By Harrrij &
Europeana Sounds edit-a-thon
First time editors at the Europeana Sounds editathon
On January the 10th the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision organised the very first Europeana Sounds edit-a-thon. This event was organised in collaboration with Wikimedia Nederland and Xeno-canto, the online community for on collecting all existing bird sounds. The edit-a-thon aimed to allow participants to share ornithological knowledge and to upload bird sounds to relevant articles on Wikipedia.
Seven voluntary participants joined the five organisers to edit and expand bird related Wikipedia articles in both Dutch and English. The voluntary participants included a psychologist, a local politician, and a former archivist, all united by their same enthusiasm for birds. One participant is the author of several books about the sound of birds - some of which are accompanied by a CD, to help readers recognise the different bird song recordings.
Sander Pieterse from Naturalis presenting
A list of relevant and re-useable sources was provided during the edit-a-thon. The participants were invited to engage with the Sound and Vision’s wonderful audio and video collection, a huge sound collection provided by Xeno-canto, and vivid images from the National Library of the Netherlands. Thanks to these combined resources, the participants had access to more than 750 sounds, over 500 videos and 42 images in order to enrich relevant Wikipedia articles. This was in addition to using their knowledge to update and expand the written aspects of the articles. Throughout the day, participants were provided with a number of workshops in order to inspire them and to provide the proper tools for working on Wikipedia.
The day started with a short presentation by Maarten Brinkerink on Europeana Sounds and Sound and Vision’s role in the project. Maarten illustrated why events like this are held and emphasised the value of sharing knowledge and cultural heritage on platforms such as Wikipedia. This was followed by a presentation from Sander Pieterse, one of the board members of Xeno-canto and who also works for the Naturalis Biodiversity Center. He told the participants more about online resources for biology and natural history, and how to use them as sources on Wikipedia. Sander presented a variety of online platforms that can be used as resources for refining articles Wikipedia, and enriching written information about birds and bird sounds with correct species names and classifications.
To kick-start the actual editing process, Sebastiaan ter Burg, gave a small workshop about writing on Wikipedia. Sebastiaan also provided instructions on how to reuse audio recordings within an article on Wikipedia (for illustrative purposes). Reusing audio recordings in this way (as part of a Wikipedia article about a specific bird species for instance), these recordings themselves are contextualised in a meaningful (and hence valuable) way, thus achieving one of the fundamental aims of the Europeana Sounds edit-a-thons.
The day was not only fun and informative, but also very productive. The 12 participants made 133 edits to Wikipedia articles, uploaded 53 bird sounds were added to relevant articles and shared 20 additional sounds on Wikimedia Commons. Furthermore, there was an interesting discussion on using your own published material as a resource for updating Wikipedia.
Bird fanatics, and other people interested in birds, who use Wikipedia as a source for information can now listen to the sounds of the Common redpoll, Short-eared owl, Common crane, Eurasian skylark, Chilean flamingo and many other birds that are described in Dutch Wikipedia articles. Extra information and resources where added to several articles, like the Dutch article on the Brambling.
The participants were enthusiastic about the edit-a-thon and appreciated the fact that they learned how to use Wikipedia so they can continue writing about birds and other subjects. After the edit-a-thon, four of the seven participants remained active on Wikipedia.
Symposium & Erasmus Prize
Jimmy Wales gave a presentation
At 15 January 2015 a symposium with the title Wikipedia as a research tool was organised at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam. One of the speakers who gave a presentation was Jimmy Wales.
This day was a special day for the Wikipedia community, also because at 15 January 2001 Wikipedia was founded.
At the symposium the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation announced that the 2015 winner of the Erasmus Prize is the Wikipedia community.
Wikipedia receives the prize because it has promoted the dissemination of knowledge through a comprehensive and universally accessible encyclopaedia. To achieve that, the initiators of Wikipedia have designed a new and effective democratic platform. The prize specifically recognises Wikipedia as a community — a shared project that involves tens of thousands of volunteers around the world who help shape this initiative.
By distributing knowledge to places where it was previously unavailable, Wikipedia also plays an important role in countries where neutrality and open information are not taken for granted. With its worldwide reach and social impact, Wikipedia does justice to the idea of a single yet diverse world. It is a digital reference work available in various languages, undergoing permanent development. Through its open character, Wikipedia highlights how sources of knowledge are not neutral and must always be weighed. With its critical attention to text, sources and the expansion of knowledge, Wikipedia reflects the ideas of Erasmus, the world citizen after whom the prize is named.
— Press release Praemium Erasmianum Foundation
After the symposium and the announcement if the Erasmus Prize, the Dutch community had organised a meeting. Afterwards Jimmy Wales appeared in a live Dutch talk show.
Announcement of the Erasmus Prize
The public got the opportunity to ask questions
Honorary doctorate for Wikipedia
At 16 January 2015 Jimmy Wales received a honorary doctorate from Maastricht University during the Dies Natalis. A honorary doctorate can only be received by an individual, but symbolical the whole Wikipedia community is honoured by the doctorate.
In 2014 community members had organised several workshops for students at the Maastricht University.
Arrival at the Dies Natalis
Jimmy receives honorary doctorate
From the Dies Natalis to the drink afterwards
New years drink
One of the presentations in the colourful room
At 17 January 2015 Wikimedia Netherlands organised at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision a new years drink. After some talks, the participants got a tour through the iconic building.
One of the 6 guided tours through the building
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