Australian Women in Religion Wiki Project Newsletter

Welcome to the August 2023 issue of the Australian Women in Religion (AWR) WikiProject Newsletter.

The initial goal of the project was to create 100 new Wikipedia articles about women whose life or work was  influenced in some way by religious and spiritual traditions. Many of these women have made significant contributions in the church, community and wider Australian society, in diverse fields such as education, health, social welfare and philanthropy. Creating new Wikipedia articles also helps address the gender imbalance on Wikipedia where less than 20% of biographical articles are about women. Having achieved our initial target we are now aiming to reach 200 new Wikipedia articles by the end of 2023. The project has significantly expanded in scope since its inception and now incorporates a range of associated projects and activities. Please read on for news, achievements and ways that you can become involved.


Wikimedia Australia Project Partner Grant

The University of Divinity was one of four successful applicants for a Wikimedia Australia Project Partner grant, which were announced in April 2023.
This grant enabled us to appoint Linda Pascal as a Wikipedian-in-Residence for the four-month term of the project (1 May to 31 August 2023).
The aim of the project is to use multiple Wikimedia platforms to enhance the discoverability of the University’s digital library collections.
Linda and I have focussed on women involved in the early days of Christian feminism in Australia, and their associated groups, movements and publications. In particular this has included women involved with the Movement for the Ordination of Women and women associated with the journal Women-Church: An Australian Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. Some of the key achievements of the project to date include the following:

Wikipedia Articles Created

The following new articles have been created during the term of the project, in addition to improving many others.

Digitised Publications

The Wikipedia articles created relate to the publications that have been digitised by staff at Mannix Library in East Melbourne. All material was initially added to the University’s Digital Collections website. To further enhance discoverability content was also added to the JSTOR Shared Collections platform. These publications are all freely available for anyone to access.

Optical character recognition (OCR) has been done as part of the digitisation process and so it is possible to search the text of publications for specific terms. Having this content digitised enables us to link to individual issues via a permanent URL and to add citations and permalinks to relevant Wikipedia articles.

Other deliverables of the grant include submitting reports on the Wikimedia-in-Residence experience and making significant progress on a peer-reviewed publication.

AWR Wikipedia – Closing the Gender Gap

There are currently 673 names on our list. As a result of the work associated with the Wikimedia Australia grant, the names of several organisations and publications associated with early Christian feminism in Australia have also been added to the AWR List.

Those with existing Wikipedia articles have their name display as a blue link and those still to be created display as red links.

Our challenge is to change those red links to blue.

In July 2015 around 15.5% of the English Wikipedia’s biographies were about women. As of July 202319.61% of the English Wikipedia’s biographies are about women. That’s a lot of biographies created in the effort to close the gender gap. But we still have a lot of work to do.

Learn to Edit Wikipedia

On Wednesday 29th March 2023 we held an AWR Project Information evening via Zoom. Thank you to the 22 people who registered and to everyone who has expressed an interest in dipping their toe into the world of Wikimedia. Thanks also to Wikimedia Australia members Belinda Spry and Pru Mitchell for providing a very helpful overview, as well as the benefit of their considerable expertise.

The need to focus on the deliverables of the Wikimedia Australia grant has meant that we haven’t been able to schedule any follow up sessions but there are some great resources available if you would like to learn more about editing Wikipedia.

Free Online Workshops and Drop In Sessions – Introducing Wikipedia
Wikimedia Australia is hosting an online workshop introducing the basics of editing Wikipedia, on the first Thursday of each month (1.30-2.30pm)
This will be followed by a one hour drop in session where you can ask questions, share your work, or just hang out and edit Wikipedia together (2.30-3.30pm)
Further Details are available on the Wikimedia Australia website – https://wikimedia.org.au/wiki/Introducing:_Wikipedia_-_Workshop_and_Drop_In_Sessions.

Event Registration
Bookings for the Wikipedia workshop can be made on Eventbrite. Just choose the date you want to attend.
The Zoom links for each date is on the events pages below. You’re welcome to attend both events as often as you like.

Other Online Wikipedia Training Resources
There are many training resources available. We recommend working your way through the videos and modules available on the Wikimedia Australia Training page which can be followed at your own pace – https://wikimedia.org.au/wiki/Training

AWR Project – How to get Involved?

  • Suggest new names to add to our AWR List
    We are always interested in expanding the diversity of women on our list so please reach out if you have suggestions for names or categories of women that could be included or expanded upon. We welcome additional names of notable women from different faith traditions and different demographic groups, including those based on age, gender, occupation or cultural background.
  • Fill Gaps – Check out the material that we have already digitised and see if you can fill any gaps or suggest new material.
  • Spread the news – Please let anyone interested in accessing material on women and religion know about these primary resources.
  • Select someone from the AWR List that is currently a red link that you would like to research and write about. Find some reliable secondary sources about them, and create a new Wikipedia article!
  • Work through the Online Training Resources or come along to one of the free Online Workshops and Drop In Sessions to learn how.

Community Engagement and Wiki-Events

I had the great pleasure of presenting about the AWR at the Breaking through the stained-glass ceiling: Women in the Church: past, present and future seminar which was held on 27 July 2023 and hosted by St Francis College in Brisbane.  https://www.stfran.qld.edu.au/upcoming-events/2023/7/27/seminar-breaking-through-the-stained-glass-ceiling

I will also be presenting about the project at the 37th Annual ANZTLA Conference 2023 which is being held in Christchurch, New Zealand on 22-25 November 2023. https://www.anztla.org/conference-2023

Wikimania 2023 is coming up on 16-19 August 2023, in Singapore and Online. https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2023:Wikimania

The Understanding Wikimedia as a Digital Media Platform: Research Seminar/Workshop was held on 11 July at the University of Sydney. Organised by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) the event included speakers from the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Sydney, University of Queensland, the State Library of New South Wales and RMIT University.

A presentation titled Mythbusting Wikipedia: Misinformation, AI, and Volunteers was held during Library and Information Week and hosted by the Australian Library and Information Association. The presenter was Belinda Spry, Executive Officer, Wikimedia Australia.


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Contact details

Our mailing address is:
Kerrie Burn
Mannix Library
278 Victoria Parade
East Melbourne, VIC 3002
Email: kburn@divinity.edu.au

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