Something about me: my first steps as Wikipedia editor

My name is Margherita and I come from Parma, Italy. This year I graduated with a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary research and studies on Eastern Europe at the University of Bologna. The master’s is also what brought me to Croatia in the first place. Indeed, according to this program students are required to spend their third semester abroad, being able to choose among several destinations. Due to my interest in the post-Yugoslav region and in the Croatian language, I chose to go to Zagreb. I arrived in this city for the first time in October 2021, fell in love with it, and then decided to extend the Erasmus period for another six months. After that, I came back again for an internship under the Erasmus+ traineeship program. Indeed, in September of this year, I became an intern for Clubture Network as I was interested in getting to know the world of Croatian non-institutional culture and how it works. Working for Clubture allowed me to take part in the Wikimedia Foundation project, which was started in 2022 on the occasion of Clubture’s 20th anniversary, as a way of offering an open data archive of their activities.

Throughout my internship period, I worked with different tools: Wikipedia: Translation, Wikidata, and Wikimedia Commons. On Wikipedia: Translation, I translated various Wikipedia articles that deal with non-institutional culture in Croatia (e.g. Unione delle associazioni Clubture, Cultura indipendente in Croazia), both from English and Croatian into Italian. On Wikidata I mainly added some of the projects conducted as part of Clubture’s program Clubture - Hr: program exchange and collaboration (CTHR) in 2021 (e.g. ŽENE MAŠINE, Art za zajednicu 2021) and some of the organizations that are Clubture’s members (e.g. Platforma Doma mladih, Shadow Casters). Finally, I uploaded several pictures on Wikimedia Commons related to the projects that were part of Clubture Network’s CTHR program in 2021 (e.g. Land Art Tour in Valpovo, Strike a pose! in Split).

Of course, I had already used Wikipedia before starting my experience at Clubture, although only in a “passive” way, i.e., to research and find out about new things. Becoming a Wikipedia editor allowed me to get to know and use tools that were unknown to me, such as Wikidata or Wikimedia Commons, and to learn about the editing process, from its most simple to its most complicated aspects. Moreover, it also made me realize the importance of the role that Wikipedia can have in making knowledge more accessible to everyone.

All in all, the process was not that smooth, as we encountered several difficulties, mainly related to the lack of sufficient sources for the articles or authorization for the pictures. However, in some of the cases, we did manage to find a solution (for instance, by adding more sources in the translated Wikipedia articles or by adding author and license in the Wikimedia Commons pictures), while we are still working on others. In spite of this, taking part in the Wikimedia Foundation project is still a rewarding experience, as it leaves you with the awareness of having contributed to making information open and available, which also constitutes a step further in supporting the research on non-institutional and youth culture in Croatia (oftentimes neglected in favor of heritage institutions).