Wiki Woman

Spring 2017

Barbara Page has her work cut out for her. She’s a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar at Pitt’s University Library System building content on women’s health for the site. As of December 2016, there were only 1,232 women’s health articles—a number of which were created by Page—with more than half (679) rated as “stubs” or “start-class.” When she started this process, entries under these classifications included radical mastectomy, feminine hygiene, estrogen patch, endometriosis, cervical polyp, and breast self-examination.

Like most Wikipedia editors, Page—a part-time nursing student at Community College of Allegheny County who edits under her visiting scholar account “Barbara (WVS)”—is a volunteer. She’s created 59 new articles and edited more than 250 others that have received 67 million page views in a little over a year. She would like to see more health students and professionals contributing to health topics on Wikipedia. 

Page is most proud of the 375 edits she was able to make to the Wikipedia entry on rape, which receives an average of 4,000 page views every day. “I noticed [the page] lacked clinical content,” she says. “There was nothing about injuries, medications, treatment, what to expect when you go to a hospital, or what type of counseling is available.

“Even if just one rape victim reads that article and understands what’s going to happen to her at the hospital, it might make her feel as though she has some control
over the process,” Page says.