Skye women recognised on Wikipedia after edit-a-thon

V0028332 Matilda MacPhail. Photograph by Fréd Ahrlé & Co. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images Matilda MacPhail. Photograph by Fréd Ahrlé & Co. Published: - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

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Thirteen new articles and 6,340 words about women on Skye were added to Wikipedia last week.

To mark 100 years of women’s suffrage, ATLAS Arts hosted a two-day Wikipedia edit-a-thon in Portree with the aim to address the gender imbalance that exists on Wikipedia by focusing on women of Skye.

During the two-day event, which was led by Delphine Dallison of the Scottish Libraries and Information Service, was held in Portree Community Library and in conjunction with Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre, 13 new articles were created, 14 new editors were trained (of which 13 were women). So far the new entries have garnered hundreds of views.

An example of a new entry includes, Dr Alexandrina Matilda MacPhail (June 3, 1860-November 6, 1946) OBE. Born in Knock, Sleat, in the Isle of Skye, MacPhail was a Scottish physician who graduated from the London School of Medicine for Women. In 1887 she became a missionary and doctor in India, where she founded what would become a large hospital in Madras. During the First World War, she also worked for the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service as a doctor in Serbia and France. In 1912 MacPhail received a silver Kaisar-i-Hind Medal for public services in India from the Indian Viceroy, and in 1930 she was awarded an OBE.

The event was also about editing existing Wikipedia entries of women of Skye which demonstrated gender bias. This was the case for Mary MacPherson, or Màiri Mhòr nan Òran, where a new section was added to highlight the significance of her poetry work and her publication – Gaelic Songs and Poems, by Mary MacPherson, 1891.

Shona Cameron, ATLAS producer said: ‘We are thrilled by how well the event went. The participants were enthusiastic and really embraced the challenge. It was wonderful to see so many new articles created and people leave with the skills to continue to edit and update Wikipedia entries. There are so many amazing stories of women of Skye who have been overlooked or erased from the history books – this was a small step towards addressing this issue and showcasing some of these incredible women and their work.

‘We are also really looking forward to seeing what the artist Kirsty McKeown comes up with in the form of a zine to celebrate the event.’


Dr Alexandrina Matilda MacPhail was one of the new entries on Wikipedia. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. NO F44 ATLAS Skye women.