But a dearth of female editors has contributed to a gender gap in content, a group of feminist art activists claim. They hope to combat that bias with an editing marathon this weekend.
The "Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon" aims to "bring people together in a communal setting where you can support each other in the editing of Wikipedia articles" relating to female artists, the national event's organizer Laurel Ptak told DNAinfo Chicago Wednesday.
"If you look at the number of entries on male artists versus female entries, it's hugely skewed to highlight more men than women," Ptak said.
Saturday's event focuses specifically on creating, correcting and enhancing entries about female artists, but is part of a larger "edit-a-thon" tradition Wikipedia has been promoting to balance gender equality on the site.
"For a lot of women artists who are represented on Wikipedia already, it's sort of a very impoverished account of what they've done and their accomplishments," Ptak said. "We hope to change that."
The event, anchored at New York City's art and technology center Eyebeam, with satellite locations around the globe, gathers seasoned and novice Wikipedia editors at arts libraries and other hubs for marathon sessions of adding and enhancing entries on women artists.
"There's been a lot of analysis in the press in terms of gender disparity in Wikipedia entries — if you look at the number of entries on male artists versus female artists, the entries are hugely skewed to highlight more men than women," Ptak said.
"Wikimedia has done some research to see why this is true, and the analysis seems to be that it's because so many editors of Wikipedia are men."
A study by Wikimedia found that fewer than 13 percent of the site's editors are women, so female contributors are encouraged to come to the event, though it's open to everyone, even first-time Wikipedia editors.
The Chicago meetup will be hosted by the School of the Art Institute in its Flaxman library on the sixth floor of 37 S. Wabash Ave. from noon to 5 p.m., and experts will be there to provide training.
The Chicago meetup's setting — in part of School of the Arts Institute's arts library — is especially helpful for the cause, Ptak said, since "reference materials will be on hand that people can work from directly.
"With Wikipedia, it's very important to them that you are able to cite things with expert sources," Ptak said.
Nonstudents need to check in with an ID to be escorted to the library. The event is free and open to the public, but computers will not be provided.
Participants are also welcome to join the editing session remotely, Ptak said.