New resource for writing Wikipedia biographies

We’ve seen growing interest in writing Wikipedia articles about historic and contemporary figures. We’ve shared great stories from courses that contribute biographies of women artists, American and Canadian historical figures, journalists, and women virologists.

Editing biographies on Wikipedia has special rules and approaches. There are unique expectations when writing about historical and living people.

That’s why Wiki Ed worked with experienced Wikipedia volunteers to create a handbook for biographies. In that guide, students will find:

  • an overview of good editing practices
  • how to find notable figures with reliable and plentiful sources
  • critical thinking tips for evaluating sources
  • special considerations for writing about living people

The handbook suggests an outline for historical biographies. Ahead of our upcoming Year of Science initiative, we’ve included advice for covering contemporary scientists.

You can download the handbook as a .pdf through Wikimedia Commons, and print copies are available, also free of charge, to courses registered through our dashboard system.

This book joins our existing suite of materials for specific subjects, including ecology, medicine, psychology, sociology and women’s studies. You can see the full list of our resources here.

To request print copies, or to discuss adding a Wikipedia assignment to your course, email


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