The Wikimedia projects, particularly Wikipedia, have established themselves as the prime repository of human knowledge. As the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) gain prominence in industry, more and more practitioners will be turning to the Wikimedia projects for information.
However, even the English Wikipedia presents a nearly blank slate to many important technical concepts in the fields of environmental engineering and sustainability. The reason for this is two-fold: First, innovation in these industries is often driven by private corporations rather than public bodies, so there is little incentive to share the innovations in open knowledge projects. Second, contribution to these topics require significant technical expertise, so even if the scientific and industry publications were in open access, it would be difficult for an amateur to research the content and write about them on Wikimedia projects.
Beginning from his own experience as a geotechnical engineer and a Wikipedia contributor, the leader of this panel will open up a discussion on the best practices on covering specialist technical content in the fields of environmental engineering and sustainability. Preliminary recommendations include:
Write before you cite: Contrary to prevalent wisdom on Wikimedia projects, it is easier to find citations for common concepts in a technical area than to structure a presentation of basic concept well. When starting an article about a general technical concept from scratch, an expert in a subject area would find it easier to spit on the page first, then comb through their own repository of literature to find relevant citations to back themselves up. Where time is a limiting factor,
A picture paints a thousand words: Contribute plenty of photographs and illustrations from your field of work to Wikimedia Commons as far as confidentiality agreements would allow. The use of photographs can save the need for contrived texts to describe a physical scenario.
Be multilingual: Editors who are multilingual should try to translate articles from a large Wikipedia edition to a smaller Wikipedia edition. This is important in terms of connecting communities to our repository of knowledge.
Connect up: Include plenty of internal links and connect as many relevant Wikidata items with statements as practical. The missing links provide a good picture of what general concepts are in the greatest need of coverage, much like how the "wanted pages" button helped editors in the early days of WIkipedia.
The relationship is in the title: this session discusses how editors with specialist knowledge in fields relating to the Sustainable Development Goals should contribute their expertise to Wikimedia projects. The focus will be on technical content, particularly those relating to SDG 6 (water), 7 (energy), 9 (industry), 11 (cities), and 13 (climate).
Each Space at Wikimania 2019 will have specific format requests. The program design prioritises submissions which are future-oriented and directly engage the audience. The format of this submission is a:
Panel or lightning talk with audience Question & Answer session
Target audience are those with specialist experience (undergraduate level or more advanced) in fields related to environmental engineering and sustainability, who are interested in contributing to Wikimedia projects but do not necessarily have the editing experience: architects, civil engineers, conservationists, sustainability consultants, et al.
Fixed camera with shared microphone to capture audience discussion