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Report accepted
This report for a Rapid Grant approved in FY 2017-18 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • To read the approved grant submission describing the plan for this project, please visit Grants:Project/Rapid/BehnBurney2017Conference.
  • You may still comment on this report on its discussion page, or visit the discussion page to read the discussion about this report.
  • You are welcome to Email rapidgrants at wikimedia dot org at any time if you have questions or concerns about this report.


Did you meet your goals? Are you happy with how the project went?

We did not meet editor/participant goals largely due to the weather, which delayed the arrival of participants (many of whom were traveling considerable distances) and complicated the ability of those in transit to participate remotely.

Despite the lower than initially projected attendance, the event was a success. The Edit-a-thon continued the tradition that Wikipedia is a mainstay at the Behn/Burney Society conference. The lower number of attendees allowed Kelly Doyle (Wikipedian in Residence at West Virginia University Libraries) to form relationships with interested academics at multiple universities across the U.S. There were lively discussions about students using Wikipedia in their classrooms, about academics updating Wikipedia articles within their area of expertise (and the benefits to the greater public), and further conversations on pedagogy.

The Edit-a-thon also reinforced the importance of Wikipedia events in academic conferences generally. The Edit-a-thon was featured on the conference program and the conference poster; the ~80 conference attendees (from 23 states, Canada, and the United Kingdom), along with the conference sponsors (Duquesne University and West Virginia University) which promoted the Edit-a-thon and its importance to women’s studies, research, and pedagogy.


Please report on your original project targets.

Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
50 participants 13 participants The participation and editing figures were lower than anticipated despite marketing the event in a variety of contexts and formats. (For event statistics, see

We had hoped for 100+ conference attendees (and a corresponding cohort to attend the Edit-a-thon as a pre-conference event), but travel budgets have been cut throughout academia, which has diminished conference attendance generally. We had also invited members of the Duquesne community to attend (the Edit-a-thon was free and open to the public), but campus was closed on Wednesday, November 1 for All Saint’s Day, which diminished the number of people who would have otherwise dropped in and participated.

While we did not reach our targets, we count the engagement during the event as positive. The participants made plans made to use Wikipedia in their classrooms, to continue editing Wikipedia entries on their own, and in some cases, to invite Kelly Doyle to speak at their home institution about Wikipedia pedagogy. These results signal the growing integration of Wikipedia into the academic community, which is a net positive.

15-20 new editors 9 new editors see above
25 improved or created articles 27 improved articles, 5 created articles see above
5-10 repeat editors 4 repeat editors see above


Projects do not always go according to plan. Sharing what you learned can help you and others plan similar projects in the future. Help the movement learn from your experience by answering the following questions:

  • What worked well?

The smaller group worked in our favor to facilitate discussions about larger issues, such as integrating Wikipedia in academia and at academic conferences in the humanities.

  • What did not work so well?

The attendance was lower than originally planned, which led to fewer new editors being trained, and few edits than we had hoped.

  • What would you do differently next time?

(1) Rethink the timing of the event: it is worth considering scheduling the Edit-a-thon as a post-conference event, or possibly scheduling time during the conference for the Edit-a-thon. Future conference organizers should consider surveying conference attendees regarding their scheduling preferences.

(2) Invite conference attendees who have attended previous Edit-a-thons to lead Wikipedia training, as a way to seed attendance.

(3) Develop plans for different levels of Edit-a-thon experience, so that experienced Wikipedia editors as well as those new to Wikipedia editing are encouraged to attend.

(4) If the conference is on a university campus, avoid scheduling the Edit-a-thon on a day that the campus is closed.

(5) Think about ways to encourage local/non-conference participation, if the Edit-a-thon can be offered as a free event open to the public.


Grant funds spent[edit]

Please describe how much grant money you spent for approved expenses, and tell us what you spent it on.

Food: $292.98 (Costco)

Transportation for Kelly Doyle: $111.28 (Note: West Virginia University reimburses automobile travel – when the individual is using their own car, not a rental – based on mileage. Since the University was administering the Wikimedia grant, and Ms. Doyle drove her own car to the Edit-a-thon, she submitted her mileage, and the cost of her travel was calculated accordingly.)

Wikipedia Swag: $28.88 (Note: The conference organizers ran out of time to purchase Wikipedia swag, and Ms. Doyle graciously let us use her supplies. After the Edit-a-thon, Ms. Doyle purchased Wiki swag to restock her supply.)

Remaining funds[edit]

Do you have any remaining grant funds? No.

Anything else[edit]

Anything else you want to share about your project? Thank you.