Wikimedia Australia has been in partnership with Australia's oldest public library, the State Library of New South Wales (SLNSW). Three GLAM events have recently taken place in this Sydney library where we have been using their extraordinary collection and excellent premises and also working with their skilled staff.
In November, three members of Wikimedia Australia (Whiteghost.ink, 99of9 and Wittylama) carried out training for two groups of professional librarians as part of an ongoing project. The current task for this major public library and hence, for these training days, was writing Wikipedia articles about current and historic New South Wales newspapers, such as this interesting journal which had a pre-existing article. (Full list)
enough competence in most of the group that they can continue to edit (many have already done additional edits);
enough confidence in most of the group that are willing to continue to edit (all the responses on the feedback page plan to continue and also want more advanced training);
an increase in female editors (most of the trainees were women);
a good relationship with the people at SLNSW who are working on innovation and digitisation;
a range of proposals for further collaboration and Wikimedia content improvement.
The combined training/edit-a-thon model seemed to produce good results both for the articles and the people working on them. With any training, criteria for success are that the trainees enjoy it and feel at the end that they can now do what they could not do before. So when we received feedback such as "great fun!" and "looking forward to making progress with edits and new articles", it was very gratifying. The key to this result was the advance planning that was done both by the SLNSW (particularly the planning from our contact person (User:Aliaretiree on behalf of the Library), and by Wm-Au (including tailoring the teaching and learning strategy for these groups).
In October, Wm-Au held an edit-a-thon at the SLNSW in conjunction with a broadcast of music by Australia's national public broadcaster, the ABC. Wikipedia has articles on this regular annual survey (see Classic 100 Countdowns) as well as each year's choices, (see, for example, this year's theme, the Classic Music of France). These summary articles are diligently updated by GFHandel but there are gaps in many articles about the music itself. The edit-a-thon aimed to reduce these gaps and build awareness of Wikimedia and WM-Au with the ABC.
As part of Wikiproject disability, Wm-Au held an edit-a-thon that centred on the history of the Paralympic movement. It used the resources and premises of the SLNSW to add historical context to articles about early Paralympic Games.
The Fremantle Society and WMAU started on the en.Wikipedia side of the Freopedia project during November, initially with Tuesday evening workshops in the Fremantle Library, followed by an edit-a-thon on 1st December. The Tuesday workshop was successful, the first night we re-engaged with some editors who have not been around for a while and we identified some limitations in the library's facilities. The second and third weeks both engaged new editors including staff from the library with whom I spent an hour answering questions and walking through various editing features before setting up for the workshops. The final Tuesday night was spent making preparation for Saturday. There were no new attendees that night, which in hindsight should have been a warning. On the Saturday there was only the core group who are driving the project. That was a disappointment, as many people had indicated that they would be attending.
However, it was not a complete disaster — we got permission to use the text from a research project that was put together to fund signage at many of the sites we had already identified. The State Records Office of Western Australia joined the event by providing written materials that were over 100 years old along with a donation of detailed sewer maps of Fremantle that include building outlines, lots, tram lines, rail lines, roads etc all under a CC-by-SA-2.5au license. These will be uploaded in the coming weeks once they are converted to a usable format. Along with these the Local History section provided digital copies of maps from 1833/34 which show the layout of Fremantle just five years after it was settled, and in 1892 just as the gold rushes were starting to have an impact on Western Australia. In combination, these three sets of maps provide an outline of the physical growth of Fremantle from settlement until it became the major port for Western Australia. The Fremantle Society donated its 1978 photographic survey of Fremantle, comprising about 4000 photos of Fremantle buildings, and Wikimedian Sam Wilson — a Fremantle Society member and a Freopedia co-ordinator — started digitising and uploading that collection.
Donation of sewer maps
Engagement with the State Records Office
Re-engagement of former editors
New WP editors
Availability of 1833/34 & 1892 maps
Improved facilities at Fremantle Library.
The number of lead up workshops drew people away from the main day
Check venues thoroughly; do not assume because it is x that it will have y
An important measure of success is not just in participant numbers but in also successfully engaging with GLAMs.
So far this project has been of no cost to the Wikimedia movement, nor has there been any substantial cost to The Fremantle Society. Thanks to the City of Fremantle and the city's Library staff who have provided their space and time free of charge. Thanks to current WP editors from Wikiproject: Western Australia who worked on Fremantle articles during November doing much of the unsung gnome work on categories, project tagging, copy editing and general formatting of articles. Thanks to Wikimedia Australia for its moral support of the project and help in promoting it.