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Open Edinburgh: Putting open source in your hands

Open Edinburgh – a celebration of open source – was an event organised by Ritwik Sarkar, a 3rd year Computer Science with Management student, as part of his summer internship as the Open Source Web Development Community Champion with our team.

Event purpose

The goals of the event were to:

  • show students and staff who were not involved with Open Source that they do not need any technical coding skills to be able to contribute to Open Source
  • showcase why Open Source is the future through a series of talks and presentations

Planning and advertising the event

The key difficulties faced during the planning phases were trying to estimate the scale of the event and the interest it would generate and budget for it accordingly.

It also took a lot of effort to arrange the speakers for the latter half of the event as we wanted to include external speakers so that the event would have a wider perspective.

The event was marketed using as many channels possible, including but not limited to:

  • leafleting in both central and Kings Building campus
  • internal ISG mailing lists
  • School of Informatics mailing list
  • School of Psychology Weekly Digest
  • Squash and Rifle Club mailing lists and social media

This resulted in a lot of student interest in the event and saw us get over 30 sign ups for the morning and over 50 for the afternoon.

Event schedule

The event took place on the 28th of September in Appleton tower and had two parts to it:

Wikipedia Editathon

Our Wikimedian in residence, Ewan McAndrew agreed to help organise an editathon( an event where participants create/edit Wikipedia pages on a particular topic ).

The central theme of the editathon was “diversity amongst University of Edinburgh graduates” and the idea behind was being able to showcase the many different backgrounds of the graduates of the University and then give them the recognition that they deserve by creating/updating their Wikipedia pages.

This was a great success as we created 10 completely new Wikipedia pages and updated 16 other articles. This took place from 10am to 1pm and was followed by lunch.

Talks and presentations

There were a series of talks and presentations on Open Source ranging from why Open Source is important to the University to how an individual can contribute to Open Source without knowing to code to the elephant in the room, why Open Source is the future.

The talks were as follows:

  • Melissa Highton, Assistant Principal Univeristy of Edinburgh : Why Open Source is important to the University of Edinburgh.
  • Lauren Tormey , Website Editorial Assistant : How to contribute without knowing code.
  • Billy Wardrop, CMS Service Support : Baking Open Source into the future of the Web at Edinburgh.
  • Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence at the University of Edinburgh , Alice White, Wikimedian in Residence at the Wellcome Library & Sara Thomas, Programme coordinator for Wikimedia UK : Wikimedia Presentation on how we can contribute to the various channels of Wikimedia.
  • Amanda Brock, CEO Trustable & Director OpenUK : If you believe they put a man on the moon – the future of innovation

After these talks, attendees and speakers were offered refreshments and the opportunity to converse in a less formal atmosphere.

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