pages in the world,” Nelson said. “So when we are able to edit and improve articles on African American artists, we’re able to make them more widely appreciated, and we’re able to make sure that the information that’s out there on them and their careers is accurate.”

There will be another Wikipedia edit-a-thon on Monday, March 23rd from 4 – 7 pm at the American Jazz Museum. This workshop will focus on editing and expanding the Wikipedia pages of women in jazz.



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