Wikipedia 15th Birthday Editathon: The Social Internet

internet event

On Friday 15 January 2016 Wikipedia will celebrate its fifteenth birthday. Launched on January 15, 2001, Wikipedia is ranked among the ten most popular websites and constitutes the Internet's largest and most popular general reference work.

Wikipedia got this far by relying on millions of individual contributions by ordinary people — from all of us. To help celebrate this remarkable encyclopaedic phenomenon, the Oxford Internet Institute is holding a Wikipedia Editathon with the aim of improving content around “The Social Internet“. This potentially covers everything from Uber to sexting, from election prediction to the digital divide, from freedom of speech to Emoji, from data surveillance to the quantified self. To help navigate this sea of content, we’ll prepare a list of articles we think need improving at all levels of effort and expertise: whether writing from scratch, or updating existing articles, or simply improving grammar and adding citations. We hope that anyone interested in the Internet (and society) will come along and help us improve knowledge about it!

Of course, Wikipedia is not just the first port of call for most general information: it’s also a fascinating research object in its own right. The day will include short (and interesting!) research presentations from OII faculty, showing how Wikipedia can help answer questions like: What are the most controversial topics in different cultures, and how do editing wars get resolved? How much interaction is there between the 288 language editions? What does “the world’s knowledge“ actually look like when overlaid on a map of the world? Who determines what knowledge is recorded and why is the world not represented equally? This should hopefully give some broader context to the editing work, and spark discussion around the mechanics of working with its 10TB of data, and broader issues around global representation — whose voices are heard and whose aren’t.

Even if you've never edited before, or just need a refresh, or are simply curious about how Wikipedia works and what it can tell us about society, help us celebrate 15 years of this extraordinary encyclopaedia by adding your bit to “The World’s Knowledge”! 


This is a public event open to everyone, from experienced editors to those learning how to edit Wikipedia for the first time. The Bodleian Library’s Wikipedian in Residence, Martin Poulter, will help guide you though the process: from creating an account and beginning editing, to understanding Wikipedia’s ethics and codes of conduct, and making sure your contributions don’t get deleted. Just make sure to register by emailing, and bring a laptop!


This event is being held in collaboration with the Bodleian Library, and TORCH, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities. If you would like to get involved remotely - either as an individual or an organisation - let us know by emailing

Please email your name and affiliation to or telephone +44 (0)1865 287210.


Humanities & the Digital Age

Contact name:

Website: Oxford Internet Institute

Audience: Open to all