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I’d like to introduce you to an extremely critical, life-saving project. It is called Wikiproject Medicine. The goal of Wikproject Medicine is to improve medical articles on Wikipedia by fixing inaccuracies, adding references, making the pages easier to read, and translating the articles into 100 languages.

translators-without-bordersContent Rules has been collaborating with Translators Without Borders for well over a year on this project. Our job is to simplify the English used in the articles before the articles are translated. Many of you have volunteered your time and expertise to help us – and for that, I cannot thank you enough.

AcrolinxThe fine folks at Acrolinx have graciously donated both the software and technical expertise for the editing team to use as part of the English simplification process. For the past 9 months, we have been very busy creating a Simplified English Medical Terminology database. The database will be an important tool in our simplification work moving forward. I will write more about the database in a future post.

I want to tell you about an extremely exciting development in Wikiproject Medicine. The University of California San Francisco (USCF) Medical School is going to offer an elective course for 4th year medical students who want to participate in Wikiproject Medicine. Yes, that’s right – medical students will earn course credit for improving the quality of Wikipedia medical articles.

This is such an important development that it was recently highlighted in The New York Times and in The Atlantic.ucsf_tag_sig_rgb

Dr. Amin Azzam, a clinical professor at UCSF will teach the course, which starts on Monday, November 18. I have had the pleasure to speak with Dr. Azzam and will be assisting him as he teaches the course. Dr. Azzam and I see eye-to-eye on the mission of Wikiproject Medicine. Wikipedia is the source of information for more than 470 million unique visitors per month. It is likely that you go to Wikipedia often (maybe even daily) to look up information. Dr. Azzam rightfully believes that it is critical to get high-quality, accurate medical information to the world’s population. And Wikipedia is the only way to truly reach everyone.

Wikipedia_Zero_Logo_and_photoThere are many pieces to the puzzle of delivering high-quality information, to people all over the world, in a language they can read. The USCF medical students are one piece of the puzzle. The Content Rules volunteer editing team is another. The thousands of translators who are part of Translators Without Borders is yet another. In addition to all of us working on the content, there are efforts underway by Wikimedia to solve the problem of bringing the content to people in the most remote parts of the word via cellphone.

I am so excited to be part of the UCSF course and to work with the medical students to make sure that the articles go beyond technical accuracy. My goal is to teach the students how to write (or rewrite) them so that lay people can understand what they mean.

If you’d like to be part of this important project, you can sign-up to be a volunteer on the Translators Without Borders webpage. Of course, we can always use your financial support. Think about making a donation to TWB as your “Holiday Gift” to the world.

 

 

Val Swisher
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