There I was, at Rossimoda Shoe Museum in Villa Foscarini Rossi, Stra, Venice, running the Europeana Fashion Edit-a-thon 2013 about footwear, fashion history and shoes produced in Italy. I’d tried to organize this event with university students and their professors, and I had finally succeeded. A short time ago I became a member of Wikimedia Italia and quickly discovered that, like in many associations, you have the chance to do a lot, or nothing at all.
I had no idea how to actively participate in Wikimedia Italia in the beginning. I wanted to do something, then a great opportunity arose. The digital library Europeana Fashion was contacting fashion museums and Wikimedia chapters in Europe to organize edit-a-thons for November 2013. The goal was to promote knowledge of cultural heritage through the improvement of Wikipedia articles related to fashion and history of costumes. Considering that fashion and fashion history has long been my passion, I accepted the offer to work on the project.
Here are a few of the (important) things I learned along the way:
If you like it, do it!
If conditions are good (for instance if you’re working with an international digital library, an excellent museum, a great collection of books and dedicated professors and students) do not get intimidated because you are not an expert. This is exactly the moment to learn and maybe become an expert yourself.
People are key
Without the involvement and help of the museum’s curator, I would have had a really difficult time. She looked for and found contacts inside the university, people which in turn helped us a lot. She ordered sandwiches and pizza for everyone (almost 80 people during the morning, 40 during the edit-a-thon in the afternoon). She sent me a mountain of emails and patiently followed my extensive to-do list. People are key!