GLAM/Case studies/SLQ WW1 Wikipedian in Residence
This case study describes the development, implementation and execution of State Library of Queensland’s First World War Wikipedian-in-Residence project. The primary aim was to increase the content relating to Queensland’s participation in the First World War available in Wikipedia.
State Library of Queensland (SLQ) is the main reference and research library provided to the people of the State of Queensland, Australia, by the Queensland Government. It contains a significant portion of Queensland's documentary culture and heritage, major reference and research collections, and is an advocate of and partner with public libraries across Queensland.
The First World War Wikipedian-in-Residence project contributes to the outcomes of Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation, SLQ’s First World War commemorative project. This project being rolled out during 2014-2018 will create a repository of knowledge for future generations relating to Queensland’s participation in the First World War. Dedicated project funding facilitated the employment of dedicated staff to undertake this role.
The project had a dual aim of adding First World War content relating to Queensland to Wikipedia though making SLQ collections available and exposing them on Wikipedia, and to encourage members of the public to add their First World War content to Wikipedia with the assistance of a Wikipedian-in-Residence.
An outline of the project and the work undertaken is available.
The focus of the activities was to:
• Create content on Wikipedia drawing on SLQ collections
• Building information and digital literacy skills in GLAM staff
• Add community created content to Wikipedia
• Increase Wikipedia skills in the community
• Improve Wikipedia skills of SLQ staff
In line with the original Q ANZAC 100 project proposal to include Wikipedia skills development to support new knowledge about Queensland’s First World War experiences, a proposal was approved to employ 3 short term Wikipedians during the period February to November 2016. The main roles were:
• Authoring content for inclusion in Wikipedia using the resources of State Library of Queensland relating to Queensland’s First World War experience.
• And mentor budding Wikipedians to author content for Wikipedia relating to Queensland’s First World War experience.
The Wikipedian-in-Residence was available on-site each Wednesday between the hours of 10AM and 4PM February to November 2016 to assist members of the public develop and add content to Wikipedia. During this time content was also added to Wikipedia.
The program was advertised in SLQ What’s On, in the calendar of events and through social media channels. Bookings were essential for sessions and an email address was provided for these bookings.
A Wikipedia skills session was provided by the Wikipedian-in-Residence for staff at SLQ to develop skills in editing Wikipedia.
• The Wikipedian-in-Residence was available for 40 Wednesdays between the hours of 10AM and 4PM to assist members of the public develop and add content to Wikipedia.
• 2 enquiries were made to add content resulting in one successful addition to Wikipedia.
• 23 new pages were created which profile the SLQ collection. Many other pages were edited which also profile the SLQ collection. A summary of new articles is available.
• Edits to other Wikipedia articles were made
• A staff skills development was provided to SLQ staff
• 2 blog posts were provided to SLQ’s Queensland's World War 1 Centenary blog
Reflection and lessons learned
• Having Kerry Raymond as the inaugural Wikipedian-in-Residence enabled her to establish a structure for work to be completed.
• The identification of subject areas in Wikipedia which required editing such as the Wikipedia entry from Queensland or History of Queensland which did not include a mention of First World War whatsoever.
• Having experienced Wikipedians meant that they were able to navigate the approval processes for addition of new content.
• As new First World War content became available, this information was provided to the Wikipedian for possible inclusion in Wikipedia.
What did not work so well:
• The appetite for adding content was overestimated as there was such little take up of the program from members of the community. Even members of history related organisations in the GLAM sector did not take up the opportunity.
• Being part of the government structure, formal recruitment processes were required to employ 3 Wikipedian-in-Residence. This was a very time consuming an onerous process for a one day per week, short term appointment. A longer term appointment would easier to administer.