Science and technology

How I by accident wrote a Wikipedia web page on a layover in Dublin

A most uncommon however fantastic expertise occurred to me lately on a return journey from Europe to the United States.

A collection of heavy Nor’easters hit the U.S. East Coast over the past couple weeks, one in every of which coincided with my journey again to Rochester, NY. While we didn’t have flooding, we had lots of snow. Quite a lot of snow means canceled flights.

As I made my means by way of border management in Dublin, Ireland on March 7, I found my connection to New York City would probably be canceled. A meander from baggage declare to the check-in desk confirmed this. Fortunately, Aer Lingus had no situation placing me up in a lodge in a single day, with dinner and breakfast, in order that I may catch the subsequent flight to New York the next day.

While ready in airport queues, a buddy occurred to retweet an occasion occurring in Dublin the subsequent day.

The occasion was a local Wikimedia meet-up to rejoice International Women’s Day. Participants would create and edit Wikipedia pages for influential ladies within the historical past of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. After digging deeper, I discovered the occasion would happen 30 minutes away from my lodge, from 09:30 to 12:30. My flight was at 16:10.

I put in my RSVP.

Meet the Wikimedia Ireland neighborhood

In a stroke of destiny, I might spend my prolonged layover throughout my first time in Dublin studying about ladies function fashions within the Irish medical neighborhood. I didn’t realize it but, however I might additionally participate in writing some historical past.


The first a part of the occasion centered on an introduction to enhancing on Wikipedia and establishing the main target for edits.

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) began a brand new marketing campaign to advertise influential ladies within the historical past of the college. Inside a historic boardroom positioned in a outstanding place on campus are portraits of influential individuals within the historical past of RCSI—however all of them are males. This makes it troublesome for ladies to seek out function fashions or take inspiration from ladies who “made it” in science and drugs.

However, there is no such thing as a scarcity of influential ladies within the historical past of RCSI. Part of the morning’s program featured an introduction to main sources that defined the pivotal work of feminine Irish medical doctors and pediatricians all through the 20th century. After listening to about these inspirational ladies, I puzzled—why had been none of them represented within the boardroom?

This very query was the main target of the edit-a-thon. Recently, RCSI commissioned new portraits for a few of the influential ladies alumnae. Half of the portraits within the boardroom can be relocated and changed by the brand new portraits as a part of the #WomenOnWalls marketing campaign.

Discovering Victoria Coffey

After being launched to the sources obtainable and methods to edit on Wikipedia, we started enhancing. Organizers inspired members to enhance current pages first as a lot of the members had been first-time editors.

Since I had some expertise with MediaWiki markup and I do lots of writing, I made a decision to write down a brand new web page. There was an inventory of advised ladies alumnae to write down about. After hearing about Victoria Coffey, I made a decision to focus my two hours of writing on her legacy.

Who is Victoria Coffey?

Victoria Coffey was an Irish pediatrician. She was an alumna of RCSI and one of many first to analysis sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Coffey spent most of her time in drugs researching and finding out congenital abnormalities in infants and pediatrics. She based the Faculty of Paediatrics on the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in 1981 and was the primary feminine president of the Irish Paediatric Society.

With the assistance and steerage of the Wikimedia Ireland and RCSI workers, I discovered sources to analysis Victoria Coffey, together with some public sources and a paid on-line Irish encyclopedia. That supplied the premise for me to start writing a stub for her biography. I created an infobox to summarize a few of her contributions, wrote a paragraph on her life, and left exterior hyperlinks for others to broaden and improve sooner or later. You can discover Victoria Coffey’s Wikipedia page on-line now. Since its creation, it has been considered nearly 100 times and edited 5 instances, by three individuals.

Thank you, RCSI and Wikimedia Ireland!

I used to be fortunate to fulfill and work with this local people of inspiring ladies in drugs (college students, alumnae, and school) to cut back the hole of girls on Wikipedia. It was a privilege to participate on this challenge and study a singular facet of the historical past of Ireland throughout my quick keep in Dublin.

Thank you for this nice expertise, RCSI and Wikimedia Ireland!

I’m unsure if this may make me anticipate flight cancellations kind of any further.

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