Black WikiHistory Edit-A-Thon

Black WikiHistory Month Event Diversifies Knowledge and Editorship on Wikipedia

Who writes history? You do!

On Wednesday, February 24 the Oviatt Library held its very first Wikipedia edit-a-thon as part of a series of special events to celebrate and promote Black History Month. Approximately twenty attendees made much needed edits to Wikipedia articles such as adding citations, cleaning up formatting, and even beginning new articles from scratch for notable persons not yet represented on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

You may be thinking: a what-a-thon? Edit-a-thon! A Wikipedia edit-a-thon is a friendly gathering of folks at a specified place/time to edit Wikipedia, typically on a chosen theme or topic. For this event, CSUN students, staff and friends came together for an afternoon of editing Wikipedia’s scope and content related to Black History and the African Diaspora. The English Wikipedia site that many of us know so well may seem vast, but it’s known to have a systemic bias in favor of white, male, educated individuals between the ages of 15-49. (In fact, there’s even a Wikipedia page on it.) Encouraging others to become editors (or rather, “Wikipedians”) helps to expand and diversify the breadth of knowledge on the site.

Libraries prove to be great places to host edit-a-thons. For the Oviatt Library’s February 24 event, library staff pulled numerous books related to Black history, culture and life for attendees to browse and use for their editing. Many attendees used the books to add new content to Wikipedia articles along with a citation to the book. For example, citations were filled in on the Brice Taylor and the Watts, Los Angeles pages, and the page for poet Robin Coste Lewis was expanded to include additional biographical information. Attendees also used the library’s electronic resources to find various articles and news items to support their editing. An introduction to Wikipedia editing was given for new editors who attended.

Black history books

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

Are you interested in editing Wikipedia? The site can use your help! Some new articles created on the February 24 event were nominated for deletion on Wikipedia due to not meeting notability guidelines, meaning that additional citations were quickly needed to establish that the given topic warranted its own article. This is where edit-a-thon events become especially valuable: it can be challenging to create an entire Wikipedia article from scratch, and so making it a team effort definitely helps! As you can imagine, Wikipedia pages are in a constant state of flux, and encouraging others to contribute to the site helps to strengthen its breadth and accuracy.

The Oviatt Library plans to host additional edit-a-thons on various topics and we hope you’ll join us. Additionally, many online resources and guides are available such as the Wikipedia Editing Tutorial and Wikipedia Cheatsheet if you’d like to get involved on your own. We encourage you to consider editing Wikipedia if you come across anything needing improvement. Contributing makes a meaningful impact on the site by diversifying both its content and its editorship. Anyone (including you!) can become a Wikipedian!

-Mary Wahl

Matadors Can Scan Materials at the Library

Two students scanning documents in the LibraryCSUN students can now scan documents at the Oviatt Library. Three user friendly, self-serve scanning stations allow students to scan items to: USB, email, Box and phone or tablet. The stations are conveniently located in the:

  • Learning Commons Technology (Main floor);
  • Music & Media (2nd floor East); and
  • Reserves, Periodicals & Microform (RPM – 4th floor East).

The ability to scan documents is a service students had been requesting at the Library. Since self-service scanners with multiple capabilities can be costly, members of the Library Technology Committee performed a needs assessment, and surveyed the products of multiple vendors. Last semester, three scanners were purchased with funding from the Campus Quality Fee (CQF).

The scanners support convenience and enhance student experience at the Library as they decrease paper waste, and assist the accessibility of materials by students with visual impairments. There is no charge for students to scan materials. The Oviatt Library appreciates the funding made possible through the CQF and is excited to offer scanning to CSUN students.

Join the Oviatt for “Civil Rights Pioneer: A Symposium on Judge Loren Miller”

Dr. Amina Hassan

Dr. Amina Hassan

The Oviatt Library and the Tom & Ethel Bradley Center are pleased to be cosponsoring the symposium “Civil Rights Pioneer: A Symposium on Judge Loren Miller” on Feb. 29 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Oviatt Library Jack & Florence Ferman Presentation Room. Dr. Amina Hassan will be present to discuss her recent book Loren Miller: Civil Rights Attorney and Journalist. Loren Miller was a lawyer and judge in Los Angeles and a major force in civil rights both locally and nationally. In addition to serving as co-counsel on Brown v. Board of Education, Miller served as Dr. Hassan’s father’s attorney when he was discriminated against as a black man in a L.A. restaurant in the 1940s. Dr. Hassan will bring personal insight and historical knowledge to the discussion.

Dr. Hassan’s own accomplishments include working as an independent historian and documentarian with on-the-spot recording of the coup and U.S. invasion of Grenada, and developing a 13-part series for National Public Radio on how race, class, and gender shape American sports.

Judge Robin Miller Sloan

Judge Robin Miller Sloan

The closing keynote speaker at the symposium will be Judge Robin Miller Sloan, the granddaughter of civil rights attorney and journalist Judge Loren Miller, and the daughter of Judge Loren Miller Jr., who served the Los Angeles community on the Superior Court for more than three decades.

Judge Robin Miller Sloan has served as a prosecutor for the L.A. City Attorney’s Office, deputy attorney general in the California Attorney General’s Office, and was appointed to the bench in 2003. Judge Sloan is assigned to the Juvenile Court where she serves as an advocate to effect change in young people’s lives.

Please join us for a meaningful discussion with Dr. Hassan and Judge Sloan who will be taking questions at the event. Copies of the book Loren Miller: Civil Rights Attorney and Journalist will be available for purchase. For more information please visit our Exhibitions and Events page. We look forward to seeing you there.

Exploring Research Topics

Are you struggling with finding the right topic for your research paper? This short Research Therapy video gives you suggestions on where to look for topic ideas, how to narrow your topic, as well as a couple of online library resources that are a great place to begin your research.

Topic Exploration image for video

Concept Mapping

Concept mapping is a great way to expand on a general topic; it also helps you to think about the different aspects of your topic. Here’s a template for a basic concept map. Here’s another concept map when you’re trying to identify the who, what, when, where, why or how of a topic.

As mentioned in the video keep in mind the different angles you could take on a topic:

  • Geographical → where
  • Sociological → who
  • Psychological → why
  • Historical → when

Library Databases

After you pick a general topic it’s a good idea to do some general background resources. Oviatt Library has several different online reference resources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, biographical resources and more. The databases mentioned in the video are Opposing Viewpoints in Context and Credo Reference, the library no longer has access to Credo so use Gale Virtual Reference instead.  We also have a list of online reference resources listed under the Find Articles by Subject page, as well as an organized list of our databases by subject.  We also have a general Research Strategies guide to help you along with the research process.

Don’t forget to Ask a Librarian if you have any questions.

 -Laurie Borchard

 

The Oviatt Celebrates Love My Library Week

Cart with books wrapped for Blind Date with a Book displayMatadors, this week the Oviatt Library is celebrating Love My Library Week! We will be offering several activities for you to take a break from your routine and to have some Library-related fun. Here is a list of events:

Tuesday through Friday: Social Media Blast! Tell us what you love about the Oviatt Library using #LoveMyOviatt or #HeartOviatt. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. On Snapchat show us with photos what you love about the Oviatt!

Tuesday through Friday: Blind Date with a Book – Stop by our “heartfelt” display in the Learning Commons and browse specially selected books that are wrapped up and waiting for you to take them home. You surely will be in for a surprise because there is no peeking!

Tuesday through Friday: Visit our graffiti board in the Learning Commons and tell us what you love about the Oviatt on the spot. All affirmative adjectives welcome!

Wednesday: Get tattooed! “I Love the Oviatt” temporary tattoos will be available in the Library lobby between 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Thursday: Make a Valentine for that special someone at our Valentine’s Arts & Crafts table. We will be in the lobby from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

Coleen Martin