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Posts Tagged ‘Wikimedia Argentina’

Making memory count: successful edit-a-thon in Buenos Aires

Group photo at Memorial Edit-a-thon

On Saturday, July 20th, in spite of the cold, over 40 people took part in Memorial Edit-a-thon, held in Buenos Aires in what used to be a “black site” (clandestine detention facility) during the last military dictatorship in Argentina.

The Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada (Army Mechanic School) was originally conceived and developed as a secondary school, but also functioned as illegal military prison between 1976 and 1983. Nowadays, the Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos (Space for Memory and Human Rights) works in the same location, preserving the site as living testimony of illegal practices and developing other programs related to the promotion of Human Rights.

A photo from inside the black site.

The working day began with a historic tour through the different facilities of the complex, and focused specifically on the building where the black site was located, as well as the historic events and practices that made it one of the worse destinations for illegal prisoners, back then known as “desaparecidos” (“disappeared,” since there was no official record of their whereabouts).

The group during the tour.

The meeting brought together people from very different backgrounds. First, more senior editors from the local community showed up than the previous edit-a-thon. On top of that, relatively new editors participated for the second time to learn more about taking part in Wikipedia. Finally, the event also brought together people who had studied at the military school as well as survivors of the black site.

In only two days, the article about ESMA on Wikipedia grew 50 percent. Two more articles are also being written: one on Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos, and another one on Black Sites in Argentina. As part of the collaboration agreement, Espacio Memoria also liberated fifty images from their archive that describe the different spaces in the facility and the activities developed there.


Great turnout at legislative edit-a-thon in Buenos Aires!

(Lea la versión en español aquí)

Editatón Legislativo 14.JPG

On Saturday, June 29th, Wikimedia Argentina and the Buenos Aires City Legislature held the second edit-a-thon in Buenos Aires, known as “Primer Editatón Legislativo” (First Legislative Edit-a-thon). It focused on the history and architecture of the Legislative Palace in Buenos Aires, a building conceived as a home, which, however, was never inhabited by anything other than a public institution.

The edit-a-thon drew over thirty people, way beyond the turnout of the first edit-a-thon in Buenos Aires, held in December 2012 at the Museo del Bicentenario (Bicentennial Museum).

The editing marathon started at 4 pm with a tour through the palace. In this opportunity, not only were historical details addressed, but also architectural aspects of the building and basic functioning of the legislative body.

Editatón Legislativo 11.JPG

The event was successful in more ways than one. New editors took part in the edit-a-thon, amongst them, Elizabeth Kriez, who, as a young architect had been part of the team that refurbished the palace in the 1970s. We also saw new articles published, one about Esteban Echeverría Library and another one for the historical Buenos Aires City Council. This was in addition to substantial modifications of three other articles related to the legislative body. Finally, dozens of images of the Palace were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons for free use.

This edit-a-thon took place as part of the work agreement that Wikimedia Argentina has started with the Buenos Aires City Legislature. It is expected that this framework will deliver new wiki projects in the short term for the editing community in Argentina.

(See more images of the edit-a-thon here

María Cruz, Wikimédia Argentina

Creating local content for Wikipedia

This post is available in 2 languages: Español 7% • English 100%


By 2007 in Argentina, the web was becoming a valuable academic resource. Students and teachers had frequent and unlimited access, and we began to find fascinating resources we had never seen before in our scholarly studies. As a teacher of history of photography and a scholar of visual arts and art history, I began to notice a qualitative difference in this access, regarding to my experience as student: many of us studying artistic careers in peripheral cities throughout the world have based our knowledge on a few reproductions of works of art, sometimes of poor quality. And paradoxically, the access to sources of knowledge about art history also significantly deteriorated when the work we wanted to analyze is from our own legacy. Old and serious problems in heritage conservation policies and their dissemination, common throughout Latin America, remind us that the web would not necessarily be the exception.

Thus, in 2007, teaching History of Photography from Argentina and Latin America presented a number of challenges, starting with building a body of valuable data for study and analysis. Looking for material, I found some valuable resources on the web. But many were hard to find (beyond the first results of Google, and absent in Wikipedia), and so I designed a research assignment for my students, based on various information sources, from libraries to the internet. I noticed then a situation that is almost impossible now: information we found in our school library was not present on the web, including Wikipedia.

Thus arose my first Wikipedia experience with my students: to summarize the findings of photographers who worked in the nineteenth century in Argentina and Latin America, writing articles for Wikipedia.

La Porteña by Antonio Pozzo. ca. 1873.

I admit I had just begun to edit, and I knew little of the dynamics of the community. The first reactions to the “experiment” were doubts from some of the students: Anyone can edit? Who controls what we write? Why did somebody delete my contribution? Why is it necessary to cite sources correctly?

That experience contributed around 20 articles on ancient Latin American photography. They are the first search results in Google today, thanks to Wikipedia, but this was a responsibility that we had not originally planned.

Editing Wikipedia is a real practice of knowledge production, useful outside of the usual school duties. The learnings students derive from working with others is now for me of a very high educational value, with multiple aspects that change with each new experience. In all cases, Wikipedia is in “writing mode”.

Wikipedia is a resource widely used in almost all educational levels, but poorly understood in its educational potential. Teachers are the key links between free knowledge and meaningful learning, and Wikipedia is a space where to work with the community of Wikipedians. While we know that there are many potential and known problems in this collaboration, it is urgent that we work to strengthen it.

Lila Pagola, Wikimedia Argentina | National University of Villa María


Creando contenido local para Wikipedia

En 2007, en Argentina la web empezaba a ser un recurso académico valioso, desde que alumnos y profesores teníamos acceso frecuente e ilimitado, y empezábamos a encontrar recursos fascinantes y nunca accedidos en nuestras historias escolares. Como profesora de Historia de la fotografía, formada en Artes visuales y amante de la Historia del Arte, empezaba a notar una diferencia cualitativa en este acceso: muchos de nosotros, estudiando carreras artísticas en una ciudad periférica dentro de la periferia del mundo, hemos basado nuestro conocimiento sobre unas pocas reproducciones de obras de arte, a veces de escasa calidad. Y paradójicamente, el acceso a las fuentes de nuestra area de conocimiento además, se ve notablemente desmejorada cuando la obra que queremos analizar es de nuestro propio acervo.

Viejos y serios problemas en las políticas de conservación de patrimonio y su difusión, frecuentes en toda Latinoamérica por otra parte, nos recuerdan que la web no tendría por qué ser la excepción.

En 2007 entonces, enseñar Historia de la fotografía argentina y latinoamericana representaba algunos desafíos, empezando por conformar un cuerpo de datos valioso para estudio y análisis.

Buscando materiales entonces, encontré algunos recursos valiosos en la web, algunos un poco difíciles de encontrar (mas allá de los primeros resultados de Google, y ausentes en Wikipedia) y diseñe una tarea de investigación para mis alumnos, sobre fuentes diversas, en bibliotecas e internet.

Greengrocer at Valparaíso by Harry Grant Olds. 1899

Me di entonces con una situación ya casi imposible en el presente: lo que nosotros encontramos en nuestra biblioteca escolar especializada, no estaba presente en la web, incluida Wikipedia.

Surgió así la primer experiencia con mis estudiates: hacer un resumen de lo encontrado sobre fotográfos que trabajaron en el siglo XIX en Argentina y Latinoamérica, para Wikipedia.

Admito que apenas había empezado a editar, y conocía poco la dinámica de la comunidad. Las primeras reacciones al “experimento” no se hicieron esperar y nos permitieron responder vivencialmente las dudas de los estudiantes: ¿cualquiera puede editar? ¿quién controla lo que escribimos? ¿por qué me borraron mi aporte? ¿por qué es necesario citar correctamente las fuentes?

Aquella experiencia aportó alrededor de 20 artículos sobre fotografía latinoamericana antigua, que hoy indexan primero en Google, gracias a Wikipedia: una responsabilidad que tampoco habíamos previsto inicialmente.

Editar Wikipedia como una práctica de producción de conocimiento real, útil, con vida fuera de la práctica escolar, sumado a los aprendizajes que derivan del trabajar con otros, resulta hoy para mi de un altísimo y obvio valor educativo, con múltiples aristas que van cambiando en cada nueva experiencia. En todos los casos, se trata de Wikipedia en modo escritura.

Wikipedia es un recurso usado ampliamente en casi todos los niveles educativos, pero escasamente comprendido en su potencial didáctico. Los docentes son los enlaces claves entre el conocimiento libre y los aprendizajes significativos, y Wikipedia un espacio de trabajo donde colaborar con la comunidad de wikipedistas. Si bien sabemos que hay muchos potenciales y conocidos problemas en esa colaboración, es urgente que trabajemos para potenciarla.

Lila Pagola, Wikimedia Argentina | Universidad Nacional de Villa María 

Wikimedia Argentina’s educational booklet now also in Guarani language

This post is available in 2 languages: Español 7% • English 100%


“Vikipetã mbo’eha kotýpe”, the new Guarani version of Wikipedia in the classroom

Wikimedia Argentina, the first Wikimedia chapter in Latin America to be founded, has a long history of activities related with promoting the use of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects in education, mainly in secondary schools and universities.

In 2010, it published a booklet entitled “Wikipedia en el aula” (Wikipedia in the classroom in Spanish), aimed at teachers and other education professionals. A significant number of students in Argentina currently use Wikipedia as their main source of information, so the booklet tries to answer several questions a teacher has about Wikipedia, such as “Is it reliable?” or “What can I do if my students use Wikipedia?”. “Wikipedia en el aula” not only addresses these questions but also presents several cases of teachers who have used Wikipedia as a learning tool within their own classrooms. The booklet presents simple examples illustrating how the online encyclopedia can be used as a place to develop writing and debating abilities and to motivate participation and engagement within a community.

The booklet has been distributed to several schools in Argentina and has inspired the Argentine government to create a space about Wikipedia within its own education portal,

Wikimedia Argentina has organized several workshops and presentations for Argentine students and teachers.

Following other of its own strategic pillars, Wikimedia Argentina developed the first edition of “Wikipedia en el aula” in an indigenous language, with the goal of promoting the usage and development of the historically displaced native languages of the current Argentine territory. In its first edition, “Wikipedia en el aula” was translated into Guarani (“Vikipetã mbo’eha kotýpe”), spoken not only in Northeastern Argentina but also in an area encompassing Southern Brazil, Western Bolivia, and Paraguay, where it is one of the two official languages. Wikimedia Argentina will publish a first edition with 500 printed copies to be distributed in schools and other educational institutions, and it expects to broaden the number of languages in the future.

Yet, Wikimedia Argentina’s Educational activities are not limited to “Wikipedia en el aula”. The chapter has already delivered in the past presentations and workshops to students and teachers. Wikimedia Argentina’s goal for 2013 is to articulate all of these activities in an Educational Master Plan. It will be created together with local and foreign experts on Education and will act as a guide for Wikimedia Argentina’s work in the years to come.

Osmar Valdebenito G.
Executive Director
A. C. Wikimedia Argentina