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Last Saturday was the Europeana Sounds’ Wikipedia edit-a-thon, hosted by the British Library. This was a bold mission to provide as many Wikipedia articles as possible in the short time available with relevant sound recordings.

Before talking about the day itself, I should mention that a lot of preparation took place beforehand. Europeana Sounds is, of course, a collaborative project and this part of the project – data enrichment – is led by the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision. A similar edit-a-thon was happening on the same day in Hilversum, Netherlands.

The British Library provided many audio recordings of birdsong, many of them from A.R. Gregory’s collection of Kenyan birdsong. A selection of these recordings, originally made in the 1960s and 1970s, were loaded onto Wikimedia Commons by NISV. For example, here’s A.R. Gregory’s recording of the bare-faced go-away-bird, now on Europeana Sounds (you can now play the A.R. Gregory recordings directly from the Europeana Sounds website by clicking the waveform).

On the day of the edit-a-thon, volunteers received training in editing Wikipedia articles (if they needed it) and then set to work. Here’s one of the results of their endeavours – have a look at the Wikipedia article on the bare-faced go-away-bird.


What a difference it makes to be able to hear the sound made by the bare-faced go-away-bird, whilst reading about it and viewing images of it! As galleries, libraries, archives and museums move towards providing more content online, it’s really important to look at ways of sharing that content and, crucially, demonstrating how it’s related to other content.

Hopefully, Europeana Sounds will continue to make this happen! Well done to everyone involved in the edit-a-thon. It sounded fun.

Have a look at the video:

by Tom Miles, The British Library