GLAM/Case studies/Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum

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Beginning in 2012, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, a single institution located in two separate physical locations in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor in the U.S. state of Michigan, began a partnership with Wikimedia to make their vast collections more accessible to the world. The Library's collection includes approximately 25 million pages of documents, 450,000 still photographs, 3,500 hours of video, 3,000 hours of audio, and 787,000 feet of motion picture film. The Museum is home to several core permanent exhibits that document the life, career, and presidency of Gerald Ford, as well as various temporary exhibits that feature the holdings of the entire Presidential libraries system, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, and other institutions.

Because the vast majority of the Library and Museum's collection was created by employees of the United States federal government in the course of their duties, it is in the public domain, which essentially makes the Library and Museum a bastion of open content that is fundamentally compatible with the Wikimedia movement. In terms of their mutual beliefs in education, life-long learning, and public access, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum and the Wikimedia projects are fairly similar institutions that share core values and beliefs about their role and purpose.

This case study covers the major facets of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum's partnership with the Wikimedia projects, including the development of a content-focused WikiProject on the English Wikipedia, a collaboration project on Wikimedia Commons that has resulted in the uploading of over 11,000 separate files (mostly photographs and scanned documents), a transcription project on Wikisource that works with those scanned documents on Commons, and an internship in the form of a Wikipedian in Residence on site at the Library in Ann Arbor.

This partnership is ongoing and this case study will continue to evolve.



The roots of this collaboration parallel the earlier Wikimedia partnership conducted by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum's parent organization, which began in 2010.

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum began collaborating with Wikimedia in August 2012, when a staff member attended a presentation on the GLAM project. A few months later, other staff members learned about the GLAM project and its potential outreach benefits for the Library and Museum at an in-house lecture. Early efforts included hand uploading artifact images, and later, with the help of Wikipedia editors, the first test batch of uploaded documents was completed in early winter 2012.

The Michigan Wikipedians student club was instrumental in helping the Ford's collaboration with Commons develop as well, as its members placed image files into Wikipedia articles. By early 2013, it was apparent that the partnership would expand, and the Library and Museum brought on it's first Wikipedian in Residence (WiR). The WiR helped with categorization and template standardization, created articles, and established Ford presences on Wikisource and Wikivoyage.

The partnership between Wikimedians and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum continues today.


A content-focused effort on the English Wikipedia that has tagged and assessed all articles relating to the life, career, and presidency of Gerald Ford and that now serves as a collaborative space in which Ford-related content is created and improved.
A collaboration between the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum and Wikimedians to upload over 11,000 images (both photographs and scanned documents) to Wikimedia Commons and categorize them so they can be utilized where appropriate in other Wikimedia projects (chiefly Wikipedia and Wikisource).
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum developed an internship in the form of a Wikipedian in Residence designed to improve Ford-related content on Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia, and Wikisource.
Wikimedians (including the Wikipedian in Residence) have begun a project on Wikisource to transcribe the scanned documents uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

Further information


For further inquiry and information about this case study, or any of the Gerald Ford related projects, please contact either Michael Barera on his English Wikipedia user page or Bettina Cousineau on her Wikimedia Commons user page.