GLAM/Newsletter/May 2011/Contents/News in brief

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Inception of the UK GLAM Task Force; GLAM in Mexico; Ansel Adams arrives & more

By Rock drum, Thelmadatter, Missvain and Jean-Frédéric

UK GLAM task force


A "GLAM task force" has recently been formed in the UK, supported by the local chapter. It will work on rolling out the GLAM program across areas of the UK where there are currently no partnerships. They say that they will:

  • collaborate with cultural institutions as they open up to the digital age
  • freely and widely liberate the knowledge they hold
  • engage volunteers and professionals in making better use of Wikipedia and sister projects for improved public access to GLAM collections
  • link our volunteers and digital presence with willing cultural partners to mutual benefit

First partnership in Mexico

An Alebrije in the Third Parade and Exhibition of Monumental Alebrijes held in Mexico City.

Wikimedia México - a proposed chapter - has obtained its first GLAM partnership with the Museo de Arte Popular or MAP. This is Mexico’s first and largest museum dedicated to Mexican handcrafts and folk art. This museum was opened in an old 1920s fire station in the historic center of Mexico City in 2006. Although it has only been around for a few years, it is well known in the city due to its annual Monumental Alebrije Parade in October. This event features a line of floats with huge version of the wildly colored fantastic creatures known as alebrijes, which were invented by artisan Pedro Linares in the first half of the 20th century.

The museum features all kinds of crafts from pottery, glass, metals and fibers, some made into items for everyday use such as hats and dishes, but many are also made into decorative and artistic items as well. However, the museum is not satisfied with only showing the wide variety of items and their aesthetic value; it is also dedicated to the historical, cultural, social value of the works and even the environmental issues associated with the mass production of many of these items. It is a perfect first GLAM project as many know that Mexico produces handcrafts and folk art, but few really know what is behind the items they see for sale while visiting the country.

Right now, there is a general agreement for a partnership as well as a preliminary agreement for an image donation (details to be worked out). These donations will focus on Mexican artisans, their workshops and others that show what goes on "behind the scenes" not just the products themselves. This kind of help is invaluable as it can be next-to-impossible for the average Wikipedian to take these kinds of photos themselves.

New content donation

"McDonald Lake, Glacier National Park," Montana, by Adams, one of many images donated by NARA.

In the first week of his residency at NARA, Dominic McDevitt-Parks has completed the archives' first content donation. These were previously available in small versions in the National Archives' catalog, but their high-resolution versions had never before been made public. After seeing a request for images by Ansel Adams, he uploaded 220 images to Flickr, from which they were transferred to Commons by Ryan Kaldari (Kaldari). Katie Filbert (Aude) and Peter Weis (Peter Weis) created attribution templates and pages recognizing the donation. At the time of writing, none of the 220 black and white photographs were included in various articles.

GLAMWIKI continues to grow in Washington, D.C.


After an intense weekend at GLAMcamp NYC, Washington, D.C. played host to Liam Wyatt, marking his first visit to the District. On monday afternoon, Liam and Sarah Stierch, Wikipedian-in-Residence at the Archives of American Art, launched their visit by visiting at the grave of James Smithson before visiting the National Air & Space Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and American Art Museum.

Wyatt speaking to staff at CHNM

On Tuesday morning Wyatt, Stierch and Katie Filbert met with Dan Cohen and staff at the Ray Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, where Wyatt presented on his thesis "The Academic Lineage of Wikipedia," and discussion began on how Wikimedia could partner with the CHNM. Afterwards, the three made their way to the National Archives & Records Administration, where Wyatt presented at NARA about his residency at the British Museum, last year. David Ferriero, the head archivist, said during his introduction that everyone at NARA was "encouraged and inspired" when Liam wrote that he could "quite confidently say that the potential for collaboration between NARA and the Wikimedia projects are both myriad and hugely valuable – in both directions." A video of his presentation can be seen here. The afternoon's events were followed up with a meet-up featuring representatives from GLAMs and the DC Wikimedian community.

Wednesday, the final day of Wyatt's visit, began with a casual talk between Wyatt, Stierch, and staff at the Smithsonian Institution. Staff from six different GLAMs under the Smithsonian umbrella were represented. Wyatt and Stierch shared their experiences working within GLAMs and what they foresaw for the future between Wikimedia and the Smithsonian, with questions from staff forming the basis of the dialogue. The meeting was followed by lunch with staff.

Stierch described it as "A productive and hectic three days", in which "Budding relationships had been formed" between Wikimedia and CHNM, Library of Congress, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution Libraries and others.


Wikipedians in Residence at GLAMcamp NYC, l-r: Lori Byrd-Philips, Alex Hinojo, Sarah Stierch and Dominic McDevitt-Parks.
  • New residency: The latest Wikipedian-in-Residence to be announced is museum management student and Wikimedian Alex Hinojo (Kippelboy). He will be working at the Museu Picasso in Barcelona. The English Wikipedia article on Pablo Picasso receives over 800,000 views every month and exists in 124 other languages, too. Pepe Serra, the museum's director noted that "Museums have the moral obligation to participate in this collaborative project."
  • Wikimedian Lounge at Communicating the Museum 2011: Communicating the Museum, an international conference dedicated to arts professionals, will play host to a Wikimedian Lounge 6-8 July 2011 in Düsseldorf. One-on-one and group sessions between Wikimedians from Europe and representatives from GLAMs will be held all day, each day, to encourage partnerships and a better understanding of Wikimedia as a whole.
  • QRpedia continues to grow in popularity: After launching last month, QRpedia's usage is growing amongst museums. It was announced in early May that when the exhibition on Joan Miró comes to Fundació Joan Miró in October, multilingual codes will be placed in the exhibits, linking them to Wikipedia articles. Curators will send volunteers a selection of 15-20 special artworks to write articles on and a WikiProject will be created to serve as the hub for this work. This project will follow in the footsteps of the Wright Challenge at the Derby Museum, where the one of the Wright Challenge's top entrants is Catalonian GLAM ambassador and Wikipedian in Residence, Alex Hinojo (Kippelboy).
  • Wright Challenge hits 400 articles: The Wright Challenge, which hit 100 new or improved articles within 10 days, now has 400 articles in over 30 languages! The challenge launched on May 1 with the article The Alchemist Discovering Phosphorus and lasts until September 3: Joseph Wright's birthday.
  • Versailles article challenge: As part of his residency at the Palace of Versailles, Benoît Evellin (Trizek) is organizing an "article in 24 hours" challenge. He says that it was "inspired by last-year's Hoxne Challenge" which was held at the British Museum. The information page states that the challenge is "global and fairly simple". Participants will work on one article (to be specified at a later date) and improve it as much as possible in a 24 hour period of time.
  • Wiki loves Nationalmuseet: On May 14th, Wikipedians visited the National museum and took photos of pre-historic artifacts as part of a competition (link in Danish). A summary of the results of the day can be found here (link in Danish). Overall 23 articles were illustrated by the photographs and 4 new articles were created.
  • French chapter hire program director: Wikimédia France, the French Wikimedia chapter have recently announced the recruitment of a new partnership manager for projects with institutions. Outgoing chapter president, Adrienne Alix (User:Serein) - a former PhD student in the history of religion, a high-school teacher and editor-in-chief at an e-commerce website – is now Director of Programs. Her work will include managing partnerships and projects with institutions (governments and GLAMs), and will begin on July 4th 2011. She has previously managed partnerships with several French cultural institutions.

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