GLAMce at Museu Paulista: making things machine-readable
Continuing with our reports on GLAM initiatives in 2020, this month we will report about our initiative with the Museu Paulista (commonly known as Museu do Ipiranga), a main museum of the University of São Paulo.
As you may know, the "Museu Paulista" is a Brazilian history museum located near where Emperor Pedro I proclaimed the Brazilian independence on the banks of Ipiranga brook in the Southeast region of the city of São Paulo, then the "Caminho do Mar," or road to the seashore. It contains a huge collection of furniture, documents and historically relevant artwork, especially relating to the Brazilian Empire era.
So far, by April 2020, more than 23,000 files had been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, thanks to the partnership established between the UG Wiki Movement Brazil and the museum. They are the result of a partnership established back in 2017, which has since been reported in several media in Brazil, such as this report published in the NEXO journal or even this one, published a couple of months ago, in the "Revista Museu" (Museum Magazine).
However, all these thousands of media files will not be the focus of this report, even though we have beautiful cases to quote. We will leave that for some future report. Our focus here will be the special attention we are paying on structuring all of this information and much more besides it on Wikidata.
Museu Paulista GLAM on Wikidata
Over the years, Wikimedia movement has recognized the importance of having the "sum of human knowledge" also stored in a structured way, considering that machine-readable data must be structured data. Machine-readable data, or computer-readable data, is data in a format that can be processed by a computer.
Talking about our GLAM initiative with the Museu Paulista, structuring all the information allowed us to create a gigantic number of lists and connected information, presenting this to users of Wikimedia projects in several possible ways. Below, we have just a few examples of them.
Audible version of the Independence or Death
, the main artwork representing the proclamation of Brazilian independence.
One of the highlights of our activities as a "user group", which appears in this GLAM initiative is the attention to the issue of "accessibility". But before talk about it, let's take a look at what English Wikipedia tells us about the topic. There, accessibility refers to "the design of products, devices, services, or environments so as to be usable by people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design and practice of accessible development ensures both "direct access" and "indirect access" meaning compatibility with a person's assistive technology".
Thus, in dialogue with past activities of our education program, several audible versions were produced and properly indexed to each of the items of the museum's objects on Wikidata, all this with the help of Laramara, one of the main Brazilian organizations that target its efforts to help blind people and the ones with low vision.
See the example in the list below:
In addition to gigantic lists of paintings and objects in the museum's collection, which has more than 100,000 specific items, the structured data we produce in this GLAM initiative allows access to this information at different levels, such as collections. Given the museum's superlative numbers, even a list of collections can bring hundreds of different items. This is still a work in progress and the list is being increased even in recent times.
See the example in the list below:
As stated in our Diversity Plan, "Brazil is a diverse country in economic, social, racial and ethnic terms. Therefore, for the Wiki Movimento Brasil User Group, the definition of inclusion is quite broad and tries to embark on all the possibilities that this term requires. Such is the case with the inclusion of people from different economic levels, social classes, colors and ethnicity, as well as people with motor or intellectual disabilities, different ages, educational levels, gender identity or sexual orientation.
In this context, we must recognize that many of the works present in the Museu Paulista end up portraying the colonizers with prominence, especially the controversial figures of the Bandeirantes. By structuring the collection carefully and in detail, this allows us, for example, to produce a list of paintings that show marginalized groups in the country's history, such as indigenous people and black people. See the example in the list below:
The GLAM initiative with the Museu Paulista is certainly one of the biggest and main GLAM projects that we are conducting here in Brazil. Thus, we will certainly bring more reports about it in the future, talking about many other aspects of this huge GLAM. In the meantime, you can always keep up to date on this initiative through its official page on Wikipedia in Portuguese.
Hi! The audioversions of paintings are a very nice idea! I would like to do it with Wikimedia Czech Republic. Did Laramara provide you their volunteers, who made the audioversions?--Jakub Holzer (WMCZ) (talk) 12:00, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
- @Jakub Holzer (WMCZ): Hello. Audio versions were done by students at the School of Social Communications, under the supervision of two professors and the education team of Museu do Ipiranga. Laramara was involved in supporting the assessment of files that were produced. An early report was published on this work: GLAM/Newsletter/November 2017/Contents/Brazil report. Let us know if you need any support for bringing this to your community; we are happy to get involved. --Joalpe (talk) 01:36, 20 April 2020 (UTC)