Caesar and the provinces
Wikidata meets Archeology - an intercultural dialogue on the Roman limes
Ides of March. Caesar, the most famous originator of Roman expansion politics was stabbed like 2057 years ago in Rome. And still that line that he and his successors drew through Europe and Northern Africa is causing interest and discussion. Two groups met that sunny Saturday at the library of the German Foreign Office in Berlin: Archeologists and Wikipedians. No worry, nobody got harmed, still it became obvious the gap in between science and citizen science is rather sensible. But across the gap some links of collaboration were built. Within the cooperation of Wikimedia Deutschland and the German Archeological Institute a common interest was identified geo-referenced data, how to collect that data and how to make accessible i.e. understandable for a broader public. This gave the starting signal to a common work in progress. The idea was to create a map that would show through the long period of the Roman empire how its boundaries - the limes - developed. At the same time each archeological site of a fort or frontier tower known to us should be mapped and linked to its Wikipedia article if existing. The task group combined staff from Wikimedia -Render, Wikidata and the Wikipedians engaged in the Limes - project. Collecting data from the German Archeological Institute and existing information in the Wikipedia within 3 moths the limes - map was created. In Berlin it was presented and discussed at the same level as other scientific geo -data collecting - projects, such as Pleiades and Pelagios. The very advantage acknowledged at the spot that once Wikidata will be fully developed it will easily allow the import of further data and help to visualize the development of the Roman empire and giving an entry to more information and deeper knowledge by linking it to the Wikipedia articles. In contrary to other presented databases it combines free knowledge with its ready to use application that is free to edit. The next months will show, how the common efforts will come on a steady track. In a even wider context it as an example how efficient citizen science offers accessible application of scientific data and transforms cultural heritage data into readable information.
Talks on the future of scholarly communication in the context of libraries or natural history museums - and the role of Wikimedia projects therein - were given at the InetBib conference and at the Naturkundemuseum, both in Berlin.
For the first time about 20 GLAM-activists from Germany and Austria gathered in Kaufbeuren. They worked their way through a tight agenda of de.GLAMwiki 2013. Main focus was on exchange and networking but what we aimed for was a common strategy of communication. We all agreed that the German Wikipedia-GLAM-Portal needs a brush up. We plan to start a proper GLAM blog under the roof of the pretty well read German Wikimedia blog. Local GLAM initiatives will be backed up with more support from the office in Berlin by the project line: GLAM on tour. But the most crucial insight of these early spring days was: More Wikipedians on the spot are needed in order to satisfy the interest of GLAM institutions both in Austria and Germany that many do look for cooperation. Please share Your experience how to motivate Wikipedians to action in real life. Leave Your comment.
Last but not least in March the kick-off for the cooperation with the Museum of Natural History in Berlin took place. As a pilot to the planned cooperation with that famous GLAM institution a group of well prepared Wikipedians and the staff of the museum planning the exhibition "60 years of DNA" will combine their knowledge and media to a common effort. Read more details next month.
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