Friends' Newsletter/2019/Issue 01

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Welcome to the Spring Newsletter![edit | edit source]

Coventry University is hiring a Wikimedian in Residence

Welcome to the Spring newsletter! The weather is improving and we have lots of important new projects to tell you all about. We have one new part-time Wikimedian in Residence who has started working with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (read more here), and another in the process of being hired at Coventry University’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab. We have appointed three new board members, and have lots of plans in the works for the Celtic Knot conference in July (submissions are open if you want to run a session). We have also said goodbye to Delphine Dallison, who has finished her residency at the Scottish Libraries and Information Council. We wish her congratulations on becoming a new mum! We've also welcomed back Richard Nevell as a Project Coordinator.

Since the start of the year we've been developing new partnerships, attending events like the Science Museum's Web@30 event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the internet (thus the photo above of Sir Tim Berners-Lee), and organising many of our own events. We also have a new project with the Banner Repeater art archive which you can read about below.

We have lots of events filling up the calendar for summer, all across the UK. So please take a look at our events list and we hope to see you at one of them soon.

Events[edit | edit source]

The summer promises to be a busy time for Wikimedia events. We are carrying on a series of events aimed at improving community skills with the SkillShare at the London office on May 7 focusing on the AutoWikiBrowser editing tool, and the second regular Wikidata meetup in East London on May 2. Other events in May are:

And of course we have our annual Wikipedia languages conference, Celtic Knot, coming up on 4/5 July in Cornwall!

The EU's Copyright Directive passes without amendment to Article 13[edit | edit source]

Rally against EU Copyright Reform in Berlin.

Unfortunately, the biggest policy issue that could affect our community came to a disappointing conclusion, with copyright advocates successfully convincing EU member states to pass a potentially damagine new copyright law that requires websites above a certain size to implement automatic copyright filters. According to The Guardian, 'Kathy Berry, senior lawyer at Linklaters, says that “while article 13 may have noble aims, in its current form it functions as little more than a set of ideals, with very little guidance on exactly which service providers will be caught by it or what steps will be sufficient to comply.”' The legislation must now be implemented on a national level, and the campaign to reduce the potential damage caused by the legislation will now turn to the UK as the British government decides which platforms to impose it on. Although Wikipedia was given a specific exemption in the legislation, the community is concerned that content from Wikimedia projects could be blocked automatically by content filters when uploaded to other sites.

On a related note, Wikimedia UK signed Mozilla’s open letter to Facebook about their lack of transparency around political advertising on the platform. The company responded to the call by indicating that they will open up their Ad Archive API in late March.

New Wikimedian in Residence at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland[edit | edit source]

Scottish National Portrait Gallery - crest above Society of Antiquaries entrance

By Jeff Sanders, Project Manager for Dig It! based at The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.


1780: a time before the USA had gained its independence, before the first hot air balloon flights, and before Robert Burns had penned Auld Lang Syne. Also the year in which the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland was formed, with a mission to research and promote Scotland’s past.

Today we’re an independent charity with a global membership of over 2,700 members,  (known as Fellows) with offices in the National Museum of Scotland, which was formed from the Society collection in 1851. And we’ve been promoting the discovery of Scotland’s past for the last 239 years by publishing books, journals, and excavation reports, funding research, holding events and lectures and running projects like the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework and Dig It!. All but the latest journals (and many of the sold-out books) are available open access and most events are free to attend (and recorded and uploaded to YouTube).


In order to take open access at the Society to the next level, we’ve recently appointed a Wikimedian-in-Residence: Dr Doug Rocks-Macqueen. Funded by Wikimedia UK, he works one day a week and we match this with Society staff time to help develop and run events and initiatives.

Doug is seconded to us from Landward Research, and is both a Fellow of the Society and Wiki-experienced, which means that he’s been able to hit the ground running. Key to Doug’s role is reviewing what the Society does and figuring out how we can feed that into the work of the Wikimedia Foundation. Part of this mission means ensuring that the Society team and our (global) Fellowship are Wiki-ready. Our first toe-in-the-water moment for this was hosting an edit-a-thon here in the Society offices, focusing on previous members of the Society (who include Sir Walter Scott don’tcha know).


After the success of our first edit-a-thon, we’re spreading our wings and holding the next one at Edinburgh Central Library. The Women in Scottish Archaeology | Wikipedia Edit-a-thon aims to address the lack of knowledge about women’s contributions to Scottish archaeology. If you’re in Edinburgh on 9 May, come along and find out more about our plans (and chow down on a free lunch).

Media[edit | edit source]

Communications Coordinator John had a couple of articles published on major websites, such as a piece on Wikipedia's infiltration of academia in the TES, an article on our work to promote Wikipedia editing in the Kurdish language on Kurdistan24 English, and was interviewed by Times Higher Education on why Wikimedia UK believes that Wikipedia editing should be part of the national curriculum.

John's also been writing for the Wikimedia UK blog, with articles about the Open Access WikiJournals, a longer version of the TES article on Wikipedia and academia (which is open access while the TES is paywalled), and has been encouraging other community members to publish their articles - see pieces on Reviewing Draft Wikipedia Articles, Martin Poulter on the Wikidatafication of Commons, and Richard Nevell's blog on how Wikimedians responded to the fire at Notre Dame de Paris.

We also published the second in our series of short podcasts, Talking to Wikimedians, in which John accosts various Wikimedians and asks them searching questions about how being involved in the Wikimedia community has changed their lives - you can listen to it here on Soundcloud.

Ewan McAndrew and Sara Thomas had an article published by The Scotsman about the gender gap, co-written with Siobhan O'Connor and Alice White.

John has been making a number of videos over the past few months, some of them with the Headliner app, which is a very useful browser-based video editing application to make quick, shareable social media videos, a number of which you can see embedded on this page. If you want to make shareable video content about Wikimedia projects you're doing, this app can be very useful, especially as it accepts .webm format video, which most video on Commons is uploaded as. We also made a short video about the Science Museum's celebration of 30 years of the web, which you can see below.

Libraries and Wikidata: Put your library on the map[edit | edit source]

Wikidata UK public libraries.png

By Simon Cobb, Visiting Wikidata Scholar at the National Library of Wales

Librarians had an opportunity to learn how edit the Wikidata items about their libraries at a library data camp in Manchester Central Library on 11th March 2019. This was the second Voyage of the Data Trender event for people who are interested in using data to improve library services and it provided an introduction to Wikidata as a tool for sharing, querying and browsing data.

Jason Evans, Wikimedian at the National Library of Wales, was invited to talk about how the structure of linked open data ensures that data are consistent for different libraries and therefore can be retrieved using a SPARQL query. By specifying which properties are used to select the values, for example the coordinate location (P625) and operator (P137) values for each library, it is possible to visualise the data as a colour-coded map showing the library service providers (see image below or follow this Wikidata query link).   

The map of public libraries in the United Kingdom was completed recently with the addition to Wikidata of the Scottish libraries.  

There were already over 3,000 Wikidata items for UK public libraries and the event aimed to give attendees the confidence to edit, correct and improve this data. Public library provision continues to change rapidly as local authorities try to reduce spending. As a consequence, data about public libraries has to be maintained to keep it up-to-date when branches close or move to a new location, shared with other services. Encouraging librarians to maintain the Wikidata item for their libraries is an obvious solution and, hopefully, it will be the start of a lasting engagement with Wikidata.  

Scotland[edit | edit source]

Sara Thomas - Scotland Programme Coordinator

The annual Open Education Resources conference was held in Galway on the 10th & 11th April, with a number of members of the UK Wikimedia community in attendance, including Dr Sara Thomas and Dr Martin Poulter. Sara performed a storytelling session in the alt-formats section of the conference, with a piece called Once Upon An Open, drawing on work that’s been done in Scotland over the past year to add women’s biographies to Wikpedia, in this case, Marie Lamont and Lady Catherine Bruce of Clackmannan. A version of the story is available to listen again, through the FemEdTech OpenSpace site. You can also read Wikimedia UK trustee Lorna Campbell's OER reflections on her blog here.

Sara has also been working with the Dumfries Stonecarving Project to use Wikimedia Commons as a sustainable platform for publishing their photos of stonework in Dumfries. We made a little video about it - just click the embedded file on the right --->

Sara has also been busy in Aberdeen, connecting with the open data community and attending the Datafest fringe event, and took part in events at the University of Edinburgh and University of St Andrews for International Women's Day 2019. Sara held another ScotWiki partners meeting in February and started a ScotWiki mailing list.

Delphine Dallison has finished her residency at the Scottish Libraries and Information Council. You can see the project page for the residency here.

  • Delphine trained 162 librarians across 23 Scottish local authorities. The gender ratio of the participants was 75.31% female.
  • A total of 32 librarians from 9 local authorities participated in a Train the Trainer programme to become Wikipedia trainers who can give workshops.
  • A total of 10 editathons were held, with 7 more in development by other trainers.
  • 45 library users were trained to edit Wikipedia in the workshops held so far, and participants created 55 new Wikipedia pages during the sessions.
  • This was the first time a residency changed hands, with Sara Thomas becoming Scotland Manager in 2018 and handing over the SLIC residency to Delphine.
  • Delphine was the coordinator for the 1 Librarian, 1 Reference project in Scotland. 46 editors took part, creating 11 new articles and doing 590 total edits.
  • Delphine contributed to a two week project with 2nd year Product Design students at the Glasgow School of Art on the theme of designing with data.

Ewan McAndrew - University of Edinburgh Wikimedian in Residence.

At the University of Edinburgh, Ewan continues to deliver a wide range of activities including:

  • Created a Scottish Suffragettes timeline with Nav Evans
  • Gender and Equality Archives PhD intern, Francesca Vavotici, was trained and started creating new articles.
  • Recruiting a Data and Visualisation intern to work on improving data on Scottish witch trials.
  • Created templates for University of Edinburgh Centre for Research Collections and National Records of Scotland which link to IIIF versions and the original collections.
  • Organised events including the Edinburgh Gothic Robert Louis Stevenson event, Student Wellbeing Week editathon and Women in Red monthly workshop.
  • Submitted proposals for presentations to 2019 LILAC Conference and UCISA Leadership Conference 2019 Met with Leeds University Library staff to discuss how they could use Wikimedia projects.
  • Ewan was nominated for the LILAC Information Literacy Award.
  • Continued to work with Translation Studies, Global Health, and other courses and parts of the university.
  • Co-authored an article on Wikipedia Gender Gap work for the New Statesman.

Wales[edit | edit source]

Wicipobl infographic.png

Jason Evans, the National Wikimedian for Wales, Wales Manager Robin Owain and Aaron Morris, whose project WiciMón works with schools in Anglesey have all been working hard in Wales. Aaron published an excellent video on YouTube about his work which you can see here.

The Wicipobl (Wiki People) project, which was funded by the Welsh Government and managed by the National Library of Wales' National Wikimedia in partnership with Menter Iaith Món has finished. The aim of the project was to share NLW collections openly in order to help improve the quality of information about Welsh people on the Welsh langauge Wikipedia. The whole project was structured using Europeana's impact playbook in order to better monitor the impacts of this GLAM-Wiki collaboration. A full impact report will be published soon, but here are key outcomes of the project.

  • NLW shared nearly 5000 portraits to Commons on a CC-0 licence.
  • Metadata for each portrait was released as Wikidata with Welsh labels added for 100% of the data.
  • 25% of the artworks are already in use on Wikipedia in 55 langauges.
  • 4 edit-a-thons were held in schools, producing 50 new Welsh articles.
  • A History Hackathon was held in Cardiff to make use of NLW open data.
  • A report was produced by WiciMón on the benefits of Wikipedia based learning.
  • A WiciPobl Translate-a-thon was held at the National Library of Wales in March.
  • A total of 1444 articles were created, many were partly constructed using data released by NLW.
A sergeant with his wife, from NLW collections.

And the project seems to have had a positive effect on Welsh Wikipedia Statistics;

  • More edits made in January than in any other month in its history.
  • More active editors were recorded in January than any other month since 2013
  • The number of page views was at its highest level in 4 years.

Jason Evans, National Wikimedian for Wales.

Based at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, Jason has been working on the following initiatives:

  • 600 framed works nearly ready for upload to Commons and Wikidata.
  • 200 photographs of soldiers by D.C. Harries have been added to Commons.
  • Meeting with Aaron (WiciMón) to plan events in schools as part of WiciPobl project, to discuss how Wicipedia and education.
  • Planning a Welsh language Wikidata Hackathon.
  • 4 editathons in schools produced 50 new articles as part of WiciPobl project.
  • 8000 Wikidata edits - mainly adding Welsh language labels (WiciPobl).
  • Presentation at Technology and Language conference (Bangor University).
  • Agreed to CILIP webinar on open library data.
  • Radio interview for Radio Cymru about importance of Welsh Wicipedia.
  • Secured meeting with Welsh Government education department to discuss funding for a project to target improvement of content relevant to the school syllabus, and perhaps package this as a Wikipedia for children.
  • Meeting with Aaron - Wikimon to plan events in schools as part of WiciPobl project, to discuss how Wikidata could be used to teach coding and to discuss potential future projects with the Welsh Wicipedia and education.
  • Jason attended the Wikimedia Education conference in the Basque country, and wrote about it on the Wikimedia UK blog.

Jason has also secured a grant from the MY-D Foundation in Switzerland to work with Histropedia to develop a bespoke Wikidata powered timeline for the Dictionary of Welsh Biography website, which should be completed later this year.

WMEC2019 presentation by Robin Owain

Robin Owain, Wales Manager

Based in North Wales, Robin works with the Welsh User Group and supports activities across the nation.

  • Robin also attended the Wikimedia Education conference in the Basque country. You can see the category for images of the conference here and see his presentation on the right.
  • As part of Wici Natur, Robin discussed freeing their Liverworts with Llen Natur main officers. This could generate c.300 new articles.
  • Unfortunately, 4000 audio files from Sain Records were deleted from Commons after some were found to contain 3rd party copyright. Robin has requested that these be uploaded to cywiki and enwiki, rather than Commons.

Oxford University[edit | edit source]

An astrolabe image from the History of Science Museum; one of 165 such images shared on Commons by the museum.

Oxford Wikimedian in Residence Martin Poulter has been working on a short animated video to explain the benefit of Wikidata for the University of Oxford's GLAMs, which will be publicly available soon.

"Detailed depictions with IIIF, Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons" is a blog post drawing attention to Wikidata's ability to make statements about specific areas of artworks. It identifies works in the Bodleian Library that could benefit from these rich descriptions. Martin also blogged about 'What Wikidata offers Oxford's GLAM digital strategy'.

Astrolabe Explorer, the Wikidata-driven application, now lists 608 astrolabes in various collections, and the Oxford team is in talks with other museums to get data about their astrolabes. Collection Explorer, which gives different views of a set of (mainly Asian) art from the Ashmolean Museum, Pitt-Rivers Museum and Bodleian Library, is under continual development.

In April, Martin also attended the #OER19 conference in Ireland where he gave a presentation on using Wikidata to explore representation of people in data sets such as Project Gutenberg and Google Doodles.

On 28 February, Martin gave a "SPARQL as a Foreign Language" workshop to 13 library staff. The idea was to get people using the Wikidata Query Service without discussing namespaces, LOD, RDF or any technical jargon. It was fun! One participant made a map and sent it to her colleagues during the session, and got the response "WHAT IS THIS SORCERY?"

In March, 1,779 manuscripts and early printed books had items created in Wikidata. These cover nearly all the multi-page documents that have been fully digitised in the Bodleian's digital platform. To publicise this, Martin blogged about using Wikidata to create a custom view of these documents.

Celtic Knot 2019[edit | edit source]

Wikimedia Norway staff at the Celtic Knot 2018

The Celtic Knot conference returns for its third year to encourage dialogue around promoting engagement with smaller language Wikipedias. This year it is taking place at the Penryn campus which is shared by Falmouth and Exeter University in Penryn. The conference takes place on July 4/5, and we are encouraging people who are interested in participating to submit their ideas for sessions. The deadline for submissions is 23:59, 16 May 2019 (UTC+0).

We have welcomed back Richard Nevell as a full time staff member over the past couple of months, and Richard has been hard at work preparing for the Celtic Knot in partnership with Mark Trevethan of Cornwall Council.

As the project page on Meta states, "The Celtic Knot Wikimedia Language Conference aims to bring people together to share their experiences of working on sharing information in minority languages. We hope to help people learn how to encourage the flow of information across language barriers and support associated communities."

We hope to welcome Wikimedians working not just on the native Celtic languages in the UK and Ireland, but from those working on similar projects from other European countries.

Day 2 of this year's conference will feature an unconference which will allow people to pitch session ideas on the day. This will allow people to create sessions which build on the themes and issues raised during the traditional conference program.

You can see all current submissions here. You can find out more information about this year's suggested themes and guidelines for the types of submission on the Meta page.

And Finally...[edit | edit source]

We have come to the end of the 2018/2019 financial year, during which time we have met or exceeded all of our targets. You can see our impact report on the past year here. Particular highlights in terms of quantitative indicators include the following:

  • We involved 7392 participants directly in our activities, compared to 6252 last year
  • 1,133,157 Wikimedia articles were created or improved as a result of our work
  • There were 342 leading volunteers
  • Half of the chapter’s leading volunteers over the past two years have been women
  • Volunteers contributed 23,168 hours of their time
  • 92% of the community leaders who responded to our annual survey would recommend volunteering with Wikimedia UK