GLAM/Newsletter/April 2012/Contents/USA report

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Wikimedia presence at American Association of Museums; Oregon Historical County Records mass upload; brief news

By Smallman12q and Lori Phillips

Strong Wikimedia presence at American Association of Museums

Wikimedians talking to GLAM reps at their stall during AAM 2012.
Wikipedians in Residence on a virtual session at the American Association of Museums, 2012.

From April 29 until May 2, 2012, five Wikipedians in Residence gathered in Minneapolis at the American Association of Museums Annual Meeting and Expo. Lori Phillips, Àlex Hinojo, Liam Wyatt, and Sarah Stierch took part in both a virtual and in-person panel Wikipedia and the Museum: Lessons from Wikipedians in Residence. The session described the context of GLAM-WIKI and Wikipedians in Residence, types of outreach events, methods for connecting with the Wikimedia community, and resources for helping museums get started in a cooperation with Wikimedia. Additionally, Dominic McDevitt-Parks led a Marketplace of Ideas question and answer session about how to implement Wikipedia in cultural institutions.

The American Association of Museums (AAM) is the largest museum conference in the United States, serving thousands of museum professionals from around the world through over 150 sessions and workshops on major themes in museum theory and best practice. The AAM Annual Meeting is considered to be the largest gathering of museum professionals in the world, attracting more than 5,000 attendees from the US and abroad. Our participation at AAM offered us an unprecedented chance to illustrate to institutional decision makers - the curators, the exhibit designers, and the museum directors- that Wikipedia is a serious tool that will help them further their missions.

Throughout the conference, it was clear that museum professionals are interested in more fully engaging with the Wikipedia community. On day one, two sessions included Wikipedians in Residence and GLAM-Wiki as models for digital collaboration, including the session "Children's Museums Leveraging National Visibility Through Partnerships" and "Beyond Digitization: Creating Broad Access for Your Online Collection." Wikipedia was also discussed in a session on the future of museum ethics within the context of transparency and openness.

On Monday all Wikipedians assisted in the Marketplace of Ideas event, an informal table presenting "What to do and What not to do" as a museum in Wikipedia. We had a constant stream of interested cultural professionals and distributed information via the GLAM-Wiki One-Pager. A number of potential future cooperations grew out of this event.

The Wikipedian in Residence Virtual Session took place on Tuesday. The session was quite successful in bringing together interested cultural professionals and GLAM-Wikimedians from around the world in a virtual setting. Immediately prior to the session beginning, event organizers surprised us by providing twenty-five free spots to the $120 virtual session to Wikipedians who were currently on Twitter and eager to participate. In the second half of the presentation an extensive Question and Answer session resulted in many relevant questions that were answered by both the presenters and the participating Wikipedians. About fifty cultural professionals took part from all over the United States, Canada, and beyond. While usually reserved for paid attendees, in the coming days the virtual session will be available for Wikipedians to access.

On Wednesday the Wikipedians in Residence participated in the in-person session, which was attended by around fifty conference participants. The question and answer session went over time and enthusiasm was extremely high. We are looking forward to following up with the many interested museum professionals in the coming days and weeks.

Oregon Historical County Records Guide Mass Upload

A bench and statue of Ben Franklin in downtown McMinnville, Oregon.

Following last month's success of WikiProject Oregon volunteers in convincing the Oregon State Archives (OSA) to release the low resolution images (72dpi) of the Oregon Historical County Records Guide under a compatible Wikimedia Commons license, a mass upload of the images was performed by Smallbot operated by Smallman12q. The ~4200 images were uploaded to Commons:Category:Images from Oregon Historical County Records Guide with filenames, descriptions, keywords, and county automatically determined using metadata from their their website. The images have automatically been categorized by their relative county. The images will be used to illustrate Oregon articles across Wikipedia. Technical details of the upload may be found here.

Small had previously helped with the mass upload of bible illustrations (~3000 illustrations) and Acorn computer hardware (~2000 photographs).

US Cultural Partnerships

  • Final preparations for the American Association of Museums conference, which takes place April 29 - May 2. Wikimedia will be represented throughout the conference, including in a traditional and a virtual Wikipedian in Residence session, a Wikipedia basics table, a nomination for QRpedia at the MUSE tech awards, and highlights in the Association of Children’s Museum’s session.
  • Coordination and updates to the GLAM/US portal in preparation for the American Association of Museums conference.
  • Ongoing coordination with US cultural organizations, including support and advisement for early stages of planning processes. (Partnerships not yet publicly announced.)
  • Ongoing coordination on recommendations for technical tools from cultural professionals.
  • Preparations for the Wikipedia Lounge at the MuseumNext conference in Barcelona in May and session proposal writing and coordination for the Museum Computer Network conference.

News in brief

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