Grants:PEG/SMarks/Pollard Memorial Library and UMass Lowell Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons

Pollard Memorial Library and UMass Lowell Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons
The UMass Lowell and Pollard Memorial Libraries will run a series of four edit-a-thons focusing on the history of four neighborhoods plus historical sites in Lowell, MA. Each event will focus on building and improving entries related to one of the four neighborhoods in Lowell, MA.
targetWikiProject United States / Massachusetts / Lowell
strategic priorityIncrease participation
start dateDecember 4
start year2014
end dateMarch 29
end year2015
budget (USD)649.83
grant typeGroup
non-profit statusYes
contact(s)librarygurl sara_marks@uml.eduNegMawon -
organization• UMass Lowell Library and Pollard Memorial Library
created on18:16, 17 October 2014 (UTC)


To train 20 people to be Wikipedia editors thereby increasing local participation in Wikipedia and the WikiProject Massachusetts - Lowell.



  • November 7, 2014: Sara Marks and Winifred Flint will being promoting the upcoming events to community groups and campus organizations and classes. Flyers will be printed as well as online promotion through social media, library web pages, local blogs. Promotion to the New England Wikimedians group will be done to encourage experienced editors to attend to help new editors.
  • December 7, 2014: The first edit-a-thon will take place focusing on the Downtown Lowell neighborhood on December 7 at Pollard Memorial Library. Participants will be encouraged to bring photos of Downtown Lowell from the past and present. There will also be time allotted for those who want to take photos. since the Pollard borders Lowell Downtown. Older photos will be scanned, added to WikiMedia, and used in entries about the city and neighborhood. Promotion will begin for the January Edit-a-thon. In addition to the previously used promotion tools, we will also promote directly to the participants of the first event to encourage returning for future sessions.
  • January 25, 2015: The second edit-a-thon will take place focusing on The Acre on January 25 at Pollard Memorial Library. The Acre is the home neighborhood of the library and the first stopping point for most of the labor for the textile mills. Again participants will be encouraged to focus on entries related to this specific Lowell neighborhood by adding photos, videos, and local sources. Promotion will begin for the February Edit-a-thon.
  • February 21, 2015: The third edit-a-thon will take place February 21 at UMass Lowell’s O’Leary Library focusing on this library’s neighborhood - the Highlands- the most populated neighborhood of the city. This was the location of the area’s teacher college that eventually merged with the local textile college to eventually become UMass Lowell. Promotion will begin for March Edit-a-thon
  • March 28, 2015: the fourth edit-a-thon will take place at UMass Lowell Lydon Library and focus on the Pawtucketville neighborbood on March 28 at UMass Lowell’s Library. This is Jack Kerouac’s childhood home and the site of a confirmed Underground Railroad station. The now booming UMass Lowell University had its start in this neighborhood as a Textile College.


Target readershipEdit

This project is related to work being done by projects like Wikipedia Loves Libraries, Wiki Loves Monuments, and GLAM as well as education and outreach efforts. Our goal to bring in more editors to Wikipedia and the Lowell Project requires both education and outreach. We need to teach new editors and encourage experienced editors to help with that education. Further, we are promoting the use of archives and digitizing content from local archive collections to make them free and open access. With two libraries partnering to run the edit-a-thon series, we promote the GLAM project Wikipedia Loves Libraries. We are encouraging participants to focus on local monuments, buildings and people. We are asking them to take pictures to add to entries as well.

Fit with strategyEdit

These edit-a-thons will support 2 of the key organizational objectives. Primarily we are seeking to increase participation by bringing local, non-digital historians to these events. We will be utilizing their photos, documents and knowledge to enhance entries related to the city of Lowell. By teaching them how to edit, identify sources, upload photos, and correct entries they will be able to continue the work outside of events. This will increase participation in Wikipedia and improve the quality of the local entries. To increase quality we will encourage the use of digitized and non-digitized collections available through both libraries including access to local archives, scholarly databases, and book collections. The credibility of Wikipedia will be raised considerably in our community since two key intellectual institutions - the local public library and the local university are both putting their stamp of approval on Wikipedia. We are recruiting well known local historians to contribute. The credibility of Wikipedia as an accurate resource will increase even more among our local population.

Measures of successEdit

  • Attendance records indicating the number of people who attend the edit-a-thons and come for multiple events: ideally 5-10 people per event.
  • Statistics on accounts created by those participating in edit-a-thons: ideally 5 new accounts per event.
  • Statistics on entries edited or added by participants during edit-a-thons to identify which Lowell, MA project pages were edited or created.

Resources and risksEdit


  • Both leaders have attended AdaCamp which demonstrates how women can successfully contribute to Open Culture including Wikipedia. Part of the mission at each AdaCamp is to teach how to share Open Culture with others.
  • Sara attended and presented at WikiCon USA 2014 in New York City. She also attended THATCamp Harvard in 2014 to learn more about Digital Humanities projects and efforts. This has allowed her the chance to meet local Wikipedia editors, participate in edit-a-thons, and remain aware of Wikipedia's plans for growth.
  • Winifred has attended the General Meeting of the Wikipedia - New England 2014 and learned best practices for running a edit-a-thon. This has allowed her to meet local editors and see how an edit-a-thon is run.
  • Winifred and Sara have extensive contacts in the Lowell community who are interested in disseminating local history knowledge. With the right coaxing and the strong desire to share their knowledge, the less technically comfortable will likely be persuaded to come and learn about a new resource that they can write for.
  • Sara has access to many university students well versed in technology and interested in open culture.
  • Both Sara and Winifred have relationships with a key blogger in the city who who is technically savvy and very interested in local history. He can become a champion of this effort.
  • Pollard Memorial Library has unique artifacts that it would like to share digitally.
  • UMass Lowell Library houses many archives and digital collections at our Center for Lowell History including: Paul Tsongas’ archives, neighborhood surveys, city directories, and city annual reports.
  • Both libraries have links to research databases. UMass Lowell has access to JSTOR and other historical resources. Pollard has access to digital archives of the local newspaper The Sun.
  • AmandaRR123 will be on hand at events to provide the help for new users as an experienced Wikipedian and edit-a-thon organizer.


  • Both Sara and Winifred have run unsuccessful edit-a-thons. Since then we have attended edit-a-thons run by others, made more contacts with the editor community, and learned from the mistakes of previous attempts.
  • Info rich but less digitally savvy historian citizens may hesitate to attend. We are creating videos, webpages, and documents to help these people to learn editing rules and procedures before they attend.
  • Sources to cite information may not be as easily to locate as hoped. We have been going through library collections to identify sources a head of time.
  • There are not a large number of experienced local Wikipedia editors and it is possible Sara and Winifred are the only ones in attendance to support new editors. We are creating digital reference tools for people to utilize and will run small demos for the group when needed.


Project budget tableEdit

Item Anticipated Expenditure
Dunkin Donuts Box O'Joe- 2 per event @ $12.99 $103.92
Dunkin Donuts Dozen Donuts- 1 box per event @ $6.99 $27.96
Dunkin Donuts Box 50 munchkins- 1 box per event @ $6.99 $27.96
Dunkin Donuts 1/2 dozen bagles and cream cheese @ $12 $48.00
Pizza- 3 per event from Broadway Pizza @$15 per large cheese pizza $180.00
Water- 1 per event @$4 per case of 24 bottles $16.00
Soda- 2 per event @$6 per 12-pack $24.00
Veggie Platters for 8-10 people- 1 per event @$19 $76.00
Fruit Platters for 8-10 people- 1 per event @ $18.99
Cookies- 2 boxes per event @$10 each $80.00
Name Tags - 1 pack $9.00
Cutlery - 4 packs @$2 each $8.00
Plates - 5 packs @$5 each $25.00
Napkins - 1 pack $5.00
Total $649.83

Total cost of projectEdit


Total amount requestedEdit


Additional sources of revenueEdit


Non-financial requirementsEdit

  • Permission to use Wikipedia Logo
  • 50-100 stickers and pins from the stock available in Wikimedia Foundation and additional outreach material


Community notificationEdit

You are responsible for notifying relevant communities of your proposal, so that they can help you! Depending on your project, notification may be most appropriate on a village pump, talkpage, mailing list. Please paste a link below to where the relevant communities have been notified of this proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips?


Do you think this project should be selected for a Project and Event Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project in the list below. Other feedback, questions or concerns from community members are also highly valued, but please post them on the talk page of this proposal.

  • Endorse - I think this is a well-thought-out, ambitious project. The facilitators have some experience with running edit-a-thons and have gained recent insight into improving editor participation. The project has value as it's connected with a university that may not currently have many known, active Wikipedians. Increasing their participation, and that of the local community, would be a benefit to Wikipedia. --Rosiestep (talk) 02:00, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Endorse Per what Rosiestep wrote above, and the fact that there is a lot of potential to expand upon topics in the city, as I originally started the WikiProject in Lowell five years ago after realizing that there was a lot of coverage missing for that corner of the state and there was a lot of potential for organization in the area. Kevin Rutherford (talk) 23:34, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Endorse - per Rosiestep. --Netha Hussain (talk) 08:01, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Endorse - Several promising possibilities here for developing content: archival materials, artifacts, taking more photographs, as well as basic cleanup and enhancement of the existing coverage of this very historic community. With so much local history, so many information resources, and a university with so many different programs, the challenge here has to be deciding how to target a smaller, receptive subset of people, and figure out which set of source materials you want to promote in your outreach effort. Having a series of local history events like this to get started sounds like a good solution.
Once you've turned up a few Wikipedians with basic skills in your area to help out, you could also consider putting on some occasional satellite / remote events geared to specific parts of your university, and simply piggyback on editing events coming up elsewhere in the world about topics like science, health, or literature ... or take more photo expeditions together with the local folks when the weather gets nice. If you want to invite some experienced editors from outside Lowell to help out, they could certainly apply for a travel grant for their bus tickets or gas money. And don't forget the geonotices-- these can bring unknown Wikipedians out of the woodwork! --Djembayz (talk) 02:46, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
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