Photo by Beatrice, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Did you know that the screen icon Hedy Lamarr was also the scientist who invented spread spectrum technology? That the La Blouse Roumaine artist Henri Matisse was inspired not only by traditional Romanian clothing, but also the beloved celebrities Elvira Popescu, Martha Bibescu, Anna de Noailles and Elena Văcărescu? That a crater on Venus bears the name Montessori in honor of Maria Montessori, a pedagogue and the first Italian woman to graduate with a degree in medicine?

Italian Wikipedians wanted to give everyone access to obscure or little known information like this about women by holding The Women You Have Never Met (In Spanish: Las Mujeres Que Nunca Conociste) editing contest.

This initiative, started on the Spanish Wikipedia by the Iberocoop cooperative group and adopted in Italy by the Wikimedia user group WikiDonne, is a translation and writing biography contest that aims to improve and expand female biographies on Wikipedia, especially in the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese languages.

Since 2015 the project has helped organize edit-a-thons (editing workshops) in several cities that resulted in the creation and improvement of over 1,700 articles.

The writing project took place between 25 March and 3 April 2017. The event ended with the announcement of the winners on Saturday, 8 April, 2017 at the MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art Rome. The initiative was promoted by Roma Capitale, Department of Cultural Growth – Provincial Capitol for Cultural Heritage and was sponsored by the Roma Simple Team.

WikiDonne, which works to bridge the gender gap on Wikipedia, partnered with CoderDojo Roma, an association that promotes creative programming and responsible use of the internet for girls, children and their families, the Rosa Digitale association (Equal Opportunities for Technology and Computer Science), La Sapienza (University of Rome) and Common Spaces to organize the writing project.

The competition was open for two participant levels: Wikipedian experts and new users which helps encourage newbies and older participants simultaneously.

Fourteen participants from Italy wrote 73 new biographies and edited 477 others.

The Best Article prize was awarded to the English biography translation of Rose Cecil O’Neill (1874 – 1944), a comic stripteaser, writer and illustrator from the United States who owes her international fame to the creation of the comic book character Kewpie in 1909. Her Wikipedia article tells us that she was the first comic book author in the United States.

The rest of the prizes were Amazon vouchers awarded to:

  • First place for user FloraFlavia, who earned 1002 points.
  • Second place for user Mickey83, who earned 357 points.
  • In addition, the Best Article prize was awarded to user Demostene119.

We look forward to next year’s competition!

Camelia Boban, WikiDonne user group

In brief

FDC members meet in Warsaw: Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) is a diverse group of Wikimedia community members that gives recommendations on the annual grants program of the Wikimedia Foundation. The Committee meets twice every year to review and give recommendations on the grant proposals. On 12–14 May, the Committee gathered in Warsaw, Poland where they discussed four new grant proposals and provided their feedback on the Foundation Annual Plan.

Wikimania update: This year, 110 applicants to the Wikimania Scholarship Program were offered and accepted a full or partial scholarship to attend Wikimania 2017, the annual conference of the movement which will be held this year on 9–13 August in Montréal, Québec, Canada. In addition to that, the program committee has finished their review of the program submissions. Applicants for submissions are expected to receive a notification of acceptance or rejection on their email by the end of this week. The conference program is expected to be announced by the end of this month. More updates on registration and accommodation can be found on Wikimedia-l.

Vietnamese Wikipedian Lê Thy passes away: Thy was an editor and administrator on the Vietnamese Wikipedia with over 12,000 edits mainly about Vietnam’s history. Thy struggled with cancer for long time before his death. Wikipedians are leaving tribute messages on his talk page.

Colombo workshop: Mohammed Galib Hasan attended a Global Young Leaders Peace Camp conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka from May 4–8. He gave a talk on Wikipedia, Wikimedia, and how they fit into global education. 43 people from 14 countries attended. More information is available on Meta.

New free research accounts added to the Wikipedia Library: This month, new research accounts were added to the Wikipedia Library and other accounts were extended. The Wikipedia Library helps editors access reliable sources to improve Wikipedia and helps knowledge professionals share their collections with the public.

Wikimedia affiliates update: This month, the Wikimedia Affiliations Committee (AffCom) recognized the Wikivoyage Association User Group. The group plans to support Wikivoyage in various ways, including fundraising, promotion, and technical development. In addition to Wikivoyage Association, AffCom recognized the Commons Photographers User Group. The group is an international cooperative of photography enthusiasts who publish their images under free licenses, with the goal of transcribing the world visually and having others benefit from their work through Wikipedia and other projects.

Women in Red in France collaborate with German Wikipedians in a GLAM tour: Participants of WikiProject Women in Red in France, met with German Wikipedians early this month in a GLAM tour followed by an editing event for the anniversary of Johannes Gutenberg’s death.

Samir Elsharbaty, Digital Content Intern
Wikimedia Foundation