2020 Wikipedian In Residence

Savannah Cragin poses in front of the oak orchard and the campanile
Open and free knowledge sources, such as Wikipedia, provide a platform for topics often confined to academia. As a Wikipedia Peer Consultant, I aim to help teachers and students navigate the many caveats of editing on Wikipedia through online consultations.
Savannah Cragin


We are excited to share with you that Savannah Cragin has just been appointed as the ‘Wikipedian In Residence’ and Peer Consultant for Summer 2020. In consultation with the AC Center and the University Library, Savannah will hold online office hours and be available for individual appointments to help coach all instructors and students who are editing, interested in editing, or learning to edit Wikipedia pages as well as to communicate the norms and expectations of the Wikipedia community to first-time editors. The American Cultures Center has a long history of supporting curriculum-based Wikipedia editing, including its’ collaboration with Wiki Education and the hiring of the first Wikipedian in Residence at an American college or university. Savannah comes to us having received her training in Wikipedia and on the topics of privacy, cybersecurity, and surveillance from the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Privacy. IRGP will also join the AC Center and Wiki Education in the ongoing training and support of the newest Wikipedian in Residence. IRGP is one of the campus's most consistent training grounds for Wikipedians and a driving force on the campus towards efforts to diversify who edits Wikipedia.

According to Naniette H. Coleman, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Sociology Department at Berkeley and the Executive Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Privacy who has hosted projects on Wikipedia since 2016: “In an environment where the line between real and fake news appears to be thinning, Wikipedia is critical in the spread of just and well researched, rhetoric free speech, especially for populations who lack access to journal articles ubiquitous at universities, but are tucked behind paywalls. In our current times, developing Wikipedia articles is critical and the digital literacy skills especially useful. Beyond just creating and editing Wikipedia articles that allow students to create collaborative online work with a visible impact on a global audience, projects like those done by AC Center and IRGP continue to ensure that the people have access to the most ink. Whether adding new sources to existing Wikipedia pages or creating new pages or angles on notable topics currently missing (e.g. Whitewashing and whitesplaining), students gain deeper insight into their course material and learn to evaluate critically the reliability of sources. In the case of our work at IRGP, which means that whenever you Google “social profiling” the first thing that comes up is a widely viewed Wikipedia page created by a young woman of color from Berkeley.”

In our current times, developing Wikipedia articles is especially useful. Creating and editing Wikipedia articles allow students to create collaborative online work with a visible impact on a global audience. Whether adding new sources to existing Wikipedia pages or creating new pages on notable topics, students gain deeper insight into their course material and learn to evaluate critically the reliability of sources. 

It is our hope that this position, will develop the infrastructure to continue to support Wikipedia pages as assignments and to train future Wikipedia peer consultants.  Savannah brings years of experience as a Wikipedia editor as an undergraduate researcher in the URAP, SURF/SMART programs at UC Berkeley.

Savannah's Office Hours are Mondays and Fridays from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. If you would like to schedule an individual appointment with Savannah, please email wikipedian(at)berkeley.edu. Please join us in welcoming Savannah Cragin as the AC Wikipedia Peer Consultant for Summer 2020. 

Message from Savannah Cragin:

"During my college career I spent three semesters (URAP) and a summer (SMART/SURF) deeply engaged in a Wikipedia-based research experience through the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Privacy (IRGP)(link is external); IRGP is a Berkeley based research initiative focused on illuminating cybersecurity, surveillance, and privacy issues for audiences outside the academic sphere. My work included authoring the participatory surveillance Wikipedia page, speaking at the Fall 2019 Wikipedia in the Classroom Workshop for faculty looking to teach with Wikipedia, speaking at the Spring 2020 UCB Art +Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon, working closely with the Wiki Education Foundation, and editing over 500 privacy focused Wikipedia pages. Collectively, the largely undergraduate team at IRGP has created and edited privacy related pages on Wikipedia that have amassed over 100 million views.

Open and free knowledge sources like Wikipedia provide a platform for the discussion of topics often confined to academia. With the goal of ensuring the reliability of information on Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation implements strict standards for the type of sources, grammar, and rhetoric that can be used to both edit and create pages on this platform. Their policies and practices, though reasonable, can prove daunting for new faculty and students to traverse. With relevant experience in these areas, as the campus's new Wikipedia Peer Consultant,  I will provide a safe space for people to ask questions and learn. Ultimately my goal is to help faculty and students navigate the many challenges of editing on Wikipedia through online consultations and create a comprehensive training plan for both students and faculty to edit and host pages on Wikipedia.

In addition to my Wikipedia, I am also passionate about issues of unequal representation on screen and behind the scenes in film production and intellectual property protection. I hope to continue working within the Wikipedia-sphere at the close of my term as Wikipedia Peer Consultant and have the long-term goal of receiving a J.D. in copyright law."

Message from the Wiki Education Foundation:

“We're so proud of the work that Savannah has done as a student in our program and know that she will continue to bring her enthusiasm and expertise to her new role as ‘Wikipedian in Residence’. When you ask students to contribute to Wikipedia as a course assignment, they have a real chance to produce something that will outlive the course and potentially be viewed by millions. As one instructor put it,

“There are few assignments that incorporate all of MY course goals (teaching critical thinking, practicing research skills, writing intensive work, facilitating collaboration between students, teaching practical skills, and incorporating equity work) in a succinct manner. The cherry on top was the degree to which students engaged with the project and created thoughtful and significant edits (which in many cases either significantly improved/changed the Wikipedia pages or created totally new and original content).”

Message from the University Library:

“Quality Wikipedia pages are based on quality sources, preferably scholarly sources.  Make sure that your students know how to find and evaluate these sources - ask a librarian to conduct a customized research workshop for your class.”  If you have questions about library research and Wikipedia please contact Corliss Lee, American Cultures Librarian at clee(at)library.berkeley.edu, or your department's library liaison.  24/7 advice about library research is available at the Library web site."

Message from the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Privacy:

“We are incredibly proud of Savannah and her ongoing work in support of the ideals of Wikipedia. As the second ‘Wikipedian in Residence’ at Berkeley – the university, which also hosted Kevin Gorman the first ever “Wikipedian in Residence at an American University - there are no doubt great expectations of the promise of this position. Without question, I can think of no other student who is better prepared for this opportunity than Savannah. She is a rare gem who is humble, mature, conscientious, hardworking, poised, giving of her skills, and consistently exceeds expectations. Savannah’s dedication
will stand out as soon as you meet her. We are lucky to have her, and I am excited to both support her and learn from her in this new role. If you would like to get involved in editing Wikipedia and have an interest in privacy, cybersecurity, or surveillance, please contact Naniette H. Coleman at nhcoleman(at)berkeley.edu or apply during the school year to the “I Regret to Inform You That Your Private Information Has Been Compromised” URAP project."