In 2017 UO Special Collections and University Archives hired our first Wikipedian-in-Residence. One of our goals in SCUA is to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion by illuminating hidden histories and providing access to information. Wikipedia aims to make public information accessible by summarizing both scholarly and non-academic sources, citing information from a range of perspectives, using neutral language, and providing hyperlinks in over 200 languages. Wikipedian Eito Okino spent this past term improving Wikipedia articles and organizing a Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon focused on Asian and Pacific American history. He details his experience below.
Name: Eito Okino
Major: Human Physiology
Year in School: Undergraduate
Job in SCUA: Wikipedian-In-Residence
Tell us a little bit about what brought you to Special Collections and University Archives? What made you want to work here, as opposed to other places on campus?
I saw the job posting and I thought editing Wikipedia articles for the library was a unique job. I used to edit some Wikipedia articles back in high school so I thought it would be fun to learn more better ways to edit Wikipedia articles and start editing again.
I was also interested in SCUA and I had been here in the past to look at a couple collections, so that is what got me more interested in the position.
You’ve worked on some pretty interesting and wide-ranging collections during your time here, are there any you’d like to highlight?
I started working on identifying what noteworthy finding aids in the collection needed to be created, edited, and updated with new links so there was no one single collection that was interesting, but I found it intriguing to find more details on the history of Oregon by looking at the finding aids. The most interesting part about all the collections was the amount and variety of topics that are in the collections that people have access to here. There are topics ranging from Gardener Fox’s comics to architectural drawings.
What have been some of the challenges of working in Special Collections and University Archives? What have you liked best about working in Special Collections and University Archives?
Some of the challenges of working on SCUA-related Wikipedia content has been deciding if some articles already have enough information or not. Some articles had lots of information but were missing things that could have been added from the finding aid, and others had many sources but did not have much content. Other challenges were relearning how to edit on Wikipedia and following the many rules it has, especially against original research and primary sources.
The part that I enjoyed the most was hosting a Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon. Although not many people came, it was great to be able to have an event to promote others to start editing Wikipedia articles at the event, as well as in their own time in the future as well.