CILIP July 2011 report
Wikimedia UK stall at the Umbrella Conference
Report by Oliver Keyes
The Umbrella conference is the bi-annual convention of the Charted Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals (CILIPS), the professional body for librarians and those in related fields. I identified it as a possible source of contacts for expanding into the Libraries aspect of the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) field due to the high attendance of both librarians and managers within that field – the other exhibitors, which included digitalisation companies and book distributors, also made this a good opportunity to get in touch with bodies interested in potential partnerships.
Accordingly, on the 12th and 13th of July, myself, Tom Morris and Kim Bruning travelled to the Umbrella conference in Hatfield. A stall had been booked through WMUK, with a set of pamphlets – over 500 in total – delivered beforehand. After some minor travel snafus we arrived on time and set up shop.
The stall itself was very well attended; a lot of people came up actively interested in how Wikimedia could work with them, although they were largely not familiar with the Wikimedia or Wikimedia UK brands. Librarians were generally enthusiastic about the prospect of working with us, despite our traditional misgivings with how they would receive us – the library field seems to be orientating itself more and more towards adapting IT and crowdsourcing solutions into its day-to-day work, which puts us in a good position.
People of particular interest include the librarian for the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester, the official librarian for the City of Westminster and several small colleges and universities which would like us to do workshops actively training their librarians in how to efficiently teach the right (and wrong) ways to use Wikipedia and similar resources. A trustee from CILIP also stopped by thanking us for our attendance and wishing us well, acknowledging that Wikimedia's projects had an active role to play in libraries across the country.
Of value to the Foundation is a consultancy firm called TechDis, who are interested in working with us on including disability and ESL features – they actively use Wikipedia in teaching and writing already, and I have put them in touch with their WMF counterparts.
Some small problems were had with a lack of business cards or other professional accoutrements, and hauling the equipment to and from the venue; other issues were mainly the venue's fault, such as a problematic wifi connection.
- A need for some sort of Wikimedia UK business card that can be used in such events;
- The possibility of working with CILIP or other organisations to hold centralised, widely attended seminars on using Wikipedia and teaching others how to use it;
- That more events such as this be undertaken in the future, given the opportunities they open up.