To kick off 2018, we attended two conferences, joining university faculty and inviting them to participate in our programs to improve Wikipedia. At the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) conference, which we attended for the third year in a row, dozens of instructors were excited to sign up and join LSA’s initiative to document and preserve language on Wikipedia. It was great to see how word-of-mouth can spread within a discipline—thanks in part to LSA members like Gretchen McCullough and Lauren Collister. They coordinated a Wikipedia-editing session for attendees, and we found a buzz in the air about the dire need to make Wikipedia as comprehensive and accurate as possible.
One of our instructors, Dr. Margaret Thomas, was slated to speak at the conference with a former student, Jared Collier, who participated in the Classroom Program. After she was delayed by weather, another student from the Spring 2017 course, Sissi Liu, joined Jared to take her place and share the classroom experience. It was great to hear from two former students about how hard they worked to add high quality research to Wikipedia. Now that we’re supporting so many linguistics instructors, courses, and students each term, we’ve created a linguistic-specific guideline for students about how to edit Wikipedia, helping more students achieve this level of work.
Next, we joined astronomers at the American Astronomical Society’s annual meeting. We spoke with astronomers who love Wikipedia, more students who have participated in our Classroom Program, and university instructors who hope to learn how they can join our efforts to make science more accessible to the world. We look forward to the great work to come from the newly inspired linguists, astronomers, and their students.