Imagine a museum from which the visitors can bring any object home and do whatever they want with it. Dismantle the object, assemble it in their own way, change it and even sell it for money. That’s the museum project Work With Sounds!
Work With Sounds (WWS) is a cooperation between six museums in Europe. We are recording the endangered or disappearing sounds of industrial society – including sounds people try/tried to protect themselves from. From September 1, 2013 to September 31, 2015 we will record at least 600 sounds in their original settings. Every sound will also be documented: What and where is it? And how did we record it? Every sounding object is documented with text, picture and when needed a short video. All sounds are stored in our database and when we upload them we at the same time export them to Wikimedia Commons.
The videos are stored on our own channel on YouTube. Through analytics we can see what people find interesting and we have to admit that people are strange. Until now 5,200 persons have seen and listened to our most popular sound on YouTube. 1,481 minutes of dental drilling! And as number two, 1,275 minutes of tattoo machine sound. The trip hammer in the forge in Olofsfors that can create a sound from 1840 is not as famous as the Belgian dental drill, but really cool.
If you are interested in contributing with your own recorded material feel free to contact project leader Torsten Nilsson, Museum of Work, Norrköping, Sweden.
WWS will be creating a soundscape of industrial Europe!
The photo competition Då och nu (Then and now) has come to an end. The idea was to retake an older photo already available at Europeana. Strangely enough, the photo competition almost had as many media mentions as participating photos, 44 media mentions vs. 59 uploaded photos. The jury is still out but participating images can be seen on Commons.
The collaboration between the Council of the Central Museums and Wikimedia Sweden continues. During September Axel Pettersson gave a presentation to the directors of the central museums as a follow up to a presentation two years ago when the collaboration started. All of the attending directors admitted that they had not edited Wikipedia them selves, some of them even feeling guilty about it. But when they saw some examples of what their staff had done they were impressed and happy with both the contributions and finding out that they could see the number of pageviews on articles and use of images in different projects. Later on a workshop for beginners were hosted at Nordiska museet as new staff at the Central museums had asked for training and help to get started on editing. To the workshop a flyer was made that promotes wikiproject GLAM and gives shortcuts to tools and other good resources.
During October two more workshops are planned and on November 5th an edit-a-thon on the topic Swedish Empire will be hosted at the Vasa museum as a collaboration between several museums. At the edit-a-thon one of the tasks will be to improve the coverage of articles shown in the touch table used in the exhibition. Feel free to join from home, or come to the Vasa museum to participate, and improve articles by adding coordinates.
Batch upload meeting
The Royal Armoury, Skokloster Castle and the Hallwyl Museum invited staff at several museums in Sweden to participate in a meeting where they, together with Wikimedia Sverige, shared what they have learned during their batch upload of more than 20,000 images to Wikimedia Commons. The meeting went into details on what to think of before the upload, how to prepare your metadata and what to expect after the upload. It was also a chance for us to introduce our check-list (work in progress) for institutions wanting to make their material available on Wikimedia projects. With more than 30 participants from at least 15 institutions the meeting was definitely a success and we hope that this will result in many new batch uploads.
The Swedish National Heritage Board are updating their web strategy. In their review of external stakeholders Wikimedia Sverige was identified as one of them and external consultants made an interview with us on how we experience our relationship. This was a signal of our importance in the sector and also an excellent chance to give them credit for the good work they have done for the Wikimedia projects and also steer them to enable more collaboration in the future.
Four days at the largest book fair in Northern Europe
At the end of each September, Gothenburg stands host to the largest book fair in Northern Europe. Originally it was mainly a library fair, but it is now a combination, and the Swedish name, Bok- & Bibliotek, is reflecting that. Each year about 100.000 persons attend the four day event.
This year is the ninth year running that Swedish Wikipedia is represented at the Gothenburg Book Fair. And ever since Wikimedia Sverige was founded in 2007, we've considered it one of the major cultural events of the year. That's why we've had a small stand there several times before. We've talked to thousands of people about Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, free licenses, and related stuff. But the book fair is also a good place to take pictures of authors (domestic and international), comic book artists, publishers, politicians, journalists and so on. Finally, the book fair is a good meeting place. We've met with many of the organisations at the book fair that we've later collaborated with.
This year was a bit special in two regards:
First, we shared a stand with the union DIK (for academics working with culture and communication mainly). They had the stand the first two days, when the book fair is reserved for people in the book and library businesses, and we had the stand during the last two days, which are open to the public. This made a big difference for us, since our stand was much larger than it usually is. We had plenty of space to demonstrate Wikipedia and other things. People could enter our stand and ask us questions instead of walking past us.
Secondly, the reaction from the public has changed a lot during the nine years that I can look back on. Before we've had to spend some of the time explaining what Wikipedia is. This happened very few times this book fair. People know what Wikipedia is, even if they still have some questions about who runs it and where the money comes from. Meeting the public at the book fair is a good barometer on how they look at Wikipedia, and this year the barometer points to good weather. Our biggest surprise was that so many had already written on Wikipedia.
we can through just talking change people's insecurities about Wikipedia into curiosity or even enthusiasm. Showing the Recent Changes and the View History pages are usually enough to convince people that there is a system in place to deal with bad edits. There are some exceptions. The hardest ones to convince are the people who see themselves as consumers of information and cannot imagine being producers.
most authors and other celebrities attending are mostly very accommodating when it comes to posing ”for Wikipedia” (as we've seen before. That is why we had t-shirts with the text ”I take photographs for Wikipedia”. (Some celebrities even wanted to take selfies with a Wikipedian.) We have encouraged the Wikipedians present to use that fact to get closer in order to take better pictures.
many of the attendees passing by asked us for help about other things. So we got a map and posted it where we could show people where to find people. It served to remind people that Wikipedia is a great service.
most of the librarians attended during the first days of the book fair, and sharing a stand made us miss some of them. But we have become something of an institution at the book fair, and the librarians looking for us could easily find us in our blue or red Wikipedia t-shirts.
we decided early on not to ask for donations or focus on getting new members for Wikimedia Sverige. This would have diverted from the other activities, and indeed that was one of the things that made the stand look ”clean” and inviting.
We hope to be back for our tenth year, next year. That time the focus is on Hungary and Iceland.