The momentum of the GLAM movement
Wikipedian of the Year?
I don't think there was a Wikipedian of the year last year, but I was recently discussing who it might have been. My nomination would have been a person who tried to write his first wiki-article only recently. He is one of the many managers who look after our cultural heritage in one of Britain's oldest institutions. He ensures that the contents of the UK's oldest museum are safe and secure. As the web manager he is especially responsible that the organisation's rules on intellectual property rights are upheld. Managers in Britain's museums hope a generous pension awaits those who are "a safe pair of hands" until their retirement date.
Matthew Cock agreed to meet two representatives from Wikimedia UK and was propositioned by an ambitious Australian in the canteen queue. Normally outrageous ideas should be trialled elsewhere, but he championed the idea that the British Museum would take on a "Wikipedian in Residence". He was as surprised as the invitees to find that the idea was welcomed. Together they organised a Backstage Pass Tour and offered volunteers a chance to see the treasures that are usually hidden behind closed doors.
From little acorns
During the backstage tour Liam Wyatt requested that someone write an article about a stone Frieze. Within days of the tour there was the first of 50 DYK articles and numerous "Good Articles" in progress. Five £100 pound book vouchers were offered to the first new Featured article and only one of the winners was in English! Boxing day saw the fourth of Today's Featured Article about a British Museum artefact. One of these articles was viewed by 10,000 people and a DYK article saw 5,000 people per hour. The picture in the Boxing Day article was taken on one of these tours and it was seen by 3,800,000 people. Not many museums can say that about their annual viewing figures.
Rolling stones gather no moss
The first UK GLAM-WIKI conference was hosted in November last year by the British Museum with presentations and representation from a number of institutions including the Natural History Museum, National Maritime Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, London. Several organizations are open to collaboration and some have asked for specific help with how to take the next step in collaborating with Wikipedians.
To help with coordinating new requests and supporting volunteers who wish to get directly involved with their favourite Gallery, Library, Archive or Museum (GLAM), a mailing list to discuss relationships between Wikimedia and cultural institutions has been created to be used as a focal point. Current membership extends across the world and discussions have included "GLAM Ambassadors" and how to manage a main contact point for GLAM organizations. A top level advisory article on forming partnerships with cultural institutions is available at Wikipedia:GLAM.
This might have happened without a few people deciding to "do something". It certainly wouldn't have happened without the scores of people who have helped GLAM last year. Thank you to all those who decided to "do something" and maybe inspired others with the improvement you made to Wikipedia.