Libraries and Wikipedia – a universal platform for cultural participation

Technology creates the opportunity to democratise the making and sharing of ‘culture’ on an unprecedented scale. This is not simply a question of attracting diverse audiences, but giving everyone an equal stake in the creation and transmission of culture, stories, narratives and performances.
 
The library card is a universal symbol of the right to participate in culture, and evidence from the Arts Council England shows that the audience for public libraries is more strongly diversified than any other cultural audience.
 
Working with our partners at Wikipedia, we would like to position the public library network as an open, egalitarian platform for everyone to participate in the creation of our national cultural life.
 
Specifically, we would like to establish and badge every public library as a ‘Wiki Centre’ in which our already fantastically diversified audience of library users can learn, develop skills, create and share digital cultural content openly.

Why the contribution is important

Participation is not a gift, it’s a universal right. This means that embracing the democratising power of technology isn’t about ‘giving’ people opportunities to participate. It is about using technology intelligently to remove barriers to digital cultural participation.

We can either use technology to entrench inequality and perpetuate the idea of ‘cultural partisanship’, or we can harness it to the principle of cultural democracy.
 
By bringing together the universally-accessible public library network and the values of the open knowledge movement through Wikipedia, we can create a networked, freely-accessible, low-cost and egalitarian platform for cultural participation. Libraries are the ideal place for themed edit-a-thons and developing the digital skills to create and share content.
 
By getting the diversified audience of public libraries to create and add content to Wikipedia via we can also diversify and enrich our knowledge base as well as the editorship of Wikipedia - a win-win for our communities. 

by digitalculturecilip on August 11, 2017 at 11:29AM

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