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February 17, 2020 3:12 pm

Israeli Librarians Win Global Wikipedia Competion

avatar by Lauren Izso

The reference desk at the Israeli National Library. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli librarians finished first in a recent global competition, making 4,700 edits to Wikipedia pages in a three-week span.

The campaign known on social media as #1Lib1Ref (“One Librarian, One Reference”), asks librarians from around the world to both update existing Wikipedia pages with valid references and create new posts altogether, in an effort to spread awareness and combat inaccurate online information.

The awards for the contest, which ran from Jan. 15-Feb. 5, are based on language, not location of the editors. Hebrew-language editors were the most active, Serbian librarians came in second in the competition with 4,100 edits and third place went to French with 2,750. The English language came in fourth with 2,050 online edits.

Held biannually, #1Lib1Ref is organized by the International Federation of Library Associations, and the Wikipedia Library, a research hub run by a team of Wikimedia Foundation staff and global volunteers. Their goal is to make access to information “free, easy, collaborative and efficient,” according to their website.

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This year’s contest saw contributions in more than 60 languages. 

For the most recent campaign, Israel’s National Library teamed up with Wikimedia-Israel in an effort to be awarded first place. Seventy-six Israeli librarians participated, mostly from the National Library of Israel.

Israelis edited and added accurate references to pages about autism, ebooks, bereavement, Ahad Ha’am and Robinson Crusoe, among other subjects.

In addition to the 4,700 edits made in Hebrew, there were also completely 61 new posts created by Israelis. New Hebrew posts included information about Vienna’s Jewish Museum, medical treatment for premature babies and North African prayer, to name a few.

Director of Israel’s National Library Oren Weinberg said that because of the internet, scientific information has to compete with digital inaccuracies, and it is the responsibility of librarians to make Wikipedia as reliable as possible.

“The fact that hundreds of millions of surfers around the world rely on, study and use Wikipedia requires us — as those who have access to information and sources — to help make it a deep, serious and reliable source of knowledge,” he stated.

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