GLAM/Newsletter/July 2011/Contents/France report

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Catchup from Versailles

By Trizek

Since the beginning of Benoît Evellin's residency in March, the partnership with the Château de Versailles has gone from strength to strength. There are currently over 1800 pictures from the partnership on Commons (including 76 pictures labelled), all taken by Wikimedians during "Wikimedia takes..." events. Due to an exclusive licensing contract with the Réunion des musées nationaux, the Château is not able to share photos or pictures digitized by its services, although the partnership with Wikimedia is trying to change that. On the French Wikisource, 50 books are now available for a review. One book is available in English.


Photography during one of the "Wiki takes Versailles" events.

Concerning the life of this partnership, Evellin regularly meets Wikimedians. He has organized a meeting between a Wikipedian living in the Dominican Republic who is fascinated by Versailles (especially the Hameau de la Reine) and Annick Heitzmann, the archaeologist in charge of the domain, who studied the village. On June 18, the general assembly of Wikimedia France was held in the palace, with free or guided visits available afterwards. Twelve "Wikimedia takes the Château de Versailles" events have also been held.



During June there was also an opportunity to test a new form of participation in Wikipedia, with a "24 hours for an article" challenge. The first article chosen was about the Grand Trianon (see English and French versions) on the French Wikipedia. Around twenty contributors have worked on the article, tripling the content with the addition of sources and images. The curator responsible for Trianon provided the best resources available both online and in books. One week after he first announced the concept, Evellin put the sources and announced the subject of the challenge, online. After only a few hours (well, they had to have time to read the sources), the article was like a battlefield: moving, changing, with some pieces deleted and reshaped. Evellin has expressed his wish to host another "24 hours challenge" before he leaves the Château. It will probably be on an international subject, in order to include more people and more articles.

In a similar vein to last year's Hoxne challenge, July 6 saw seven Wikipedians and five staff members of the Château (including some from the research center) combine their efforts to push an article about the Château de Versailles as far as possible. Convener of the event and Wikipedian in Residence Evellin remarked:

This was not easy: the article was damaged by successive vandalism, small additions and weakness of relevant sources. We managed to make a plan and give a section of the article to every participant to improve. Maybe it would have been easier if we had started from scratch or with a stub...

He will leave the Château in mid-August, after Wikimania, so July's work mainly focussed on the autonomy of the project, with the formation of contacts, the development of stuff in order to encourage the public, staff from the Château or Wikimedians to participate. Various other events, including visits, conferences, working days and backstage pass tours, are planned for September - and beyond - to continue the partnership. The partnership will continue, although other Wikimedians - and Château staff may take the lead.

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