Definitions of disability are often cast in medical terms. While important, concentrating on that one aspect of a disability-related topic can mean inadequate coverage of other social, cultural, historical, economic, and political aspects. Writing a high-quality Wikipedia article about the subject thus typically means drawing from research in the sciences, but also in the social sciences and humanities. Getting access to those sources, however, can be a challenge for Wikipedia editors, who may run into barriers like paywalls. When Wikipedians can’t access the necessary materials about a subject, articles and perspectives within articles can be neglected.
For that reason, San Francisco State University (SFSU) is opening access to its library resources for a Wikipedian interested in disability studies.
As with other Visiting Scholars positions, the Wikipedians aren’t required to be physically present at the university. The only expectation is that they bring some of the articles they work on in that subject area to B-class or better over the course of a year. For most Wikipedians who would be applying for such a position, that’s the sort of activity they would be doing anyway, but now with access to high-quality research resources.
The opportunity is supported by SFSU’s Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, which works to challenge stereotypes and showcase the strength, ingenuity, and originality of disabled people. For Associate Director Emily Smith Beitiks, the Visiting Scholars program is a way to support the Institute’s mission by helping to improve public knowledge about disability on Wikipedia, using the rich resources collected by SFSU to build well-rounded multidisciplinary articles.
If you’re a passionate Wikipedian with an interest in this field, we’d love to help connect you. You can apply for a Visiting Scholar position here and, if you have questions, drop us a line: email@example.com. For more information about the Visiting Scholars program, see the Visiting Scholars section of our website.
Photo: SFSU Campus Overview Nov2012 by Webbi1987 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.
One thought on “SFSU opening access to library resources for Wikipedian interested in disability studies”
What a wonderful offer; thank you, SFSU! I will not be applying at this time, but I do hope that someone who shares my interests will do so. Lesser known sleep disorders, such as those caused by faulty circadian rhythms, can be extremely debilitating. Researchers and sleep doctors suggest simple treatments that work for only a few. Patients are seen as non-compliant when treatments do not work, adding to the burden.
As you know, there are many other patient groups in similar situations. Being able to find reference material will be of tremendous help to Wikipedians and Wikipedia. Bravo!