I have had the opportunity to work as a Wikipedian-in-Residence at the RIDC NeuroMat, in Brazil, and in this context I have contributed to organize and animate thematic edit-a-thons focusing on Neuroscience and Mathematics. So far, NeuroMat has held four of such edit-a-thons, and this newsletter piece is meant to provide a context to this sequence of outreach activities.
Founded in 2013 and located at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, the Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center for Neuromathematics (RIDC NeuroMat) has among its goals the integration of mathematical modeling and theoretical neuroscience and the diffusion of scientific knowledge through open educational resources, in this case, Wikimedia Foundation projects. Started in July 2014, its Wikipedia Initiative has been working in many areas, such as uploading images in Wikimedia Commons, adding spoken articles about mathematics, creating and improving pages related to neuroscience, mathematics, accessibility and mathematical education.
So far, NeuroMat held four edit-a-thons, with a mean of 15 registered editors each one. At least, 39 articles in neuroscience and mathematics are now considerably better due to this initiative. Taking into account only the third and the fourth edit-a-thons, more 38,000 words were added and 25 files were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. The articles edited have been viewed more than 256,000 times. Edit-a-thons are helpful not only because of their impact. During events of this kind, it is possible to teach basic edition skills to a great deal of users at the same time. Also, teachers and students are stimulated to collaborate in a more egalitarian way compared to the hierarchy in classroom. They are also very useful to suggest topics and make editors aware of underdeveloped themes.
On June 10 we held the first planning meeting of the Women of Culture project. Three attendees and two online attended the meeting. During the meeting we discussed strategies for articulating stakeholders and possible partners for the project and the first pilot plan was outlined, in order to distribute activities within the ‘working group’.
The second meeting happened in July 22 and was focused on presenting the Wikimedia projects, their basic editing rules and how to work with some of them in order to reach the objectives of the project, e.g., to improve content about women on Wikipedia PT and Wikidata. We also talked about the need to gather sources about women, meet and apply style of writing more appropriate to gender equality in women's articles, e.g. Over the next few months all volunteers should start their first editions on Wikipedia with some article from the Women of Culture list, prioritizing articles with spelling or grammar problems or those marked for deletion or as a sketch. The deadline for completing this first challenge is September/October 2017.
During the month of June we finalized a project developed together with the students of the technical course in Museology of the Etec Parque da Juventude. The project started in October 2016 and was extended throughout the first half of 2017. Based on research carried out by the group of students at four museums in the state of São Paulo (Paulo Setúbal Museum, Visconde de Mauá Historic and Pedagogical Museum, Dom Pedro I and Dona Leopoldina Historic and Pedagogical Museum and Prudente de Morais Museum), students have been able to improve and develop the available content on institutions on Wikipedia. On June 28th and 29th, the students presented their work to complete the course and highlighted the results of the project, with the process of researching, writing and structuring the articles on Wikipedia and inserting images of the collections and institutions in Wikimedia Commons.
At the end of June, we also had a meeting with the staff of the Pro Dean of Culture and Extension of the University of São Paulo (USP) to discuss possibilities of having Wikimedia activities during the Art and Culture Week of USP in September.
In the months of June, July and August, we also completed the translation of the publication How to work successfully with Wikipedia: a guide to galleries, archives, libraries and museums and articulate institutions interested in integrating the report of their experiences with GLAM projects to the new version of publication. The launch is scheduled for November 2017.
Presenting about West African context at Wikimania 2017
Highlighting constraints and opportunities regarding GLAM
During learning days, a short presentation was made regarding GLAM-related activities in West Africa. This 5-minute, talk labeled "GLAM in West African context: constraints and opportunities", underscore some of the challenges faced by the User Group of Cote d'Ivoire while approaching GLAM institutions: skepticism, low awareness of open licenses, etc. The talk also underscored some benefits of these collaborations in terms of content liberation articles creation, references collection, awareness among GLAM actors, etc. More photos can be found on commons.
Strengthening User Groups by partnering with GLAMs
On Friday, 11 August, a joint panel, labelled "Growing a User Group, a roadmap for survival", featured representatives from Brazil (Rodrigo Padula), Macedonia (Kiril Simeonovski) and Cote d'Ivoire (Samuel Guebo).
This 55-minute length session aimed at underlining good practices as well as common constraints faced when it comes to building new User Groups and others local affiliates. "Partnership" was the focus of the representative from Cote d'Ivoire.
Basing on the lessons learned from collaborating with GLAM actors in Cote d'Ivoire, he explained how partnering with GLAMS could have a tremendous impact on User Groups' capacities in terms of content creation but also logistics (spaces for activities, internet, snacks for events, etc).
Merli-Triin Eiskop, a curator of collections of TARTMUS, has said that she is glad for the supportive and active collaboration from the side of Wikimedia Eesti. She believes that this kind of format helps to spread the knowledge both inside Estonian and abroad about the art classics that the Estonian museums have in their collection. "Both museums made an independent selection of works and that has formed an interesting mosaic - a glimpse into a fascinating period in the Estonian art and history."
Duisburg is a city of 500,000 inhabitants. The central library has 300,000 media items and a collection of 3,500 books from the 14th to the 19th century.
On the 28th of October 2017 a library day will be held throughout Germany (see Tag der Bibliotheken). Almost all German libraries will have open days or even an information week with presentations and talks. The Wikipedians offered to organize an information booth about Wikimedia projects at the library day and a Wikimedia/Wikipedia consultation hour as well as a presentation on how to contribute to Wikimedia projects. The representatives of the library showed interest in Wikipedians taking part in their information week.
When volunteers visit a museum or a gallery for modern art licensing is a central hurdle to cope with. In July Atamari had arranged the volunteer & staff meet up named GLAM on Tour at the Skulpturenpark Waldfriede. The later is a private initiative of the famed sculptor Tony Cragg who bought the Villa Herberts and its park to exhibit both his own sculptures and those of befriended artists. The result is a charming landscape filled with art. But - all of it protected by copyright. Never the less GLAM on Tour is more than a fotosafari. Together with the staff of the museum we aim to edit articles on topics related to the museum referring to their expertise and reference literature. It turned out to work well. Among the dozen participants 24 new articles were published. The results will be presented in book form on the coming WikiCon in Leipzig. Learn more about the format GLAM on Tour in its learning pattern.
When museums like to contribute content to Wikimedia projects they often lack know-how and skills in order to act on an equal footing with volunteers. The hackathon Coding da Vinci motivates GLAM institutions to free their content. But in the last years not all of that content reached Wikimedia Commons. Thus 2017 we invited participating GLAM of Coding da Vinci to take part in a two-piece workshop. We call it Prepare Your Data. We want to empower GLAM staff and volunteers to use open license, to edit their metadata until it fits to the right template within Wikimedia Commons and then to use a tool for bulk upload to Wikimedia Commons. The first part took place in July. The second part in September will focus on the upload. We keep you posted.
Find out more on Coding da Vinci hackathon, a partner project of Wikimedia Deutschland, OKF; DDB and digis.
From August 1th, WikiDonne is hosting 1day1woman online edit-a-thon for write or improve articles about notable women in any field and any time. To celebrate Wikimania 2017 in Montreal, this edit-a-thon without end date focuses mostly on ethnic groups, Indigenous women, Canadian women and peace activists.
August 19th started Interwiki Women, a new collaboration between users from WikiDonne and users from Armenia and Argentina for the reciprocal writing of missing women biographies. Organizer: Camelia Boban.
10,000 pages with contents from BEIC
In August, we reached more than 10,000 pages of Wikimedia projects with contents from Biblioteca europea di informazione e cultura (BEIC). The BEIC wiki-GLAM project is running since 2014. Pages containing images from BEIC now are seen more than 11 million times a month on 200+ Wikimedia projects, on 180+ languages - that is 260 million potential image views from the beginning of the project! Many of the images are digitized frontispieces from ancient books, but a big part comes also from the 16,900 photographs of the Paolo Monti online collection, the largest release of a notable contemporary photographer's collection ever, and the biggest one-shot donation from Italy.
Following the traces of the "Mastika" spirit drink - with the WikiWine project in Strumica
On 24 August, we have started our first phase of the project WikiWine and other spirits, whereas we visited the biggest winery in Strumica region „Grozd Strumica“ in southeastern Macedonia. We had opportunity to make photos of different variety of wines, such as Muscat, Chardone, Vranec and the famous Macedonian spirit „Mastika“, that is special and most renown product of this winery which is famous nationwide in Macedonia and throughout the Balkans. On this visit we had 4 participants: Иван Ж, Македонец, Kiril Simeonovski and Тивериополник who is a longstanding and one of the most valuable contributors to the Macedonian language Wikipedia, from Strumica thus he had organized the entire visit of that day. The project will continue during the grape harvesting and autumn months with visit of several other wineries and distilleries in Macedonia.
Participants in the project during the visit of "Grozd" factory in Strumica
The first day, six participants created 10 articles about Macedonian voivode, which were missing on the Macedonian language Wikipedia.
The second day, nine participants created 10 articles about the mythology, plus 2 articles were edited with a new content.
As from the June, GLAM Macedonia user group sent Wikipedians in Residence in the State Archives of the Republic of Macedonia and in the City Library "Braka Miladinovci" in Skopje.
An artist and a collector, Milorad Stokin, donated to Wikimedia Commons 100 photos from his collection of history and art images. All of the photos are in public domain and they represent significant moments and notable people from Serbian history.
“It is very important for these images to be stored on Wikimedia Commons, and to be visible to all the people who find them interesting. It’s crucial for them to be a part of the biggest collection of knowledge - Wikipedia - especially the very rare and valuable images” - Mr. Tokin said.
Some of the images were not present on Serbian Wikipedia for a long time, such as the photo of Pasko Vucetic, famous Serbian sculptor and painter. A lot of images were already used by Serbian Wikipedians on Wikipedia and other Wiki projects.
Katarina Ivanović birth certificate
King Aleksandar Obrenović as a child
Princ Aleksandar and princess Persida Karađorđević
Princess Natalija Obrenovic
The wedding of Prince Pavle and Princess Olga
Đura Knežević, the assassin of King Milan
Russian wounded at military hospital
Serbian artillery during Serbian–Ottoman wars
Connected Open Heritage; Tekniska museet template migration; Stockholm Pride week
During the month of July, we organized the Connected Open Heritage Challenge. The idea was to make use of as many as possible of the images on cultural and world heritages uploaded as part of the Connected Open Heritage project. The rules were straight-forward: the more views an article had had the month prior to the challenge, the more points you got for adding an image to it. We expected the number of participants to be lower, though, than in the UNESCO Challenge, where 96 participants contributed to one of the largest competitions in Wiki-history, as the COH Challenge required use of an external tool and more steps, but we did not expect the stunning results of the dozen of users who took part: 547 images were added to articles that had been viewed altogether almost 14.5 million times in June. We are indeed as happy as our partner in UNESCO that the images have been used, but it is equally a success for Wikipedia: about 14.5 million viewers will monthly see qualitative and newly uploaded images on our common, cultural heritage.
Journeys Through Our Fragile Heritage, a photo exhibition organized as part of the Connected Open Heritage project, was displayed in two venues in August: at the Sheraton Hotel in Montreal during Wikimania, as well as at the Gothia Towers hotel in Gothenburg, Sweden. The exhibition, prepared jointly by Wikimedia and UNESCO, showcases freely licensed photographs of cultural heritage in danger, aiming to raise awareness of the challenges it faces in today's world.
Our progress in migrating the Wiki Loves Monuments data to Wikidata received a lot of interest at Wikimania, and not surprisingly so, considering that this year's edition of the world's largest photo competition was approaching fast. In order to take advantage of the fact that many community members with a keen interest in cultural heritage data were gathered in one place, we invited them to a mini edit-a-thon and matching workshop. It was an exciting opportunity to learn more about heritage data from countries as different as Iran, Chile and the Netherlands. Thanks to the help in mapping the data, we have recently finished migrating the Austrian dataset – over 37 thousand items – and are getting ready follow up with, among others, Germany, Belgium and Latin America.
During the Stockholm Pride week the National Museum of Fine Arts hosted an edit-a-thon in cooperation with The Royal Armoury, Swedish History Museum and The Unstraight Museum. The afternoon had both time for editing articles and some presentations that included questions about if a person with a trans background, from before the term existed, should be defined as given or self identified gender. Researcher Sam Holmqvist argued that the editing community (at least for Swedish language Wikipedia) might avoid the questions and moves on to other articles based on an attempt to edit the article about Andreas Bruce a few years back and a still unanswered question on the talk page.
Wikimania & Wikiconference North America, Beer, Hip Hop
As a part of Wikiconference North America, which was a pre-conference to Wikimania 2017 in Montreal, there was a Scan-a-thon at Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.  Wikimedians and new volunteers worked with staff at BAnQ to scan documents, upload high resolution TIFF files to Wikimedia Commons, and add metadata. Tours were also given by BAnQ to see their "New France" archives, which contain genealogical records not just for French Canadians, but for territories before the Louisiana Purchase was made in 1803.
DC Beer Week Edit-a-thon
Wikimedia DC had an editathon at Heurich House Museum, which is a private museum often called the Brewmaster's Castle. The event was one of the signature events of D.C. Beer Week, and saw more than a dozen participants, including scholars, historians and museum studies majors in the DC area.
With 200 attendees, WikidataCon the Wikidata Conference, on 28 & 29 October, is now fully booked. The WikidataCon programme is also published. If you registered on the waitlist or submitted a talk, check your mailbox for more information.
Liam Wyatt (GLAMwiki Community Manager, Europeana), and Sandra Fauconnier (WMF's community liaison) met with Europeana R&D staff to explore collaboration possibilities around the forthcoming Structured Data on Commons project. Europeana has worked closely with many Wikimedia affiliates and projects over the years, including development of the GLAMwiki Toolset mass upload tool, organising the Art History Challenge - the largest ever GLAM-Wiki competition (and also the largest to be hosted on Wikidata), and the recently concluded Europeana 1914-1918 challenge (winners to be announced shortly).
The second expansion to the GLAM-Wiki team at the Wikimedia Foundation after the addition of User:SandraF (WMF) as part of the Structured Commons project, came with the addition of Ben Vershbow (User:BVershbow_(WMF)) as Lead Programs Manager for the Community Programs team. Though Ben will support all of the GLAM, Education, and Wikipedia Library teams, Ben’s background over the past decade-plus is in large part in the cultural heritage sector, working at both the Institute for the Future of the Book, and more recently leading the New York Public Library Labs.
Ben brings a deep network within libraries, museums, and digital humanities, and will be helping the team to evaluate, prioritize and advance support of the larger cultural heritage community. It’s exciting to have additional minds working on the GLAM-Wiki program space!
With Ben and Sandra on board, we are beginning to evaluate the where we want to focus GLAM-Wiki support, in light of the movement strategy process.
Wikimania and Structured Data on Commons Offsite
Ben, Sandra and Alex all attended Wikimania, the preconference for Wikimania and an off-site for the Structured Data on Commons project. The conference offered a great opportunity to learn from, reflect on, and gauge the interest of for various needs within the GLAM-Wiki community.
Alongside our own presentations, we noticed a number of trends in the conversation:
Wikidata use for cultural heritage applications has an ever-increasing global community that will be really well situated to advance GLAM-Wiki into a closer working relationship with GLAMs and other heritage communities. One of the highlights in this, was the gathering of folks for the Cultural Heritage + Wikidata “Birds of a Feather” session.
Structured data on Commons saw a lot of support from both GLAM-related and other contributors within the Wikimedia community.
To find notes and slide decks related to GLAM-Wiki sessions, see the notes page on the Wikimania Wiki.
Following the conference, the Structured Data on Commons team gathered for an offsite that reflected on what we learned over the course of the conference, and worked on a shared plan going forward. We were very happy to share with the team working on the project its importance for institutional partners and how they work with the Wikimedia community. At the meeting, we also saw some of the early outcomes of the meta:Research:Supporting Commons contribution by GLAM institutions being led by User:Jmorgan (WMF).
Development of upcoming blog posts for the WMF blog on several different community-led projects.
Review of contextual materials for the Wikimedia Strategy Process
Short visits with Europeana and DPLA, to better understand how Structured Data on Commons, and Structured data more generally will impact their work. For a report on the Europeana visit, see the section in the Wikidata report.