WikiConference North America

WikiConference North America, formerly known as WikiConference USA, is an annual conference organized by the Wikimedia community in North America. The first two events were held at New York Law School and Washington, D.C.'s National Archives Building in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The third annual conference, rebranded WikiConference North America, was held at San Diego's Central Public Library in 2016, with a pre-conference day at Balboa Park. WikiConference North America 2017 was held in Montreal in 2017, as a pre-conference to Wikimania. The 2018 and 2019 events were held in Columbus, Ohio and Cambridge, Massachusetts, respectively.

WikiConference North America
2016 event participants
  • United States (2014–2016; 2018–2019)
  • Canada (2017)
Years active2014–2019
Most recentNovember 8–11, 2019
Attendance~250 (2014)


The annual conference is organized by and for Wikipedia editors, enthusiasts, and volunteers.[1][2] Staff from the Wiki Education Foundation, which co-sponsored the 2015 event,[3][4] and the Wikimedia Foundation also attend each year.[5][6] The conference has been held in New York City; Washington, D.C.; San Diego; Montreal; Columbus, Ohio; and Cambridge, Massachusetts.



The inaugural WikiConference USA was held during May 30 – June 1, 2014 at New York Law School's Tribeca campus in Lower Manhattan. The conference was established as a national event for the American Wikipedia community, and was "devoted to topics concerning the Wikimedia movement in the United States, as well as related topics of free culture and digital rights".[7][8] It was hosted by Wikimedia Foundation affiliates for the District of Columbia and New York City, with grant funding provided by the foundation and additional support from Consumer Reports, the Institute for Information Law & Policy at New York Law School, and the City University of New York.[9][10]

The event's program featured two days of keynotes, panels, presentations, and workshop sessions about the state of Wikipedia, addressing issues such as diversity, gender bias, and the socialization of new editors, as well as a one-day unconference.[8][9][11] Approximately 250 people attended the conference.[9] According to O'Dwyer's magazine, sessions about conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia were "front and center".[12]


The second WikiConference USA was held at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., during October 9–11, 2015. The conference was co-sponsored by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which was a sponsor of Wikimania when the event was held in Washington, D.C. in 2012, and the Wiki Education Foundation; Wikimedia Foundation affiliates for the District of Columbia and New York City were also WikiConference partners.[1][3][13]

Activities included panels, presentations, speeches, and workshops related to Wikipedia's community, collaborations with cultural institutions, role in education, and technology development. Attendees also had access to the National Archives Museum and the Innovation Hub, where records are digitized.[1] The conference featured presentations by Pamela Wright, NARA's chief innovation officer; Andrew Lih; John Howard, who serves as director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States; Alice Backer of the organization AfroCrowd, which seeks to improve coverage of Africans and African Americans in Wikipedia and other projects; and Danielle Citron, a law professor at the University of Maryland who spoke about hate crimes in cyberspace.[14][15]

Diversity was a central theme throughout the conference, which inspired NARA to host a Wikimedia Diversity Conference in June 2016.[16]


The third annual event, called WikiConference North America, was held in San Diego's Central Public Library during October 7–10, 2016. The conference's scope was increased to include Wikimedians in Canada and Mexico, and the event featured a series of edit-a-thons.[17] Alex Madva, an assistant professor at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and contributor to the American Philosophical Association's blog, coordinated one on October 8 to improve articles about philosophy and philosophers.[18][19] The American Chemical Society sponsored another to improve coverage of chemistry and notable chemists.[20] Mike Connolly Miskwish of the Campo Indian Reservation, who also serves as an adjunct faculty member of Native American studies at San Diego State University, facilitated an edit-a-thon in conjunction with Indigenous Peoples' Day to improve Wikipedia articles about indigenous peoples.[2][21]

Katherine Maher, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, facilitated a Wikimedia movement strategy session, and Kelly Doyle, who was hired by West Virginia University Libraries as the first Wikipedian in residence for focusing on gender equality, also presented at the conference.[22][23] On the day preceding the conference, a "Wiki Culture Crawl" was organized at Balboa Park, allowing editors to visit affiliated museums free of charge for the purpose of improving Wikipedia articles related to local GLAMs and other cultural institutions.[17][23] Convene, a monthly journal published by the Professional Convention Management Association, said the 2016 event was "organized just the way you might expect that contributors to the world’s largest online encyclopedia would approach the task: using the 'wiki' collaborative approach."[17] The journal's Barbara Palmer also noted that Sydney Poore, Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, and other organizers all lived outside California. On the conference's final day, attendees created the "WikiConference North America User Group" to document best practices for organizing Wikimedia events.[17]


WikiConference North America was held at Le Centre Sheraton Hotel in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from August 9–10, 2017, as a pre-conference to Wikimania, the official annual conference of the Wikimedia Foundation.[24]

The 2018 conference was held in Columbus, Ohio, October 18–21, 2018, at Ohio State University's Thompson Memorial Library and other campus locations.[25]

The 2019 event was held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, mainly in the Frank Gehry-designed Ray and Maria Stata Center, during November 8–11.[26]

See also


  1. Ferriero, David (October 2, 2015). "National Archives Hosts WikiConference USA". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  2. Blakemore, Erin. "Wikipedia Wants You to Improve Its Coverage of Indigenous Peoples". Smithsonian. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. ISSN 0037-7333. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  3. Wiki Education Foundation, 2015:
  4. Engen, Katie (October 14, 2015). "WikiConference USA: Watch Online". American Society of Plant Biologists. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  5. Salvaggio, Eryk (October 9, 2015). "It's here! WikiConference USA". Wiki Education Foundation. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  6. Davis, LiAnna (October 26, 2016). "Wiki Ed engages with Wikipedians at WikiConference North America". Wiki Education Foundation. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  7. "WikiConference USA 2014". Creative Commons. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  8. "WikiConference USA (May 30 – June 1)". University of Oregon. February 6, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  9. Howard, Dorothy. "New York Cultural Heritage and Open Access Update". OpenGLAM. Open Knowledge International. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  10. "IILP Events". New York Law School. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  11. Pressler, Jessica (June 6, 2014). "Love and Drama at the Wikipedia Conference". New York. New York Media. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  12. McCauley, Kevin (June 2, 2014). "PR, Wikipedia Hash Things Out". O'Dwyer's. J. R. O'Dwyer Company. ISSN 1931-8316. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  13. Richard, Diane L. (July 27, 2015). "WikiConference USA to be held at the National Archives (9–11 October 2015)". National Genealogical Society. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  14. Fernandez, Robert (October 15, 2015). "Special Report from WikiConference USA at NARA". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  15. Lih, Andrew (October 12, 2015). "Andrew Lih: My Summer Fellowship at the Wiki Education Foundation". Wiki Education Foundation. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  16. Ferriero, David. "Celebrating Diversity at the National Archives". Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  17. Palmer, Barbara (November 30, 2016). "Inside a Wikipedia Conference". Convene. Professional Convention Management Association. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  18. Madva, Alex (September 27, 2016). "Wikipedia Edit-a-thon". American Philosophical Association. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  19. W., Justin. "Filling in Wikipedia's Coverage of Philosophy". Daily Nous. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  20. "American Chemical Society celebrates National Nanotechnology Day". American Chemical Society. October 6, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  21. "Wikipedia Wants Improved Content on Indigenous Peoples, Needs Your Help". Indian Country Today Media Network. New York City: Oneida Indian Nation. September 26, 2016.
  22. "WVU Libraries' Wikipedian in Residence speaks at National Archives about narrowing gender gap on Wikipedia". West Virginia University. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  23. Johnson, Aubrie (October 27, 2016). "Building a more inclusive movement at WikiConference North America 2016". Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  24. "WikiConference North America 2017 – Montreal, Canada". WikiConference North America. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  25. "WikiConference North America 2018 – Columbus". WikiConference North America. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  26. @WikiConNA (August 31, 2019). "#WikiConferenceNA 2019 is happening Nov 8-11 in Boston and Cambridge! Join us as we focus on reliability as our conference theme this year. Programming submissions are open through Sept 20: … Stay tuned for scholarship applications and registration!" (Tweet) via Twitter.
External media
Wikipedia Weekly Episode 110 – WikiConference USA, Day 1 by Andrew Lih (May 30, 2014)
Wikipedia Weekly #111 – WikiConference USA, James Heilman by Andrew Lih (May 30, 2014)
Wikipedia Weekly Episode 112 – WikiConference USA, Day 2 by Andrew Lih (May 31, 2014)
WikiConference Keynote Addresses (October 8, 2016), C-SPAN
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