New connections at the Library of Congress and Smithsonian
Library of Congress edit-a-thon
Congressional Committees and Hearings Edit-a-Thon at the Library of Congress, April 7, 2017
On April 7, Wikimedia DC worked with the Library of Congress on the Congressional Committees and Hearings Wikipedia Edit-a-thon. Deputy Librarian of Congress Robert Newlen gave the opening address for Dr. Carla Hayden  to kick of the whole day event. A number of historians and scholars gave presentations to contextualize the study of Congress, and Sara Snyder from the Smithsonian gave a Wikipedia tutorial to the few dozen attendees and remote participants. After lunch, folks from the Library and from NGO's in DC helped edit articles related to Congressional committees. Using the Program and Events Dashboard to track activity showed  more than 7,000 words added across 58 articles.
Andrew Lih gave a closing address, giving a short overview of Wikidata and the possibilities for the Library of Congress when using linked open data in the future. A quick perusal of the Wikidata entires regarding U.S. Congressional committees and subcommittees shows they are very rudimentary and incomplete, which merits more in-depth modeling.
Wikimedia DC - New Library of Congress and Smithsonian connections
Left to right: Andrew Lih, Dr. David Skorton and Katherine Maher at the Smithsonian Castle, April 10, 2017
On April 10, WMF executive director Katherine Maher and Wikimedia DC's Andrew Lih met with the new administrations of the Library of Congress under Dr. Carla Hayden, and the Smithsonian Institution under Dr. David Skorton.
At the Library of Congress, Maher and Lih met with Hayden's chief of staff and heads of communication and preservation. There was interest in Wikisource, as the Library does not have their own citizen transcription effort, and also in engaging with the MediaWiki technology community. They were encouraged to investigate coming to Wikimania, Hackathons or the new iteration of the Wikimedia Developers Conference. The Library of Congress was also interested in how to work more with their oral history project and how it might fit into Wikimedia content.
Maher met also with David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States at the National Archives, who was also the keynote speaker at Wikimania 2012, making the rounds for all the "Big Three" institutions in Washington D.C.
Wikiconference North American in Montreal
Save the date to join Wikipedia and Wikimedia enthusiasts on August 9-10 for the annual continental conference, before Wikimania 2017, August 11-13.
Wikipedia + Libraries launches interview series, announces project timeline
Wikipedia + Libraries: Better Together is an OCLC project that is building bridges between public libraries and Wikipedia. April saw the kick-off of the Librarians Who Wikipedia series of interviews with library staff who engage with Wikipedia. In the first article, OCLC WIR Monika Sengul-Jones interviews Mary Phillips, of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, about how Wikipedia editing was an opportunity to strengthen GLAM-related institutional partnerships, access the article here. A complementary article, "Extending the Reach of Public Libraries," compiles examples of ways that patrons can engage with public library materials, resources, and community spaces at Wikipedia editing events. Also featured in April are highlights of the #1lib1ref campaign. Sengul-Jones is currently recruiting librarians who Wikipedia to be interviewees for the series. Two more articles will be published in May.
Wikipedia + Libraries also announced the project timeline, which will feature an online training program for up to 500 US public library staff to learn about Wikipedia. The training program will be hosted by WebJunction in the fall of 2017. Here are the important dates:
• July 19, 2017: WebJunction will host a preview webinar where you can learn more about the online training course that will be offered in the fall
• July 19, 2017: Registration will open for the course. Registration is free, but required for participation
• September 13, 2017: The first live online session of the course will be held. There will be 6 live sessions in total
• November 15, 2017: The final live online session of the course
The contours of the project were announced on the April WALRUS call. Several Wikimedians volunteered to be training program advisers. GLAM Wikipedians interested in sharing their editing and outreach expertise by helping to shepherd the cohort of public library staff through the training program this fall can reach out to Sengul-Jones to discuss opportunities.
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