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Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship


Publication Title

Queers Online: LGBT Digital Practices in Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Document Type

Chapter in a Book

Publication Date



Wikipedia has become the ubiquitous, often maligned, free global online reference resource. In certain countries, it may be the only available LGBTIQ reference resource. To increase the diversity of voices, genders, and cultures among its contributors and editors, the Wikimedia Foundation has made it a strategic goal to recruit and foster more women, people of color, and other underrepresented individuals—including LGBTIQ populations (Wikimedia Foundation, 2011). While critics question the authority, accuracy, and objectivity of Wikipedia entries, “Wikipedians” (active contributors and editors) from a wide variety of subject specialization communities interact in the creation, maintenance, and expansion of each entry, thus making the content more comprehensive and robust.

There are multiple types of LGBTIQ information available through Wikipedia, and the Wikimedia Foundation has different structures and strategies in place to recruit and foster LGBTIQ Wikipedians. One initiative—“Wikipedia Loves Libraries”—encourages all cultural heritage institutions to organize “Wikipedia editathons” (also known as “Wikipedia parties”) to bring people together to create and edit new entries. Ideally, libraries, archives, and museums will use these opportunities to leverage their own collections through Wikipedia and share links to their unique digitized content (if indeed this content has been digitized). The Tom of Finland Foundation has the distinction of being the first LGBT cultural heritage institution to participate in Wikipedia Loves Libraries; their brave step into Wikipedia should serve as an inspiration to others.


This chapter first appeared in Queers Online, and appears with the generous permission of the publishers, Litwin Books for LibraryJuice Press, as

Wexelbaum, Rachel, ed. Queers Online: LGBT Digital Practices in Libraries, Archives, and Museums. Sacramento, CA: Litwin Books, LLC. 2015. (ISBN: 978-1-936117-79-6) Number six in the Litwin Books Series on Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies, Emily Drabinski, Series Editor.



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