OAWeek all year long: Wikipedia and Mexican Universities


I coordinate a wanna-be digital academic editorial project. We have not achieved our goals. But we are on our way.

Our aims, do something between Steve E. Jones’s RomanticCircles editionsOrsai’s Blog and Academia.edu. That means: High quality editions (enriched by something like TEI markup) PLUS an active role of readers PLUS connected research.
I dream this to be online, free, and written in a delightful, understandable, “shareful” language.


I was breaking my head.

I still am.


But then I remembered Wikipedia.


It certainly does not have all of this requirements but it does have a few. Plus, everybody reads Wikipedia.


So I was planning to send a letter to Jimmy Wales when I suddenly remembered there was a Wiki-something going somewhere in Mexico City, that is, in the epic Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

That wiki-something is called Wikimedia Foundation in Mexico.

And that thing going on was the Wikipedia Student Club at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (as a literal translation of Facultad de Filosofía y Letras… someone help me the translation of this one)

So I mailed them.

And they answered.

Next thing I know, we’re meeting up with my now heroes –Ivan Martinez and Carmen Alcázar- at a Starbucks near UNAM in Mexico City talking nonstop of all the Wikipedia stuff that could be done if we only worked together:

  • An archive with unbelievable images of the incredible Anthropology Museum of Xalapa  in the context of the GLAM-initiative (Wikipedia’s collaboration project with Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums)
  • Promote the public and university libraries as a space of shared research and home of edit-a-thons (workshops where a lot of students work together with librarians and professors in order to edit or create articles in a given subject)
  • And what is more important, making an agreement with Wikipedia would mean that a step would be given in the path to creating intern politics which would help create a kind of scholarship and teaching heading for the creation of open knowledge:
    • What if instead of writing essays that take students two months of hard work for one reader (the professor) a bunch of them worked together with the purpose of creating or translating one Wikipedia article?
    • What if instead of taking photos of the Día de muertos (the feast of the day of the dead) in Naolinco for a photography class and archiving in a personal computer you could share them with the world through Wikimedia Commons?
    • What if the Intercultural University of Veracruz -which is richer than any by the means of its pluricultural constitution (80% of the students come of indigenous communities and 60% still speak their native languages)- what if this University shared the content they produce in the original languages of their students?

There has always been “we” in the “I have a dream” famous speech. And that is what is going to make this project work. I’m sure about it.