Critical issues presentations/Glass Ceilings and Ivory Towers: Wikipedia, the Gender Gap, and Academic Libraries

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Submission no. 162
Title of the submission

Glass Ceilings and Ivory Towers: Wikipedia, the Gender Gap, and Academic Libraries

Author of the submission
  • Kelly Doyle
Country of origin

United States of America


Outreach, Projects, Research

  • Gender Gap
  • Academic Libraries
  • Accessibility
  • Wikipedians in Residence
  • Publishing

Wikipedia’s goal of creating free and open access to knowledge worldwide is complicated by the inequity of articles and editors on Wikipedia. The gender gap is a problem faced by Wikipedia and institutions worldwide. However, this issue can be mitigated with the dissemination of knowledge from several avenues. This presentation will be twofold in that it will explore the gender gap on Wikipedia and how academic libraries can aid in closing that gap. This presentation is broad based and most individuals with an interest in Wikipedia will be interested in this presentation, but it is particularly intended for anyone who is interested in the gender gap, academic libraries, and the future of publishing and Wikipedia’s role in that future.

Academic libraries can help address the issue of the gender gap by employing Wikipedians in Residence, but also by contributing otherwise difficult to access knowledge from scholarly research to various Wikipedia articles. This would, in effect, make the most current research and information previously only available through expensive journal subscriptions or text purchases, available on Wikipedia’s platform. These positions could and would revolutionize the climate of both academic libraries and Wikipedia as a whole but also the world of publishing and the worldwide access to up to date knowledge.

At West Virginia University, through our Wikipedian in Residence position, we are attempting to begin addressing these issues at the highest ranks of our organization and thus setting this position up for success and cultivating successful and measurable outcomes. At West Virginia University the Wikipedian in Residence enjoys high-level institutional support within the organization and institution, which provides freedom for various initiatives both within and outside of the University community.

The expansion of the Wikipedian in Residence position and role within various institutions will provide a vehicle for this research and knowledge to be added to Wikipedia but will also allow academia at large to participate in the global outreach of free knowledge for each and every individual. Wikipedia can continue to change the way in which knowledge is disseminated and be a driver for change through continued and evolving partnerships with academic libraries and librarians on a global scale. Wikipedian in Residence positions at these institutions will prove valuable because of the ability to perpetually add valuable and current content for all to access.

      • Disclaimer - I am the current Wikipedian in Residence for Gender Equity at West Virginia University. This position is partially funded by a grant from the Wikimedia Foundation from October 2015 through October 2016. While I have confirmed with the Wikimedia Foundation that I am not considered Wikimedia Foundation staff and thus not included in the 25% quota for presentation at Wikimania 2016, I thought it best to disclose my status in detail.

Not accepted