ANZSI-CSU SICS-Wikimedia Australia Partner Project Update

Identifying and filling gaps in library and information science (LIS)-related content on Wikimedia platforms
, Mary Coe.

Mary Coe, Wikimedian in Residence at ANZSI

The Library and Information Science WikiProject is a partner project between Wikimedia Australia, the Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers (ANZSI) and the School of Information and Communication Studies at Charles Sturt University (CSU SICS).

The project has established Mary Coe as the first Wikimedian in Residence at ANZSI. She is supported by Pru Mitchell from Wikimedia Australia. Mary and Pru are also Adjunct Lecturers at CSU SICS who share a love of metadata and a passion for sharing knowledge. They bumped into each other at the 2023 ANZSI Conference, where they were presenting separate sessions on Wikipedia and Wikidata, and quickly decided that working together would be even better!

The project launched with an online event in February and has continued with regular ‘Wikithons’ throughout March and April that are providing ANZSI members and CSU SICS students with opportunities to develop their skills and confidence in Wiki editing.

Our project page on Wikidata provides a central place for participants to collaborate, including a Work in Progress subpage to keep track of items that we are working on and a Resources subpage to share useful sources. Our overall goal is to identify and fill gaps in library and information science (LIS)-related content on Wikimedia platforms, but this is a huge scope, so we are narrowing our focus based on participants’ interests. Much of our early work has been on notable indexers, but since many of these also have backgrounds as librarians, we have quickly discovered that ANZSI and CSU SICS participants have a joint interest in the history of libraries in Australia.

We started by creating and editing items in the English version of Wikidata, which provides structured data for Wikimedia platforms and beyond. Pru Mitchell describes it as ‘the index to Wikipedia’, but it’s an index on steroids! Not surprisingly, working in Wikidata has been a natural fit for ANZSI members, who are taking to it like ducks to water. Our plan is to use the Wikidata items that we are building as the basis for Wikipedia articles. Starting with Wikidata enables us to gather our sources and content first before we start to write.

CSU SICS students from across the range of bachelor’s and master’s degree courses have been invited to join the project. Students just beginning their Bachelor of Information Studies course were particularly interested. A few of them said that they had done some work on Wikipedia before, but the majority had not, so it was a great opportunity not only to get them involved in the project but to introduce them to the various Wikimedia platforms. Even if they don’t get into Wiki editing, learning about how Wikipedia and Wikidata work will benefit them as they start on their careers as information professionals. The students also had questions about indexing, which provided a nice opportunity to explain what indexers do and share details about ANZSI.

Sherrey Quinn, an ANZSI member who is an active participant and is quickly becoming an excellent Wikidata editor, describes the work as ‘a reference librarian’s dream’ because she is enjoying going down the rabbitholes of research looking for sources to back up the items she is creating.

If you would like to join the project and become a modern-day ‘alice-in-wonderland’ too, contact Mary Coe at for more information. You’re welcome to join our next drop-in session to see what it’s all about!

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