If you are active in the international Wikimedia community, there is a good chance that you have participated in one of the movement’s annual campaigns: #1lib1ref, Wiki Loves Monuments, Art+Feminism, CEE Spring, Wikipedia Asian Month, Wiki Loves Africa and so many more short term or long term campaigns. These events inject energy, focus and new content onto Wikimedia projects and are often one of the first activities that helps a group of organizers to come together and form affiliates.
However, if you closely who runs most of the large campaigns in the movement, they frequently include very experienced organizers. These organizers have a very complex set of skills and experiences: understanding of our technical tools, a wide network of organizers in the Movement, understanding of general communications practices, deep insight into our onwiki communities and experience teaching new organizers. Folks with this complex of a wiki-resume are not a large group of people.
Yet at the same time new organizers and contributors to the Wikimedia movement often learn about the movement through campaigns, and more experienced organizers and contributors often “level up” their involvement becoming more deeply invested and learning new skills as they support campaigns. Quite simply campaigns strengthen the movement.
If the movement is serious about its 2030 direction – to become “the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge, and anyone who shares our vision will be able to join us” – then we need to design more intentional, directed approaches for inviting and supporting new contributors while collaborating better with partner institutions who share our Vision. In my mind, this means that more organizers in the movement need to be able to run content campaigns.
My colleague Satdeep Gill and I have been working the last few months to identify and document the major practices and tools used by campaign organizers in the movement, and with that documentation to draft a framework describing the activities involved in each campaign. With this framework, we hope to be able to write better documentation, better support and orient new campaign organizers, build tools more focused on key stages in campaigns, and, perhaps, one day, support a continuous calendar of campaigns that speak to the many motivations and kinds of content in the Wikimedia movement.
Yet, our framework is still a draft! As with many things in the Wikimedia movement, the expertise and experiences that people have developed running their own contests and campaigns are spread out throughout the movement. We need your help in refining what we have learned so far, to help us make the framework helpful!
This summer Wiki Education facilitated its first round of Wikidata training courses and an in-person workshop. As Wikidata gains traction in professional GLAM communities, Wiki Education hopes to support professionals who want to incorporate open data practices into their work. The results of these efforts have demonstrated not only support for participants' professional interests but also how their contributions can make Wikidata more representative and equitable for all. In creating these courses for the GLAM community and beyond, our staff at Wiki Education endeavored to design a dedicated, comprehensive, structured Wikidata course to train new editors how to edit Wikidata, regardless of linked data or Wikidata experience.
To create the curriculum, several community members were gracious enough to spend time with with us, helping us distill existing resources (tools, case studies, slides, and trainings), sharing best practices, and imparting pedagogical advice to help build a cohesive and digestible Wikidata curriculum for professional development courses. You can see the finished Wikidata training modules here, which are free and open to everyone.
38 newbies have participated in two paid online courses and one in-person workshop so far. During the workshop, which took place in New York City in July 2019, GLAM professionals (specifically librarians) expressed specific wants and needs they had about Wikidata that will help shape our future curricula. The first six-week long online courses flew by with participants making hundreds of edits. 13/14 of those online participants who took our end-of-course survey say they'll absolutely continue editing. We look forward to seeing how they will incorporate Wikidata into their professional lives. We currently have one course in progress and two starting later this month. To learn more, get involved, or stay updated, visit wikiedu.org/wikidata.