The African Library and Information Associations & Institutions (AfLIA) and the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit behind Wikipedia, have partnered through a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on training African librarians to use and contribute to Wikipedia through webinars, trainings, and a preconference session at the AfLIA 2021 Conference in Accra, Ghana.
Wikipedia is increasingly an important source of free knowledge for people around the world, yet it has gaps in representation from Wikipedia editors across Africa and knowledge of its people, cultures, languages, pop culture, and more. AfLIA is the non-profit organization serving library and information associations and the communities they serve in Africa. Today, they represent more than 33 countries across Africa. The new partnership will equip African librarians to participate in editing and adding content to Wikipedia, the world’s resource of free, fact-based information online. This is particularly important to AfLIA as the organization seeks to:
The MoU will launch the celebration of the first African Librarians Week celebration in May 2020. The event, which is timed to coincide with the African Union Day, will be used primarily to drive the “One Librarian, One Reference” (#1Lib1Ref) campaign across Africa, which invites librarians around the world to add missing references to articles, helping make Wikipedia more reliable and useful. It will help ensure the world can continue to learn from Africa’s rich history, culture, and people on Wikipedia and highlight the role of librarians across Africa in providing access to knowledge.
Felix Nartey, a Ghanaian Wikipedian and coordinator for the partnership said, “The library community is an important ally for Wikipedia and our mission to ensure every human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. By training librarians in Africa to contribute knowledge to Wikipedia, we’re improving the encyclopaedia’s global representation and diversity, and we’re developing local leaders in Africa for future initiatives that improve public knowledge online using reliable sources.
AfLIA Human Capacity Development & Training Director, Dr. Nkem E. Osuigwe, values the partnership, describing it as important to libraries in Africa, “It will be a great opportunity for African librarians to collaborate creatively with Wikipedia to drive inclusiveness and more open sharing of knowledge on the global platform. We are totally excited and are looking forward to the first African Librarians Week too!”. In the table below is the complete schedule and details of upcoming webinars:
|Webinar 1||20th February, 2020||Why Wikipedia in Libraries?||Learn more about how the library community partners with Wikipedia on it’s mission of free and open knowledge in the world, and how OCLC trained librarians in the United States to integrate Wikipedia into their work.
|Webinar 2||12th March, 2020||Global Library Outreach Program||Learn more about how Wikimedia communities have worked with communities in different library environments, including public libraries in Bulgaria and digitizing rare book collections in Argentina.|
|Webinar 3||2nd April, 2020||Representing African Knowledge and the African Diaspora for Wikipedia’s Global Audience:||Learn more about how Wikipedia has helped bring knowledge about Africa and African diaspora communities to a global audience, through experiences from the Carribean, New York City and South Africa|
|Webinar 4||23rd April, 2020||Learn more about African Librarians Week and how to participate in the campaign!||Every year the #1lib1ref campaign celebrates the vision of “Imagine a world where every librarian added one more citation to Wikipedia.” A single citation improves the representation of reliable knowledge about the communities that libraries represent. Learn about the launch of the debut of African Librarians Week co-organised by AfLIA and Wikimedia as part of the May #1lib1ref campaign and how to participate in the campaign.|
To get updates about this partnership and the #1Lib1Ref campaign, follow @Wikimedia, @WikiLibrary and @AfLIACon on Twitter and on Facebook: @aflianetwork and @wikimediafoundation. To learn more about learning opportunities related to Wikipedia and other topics with AfLIA, subscribe to their newsletter.
AfLIA (African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (English) | Association Africaine des Bibliothèques et des Institutions d’Information (French) | Associação Africana de Bibliotecas e Instituições de Informação (Portuguese)) is an independent international not-for-profit organization which pursues the interests of library and information associations, library and information services, librarians and information workers and the communities they serve in Africa. It was established in 2013 and registered as an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) under the laws of Ghana in October 2014. Learn more at web.aflia.net
About the Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Wikimedia’s vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. They believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge freely. The Wikimedia Foundation hosts Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA. Learn more at wikimediafoundation.org.