On 26 August 2018, Wikimedia Malaysia, under the official name Wikimedia Community User Group Malaysia (WCUGM), participated for the very first time in a conference related to libraries – World Library and Information Congress 2018 (WLIC 2018) organized by the International Federation of Library Association and Institution (IFLA). The week-long conference (24-30 August 2018) and was held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in Malaysia. As the most significant global librarian conference in the world, representatives from national libraries around the world were at in the event.
Users Dody Ismoyo and MYMMMC from Wikimedia Malaysia presented a general session about the state of Wikimedia, while Andrew Lih visiting from Wikimedia DC ran a Wikidata workshop. For WCUGM, this was considered their Kuala Lumpur Meetup 4, the 4th ever Wikipedia gathering in Malaysia's largest city. Surprisingly, we met with many fellow Wikipedians from around the globe who also attended the event, namely from Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Finland, Italy, Singapore, Spain and the United States.
At the end of each presentation session, we had networking sessions with the librarians and had serious discussions on how to follow up. For some of them, especially the ones based in Malaysia (as representatives from universities and national libraries), we exchanged our details and we wished to have future Wikipedia meetups with them.
Wikipedia Update: What's Going On, and How Can You Get Involved?
User Dody Ismoyo opened up the presentation with the general overview of WCUGM from the story of its inception, organizing committees, meetups held in the country and also abroad and with other Wikimedia chapters or user groups, its engagement with various institutions, milestones which have been achieved by the user group, social media of the user group which have been set up, current challenges faced by the user group in further expanding and engaging with more institutions in the country, and future plan to where this user group will head to.
User MYMMMC continued by discussing libraries engagement with Wikimedia movement and showed various statistical values obtained with regards to library-related matters. It was then followed by various ways institutions have engaged with the community and examples of Wikipedia events held with libraries around the globe.
During the questions and answers session, most of the discussion revolved around the ways to better engage libraries and librarians with Wikimedia movement domestically, regionally and globally. The biggest concerns voiced were how to find a contact person in the Wikimedia Foundation or how to do/start some particular projects, as Wikimedia Foundation projects are so vast and they did not really have the idea on how/where to start.
As a late-breaking addition to the program, Andrew Lih (User:Fuzheado) offered to run a Wikidata workshop for IFLA-WLIC attendees during the early days of the conference. Despite it not being on the printed program and having last-minute publicity, we had 40-50 attendees for a lively and interactive workshop.
Lih started the presentation (Google Slides) with brief history of Wikidata, comparing its genesis with Wikimedia Commons. Various challenges were brought up in writing Wikipedia articles, namely on the standardization of information across different Wikimedia projects and different Wikimedia languages. Examples on library listings in the United States were used to show Wikidata Query and SPARQL.
During the questions and answers session, most of the discussion revolved around navigation of Wikidata, collaborations between libraries and Wikimedia movement using Wikidata, teaching of Wikipedia at universities.
The major or national libraries of Sweden, Finland, Singapore, United States, Malaysia and others were represented.
We would like to acknowledge the following person for reaching out to Alex Stinson.