The Archivio Meraviglioso project has come to an end: here are the results
With the Archivio Meraviglioso project, the Istituto dei Ciechi di Milano is putting nearly two centuries of its history online. Not only by digitizing documents, bulletins, photos of activities and pictures of benefactors, but also by making them interactively searchable and freely reusable.
The project is thus presented as an example of sharing accessible to all, thanks to a long co-design work between Fondazione Istituto dei Ciechi, cheFare and Wikimedia Italia, with the support of the Calib.ro design studio, the State Archives of Milan, the Icas 94 digitization laboratory and with the contribution of Fondazione Cariplo
The main objective was in fact to counter the marginality and exclusivity of the archive by making it usable by all. The transformation of the Institute's archival holdings will be carried out technologically, through the digitization of part of the archive, the implementation of data visualization that will be published online, and the development of workshops tailored to the content and audiences of the Istituto dei Ciechi.
It is a true professional digitization project, with high quality images published on the Internet Archive, but also a site that can be consulted and navigated by thematic paths. Between history, trivia, and graphic visualizations, it will be possible to follow the evolution of the institution and its approach to supporting people with visual impairments from 1840 to the present.
Thanks to the advice of Wikimedia Italia, all the digitized works have been published under an open license, available and reusable by all. Special work has been done on the institute's "Il buon cuore" bulletins, made available as historical sources on Wikisource and linked to Wikidata. In this way, all data produced by the project will be searchable and reusable by all, including for future studies and research.
On September 29th, there was a project presentation event in Milan; the results of this project journey with the collaborative platform were presented and a reflection on how the world of archives is changing and the importance of archives was offered.
In mid-September 2022 a survey was created as an additional element of evaluation for 2023 planning and was sent to about 330 active members of the Wikimedia and OpenStreetMap project communities. The survey had 5 questions, one general on Wikimedia Italia's activities, three on activities divided by strategic lever (project community support, free content, and cultural change), and the last one on the Materiality Assessment (is the process of identifying and assessing potential Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues that impact your business and stakeholders).
In particular, to the question "What would you like Wikimedia Italia's activities in 2023 to focus mainly on?" most of them chose the answers "Advocacy activities aimed at improving the Italian and European legislative framework on free knowledge issues" and "on projects with cultural institutions to increase free content that can be used by Wikimedia and OpenStreetMap projects."
On the other hand, to the question about free content "regarding activities related to increasing the availability and usability of free content, what do you think Wikimedia Italia should mainly focus on?" most respondents indicated "on large projects, for example, with large cultural institutions or public bodies that make a large amount of content and data available".
To the more general question "At the values level, what should be the most important thing for Wikimedia Italy?" three answers were the most chosen:
Increasing the availability and usability of free content
promote institutional and legislative changes
supporting the Wikimedia and OpenStreetMap projects
These results, complementing the work done in early 2022 that led to the definition of strategic themes (differentiating business objectives that connect a portfolio to the strategy), Wikimedia Italy is working on planning for 2023.