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Wikimedia+Libraries/Program/Submission/Wikipedia for Infodemic Management and Closing the Digital Divide: Improving Health Information Access for Marginalized Communities

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Title of your proposal[edit]

Name(s) and/or username(s)[edit]

Bethany McGowan , Bmcgowan01
Email address: bmcgowa@purdue.edu
Affiliate, Position (if any): Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies, Associate Professor


  • Publication and Research at the intersection of Wikimedia+Libraries

Type of submission (Please choose one)[edit]

  • Lightning sessions (Short talks/shares in an un-conference format) (5-8 minutes)

Keywords and hashtags[edit]

Please suggest 3-4 keywords and/or hashtags to help us understand your proposal.

  • digital divide, infodemic management, health equity, diplomacy


The right to seek, receive, and impart information is an important aspect of the fundamental rights of freedom of expression, as recognized by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the United States, the right to access information is closely tied to the First Amendment to the Constitution, especially the clause that American citizens have the right to free speech. However, in African American communities and other marginalized communities across the globe, the right to access information is challenged by the digital divide–a gap between people who have access to modern information and communications technology and those who don't. The digital divide limits people's access to reliable health information and has created environments under which misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation campaigns have thrived. It is a threat to individual and community health, and a threat to healthy democracies.

In this short talk, we will discuss Wikipedia as a tool for infodemic management and highlight its potential to fill the information void caused by the digital divide by providing accessible, reliable health information. According to the World Health Organization, infodemic management aims to enable good health practices through 4 types of activities: 1. listening to community concerns and questions, 2. promoting understanding of risk and health expert advice, 3. building resilience to misinformation, and 4. engaging and empowering communities to take positive action. We will use the WHO competency framework for health authorities and institutions to manage infodemics to frame our discussion, and highlight findings from several recent publications as a conversation guide, including Smith's Situating Wikipedia as a health information resource in various contexts: a scoping review (2020), Brezar and Heilman's Readability of english Wikipedia's health information over time (2019), and Smith's Wikipedia: an unexplored resource for understanding consumer health information behaviour in library and information science scholarship (2021).

Expected outcomes[edit]

Though our conversation will be brief, we plan to use this unique opportunity as the catalyst for the creation of a global community of practice of librarians using Wikimedia resources to support infodemic management. Next steps might include the creation of an email list, WhatsApp group, or Slack channel for participants interested in joining.

Duration (without Q&A)[edit]

8 minutes

Specific requirements[edit]

I plan to present a Powerpoint presentation, so the technology required for that. I also have a soft voice, so a mic would be needed.

Interested attendees (Please add yourself, and you may indicate your questions to the presenter).[edit]

  1. FRomeo (WMF) (talk) 13:31, 22 June 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  2. EriedgenArc (talk) 12:18, 23 June 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Kclibrarian (talk) 15:31, 24 June 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  4. AKibombo (talk) 13:46, 28 June 2022 (UTC)[reply]