Recent Changes/2013/Issue 02

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Wikimedia UK Members Newsletter


World of Wikimedia[edit | edit source]

The Wikimedia mission is currently supported by 13 projects, the 'incubator' where new projects can be developed, and MediaWiki software which underpins all of these.

Since April editors of Wikipedia may have noticed some changes taking place to enhance the experience of using the encyclopedia and make editing it easier and quicker. In April the Wikimedia Foundation announced the rollout of Echo – a new notification system which notifies you of edits, messages and updates to pages you may be watching. A new app for uploading and categorising images on Wikimedia Commons was launched for IoS and Android platforms – a brilliant way to make donating content to this open source repository of media easy and quick and a must for this year's Wiki Loves Monuments participants (see 'On the Horizon' for more info!).

One of the biggest changes has been the incremental roll-out of the Foundation's VisualEditor software. This began in July, and one of VisualEditor's key goals is to empower users to edit and become valuable members of the community, even if they’re not wiki markup experts. The movement is committed to broadening participation in editing as a continuation of the principle that broad input and collaboration creates the best content. You can try the system yourself today and make that first edit – or if you a more experienced editor get involved in translation, templates or just give feedback.

Meanwhile movement entities from around the globe have been doing fantastic work and creating some amazing results, supported by donor funding. Volunteers met in Budapest to think about how we can make our work have the biggest impact on Wikimedia projects. Wikipedia Zero launched in Pakistan and India – bringing free access to Wikipedia through mobile phones to millions in these economically developing nations. Archaeologists in Italy prepared to work with Wikipedians to work alongside high schools in Lombardy to teach the students about Wikipedia and about archaeological heritage using the materials produced during the first phase of their ‘Archeowiki’ project.

To keep up to date with highlights from the Wikimedia movement around the work you can follow the Wikimedia Foundation blog here.

Supporter update[edit | edit source]

Members of the first Glasgow meetup in May 2013.

It’s been a hot summer in most parts of the UK and certainly the Wikimedia UK offices in London. Understandably, many London-based volunteers and guests were glad to have a chance to attend an event at Level 39 Canary Wharf in July, if not only for the air conditioning then for the opportunity to hear from Wikipedia’s co-founder, Jimmy Wales, about where the Wikimedia movement is in 2013.

Announcing the forthcoming Wikimania conference, which will be hosted by Wikimedia UK in partnership with the community team behind the event, Jimmy spoke about the move toward ‘big data’ as part of the open content movement. The launch of the Wikidata project in 2012 has opened up exciting possibilities for organisations to collaborate with the Wikimedia movement and reap the mutual rewards of open access. In August 2014, Wikimania will be held at the Barbican and has already attracted high profile speakers from the free culture and open knowledge movement such as Clay Shirky and Stephen Fry.

However, far from being a London-centric few months for the charity, the community of volunteers have been seeing the rapid expansion of meet-ups and events around the UK. Designed to be a chance for movement supporters to hang out and talk about everything from their latest edits to working with educational and cultural institutions, wikimeets have sprung up in Nottingham, Glasgow and Chester. All supporters are welcome and there is no need to book – just come along to a meet up near you if you fancy it.

Meanwhile, in June members of the charity descended on Lincoln for a day conference, AGM and then tour of the historic city centre and castle. Covering a range of topics from how to work with institutions to make archives accessible, to how we could persuade celebrities to record an introduction to their own Wikipedia articles, the sessions engaged members and supporters in debate. Don’t miss out next time – if you’re not a member and would like to show your support for the charity you can join online today.

Closer Look: GLAM Wiki 2013[edit | edit source]

Attendees networking at GLAM-Wiki 2013. Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net).

Here Wikimedia UK's Programme Manager Daria Cybulska looks back at Wikimedia UK's major cultural outreach conference held in April...

The dust has settled after the GLAM-WIKI 2013 Conference, which Wikimedia UK organised and ran jointly with the British Library, Europeana, Wikimedia Sweden and THATCamp, and we can now look back and reflect on the event.

GLAM-Wiki 2013 took place on 12-14 April 2013 at the British Library's Conference Centre. From the start of the planning phase its aim was to bring Wikimedians and GLAMs together to share their experiences, and to inspire any representatives of cultural institutions interested in a partnership with Wikimedia UK. With this in mind, the workgroup (consisting of many volunteers and supported by staff) created three strands to the event:

On the Friday, we looked at the work Wikimedia and other organisations have done in partnership with cultural institutions, presenting case studies and discussing the benefits to both parties. The day included two highly evaluated keynote speeches, which you can watch here: one by Michael Edson and one by Lizzy Jongma.

On the Saturday, we focused on the more practical and technical side, looking at ways to work together and running workshops to share best practice. Valuable ideas were generated throughout the day. Sunday was organised by THATCamp as a free unconference and hackathon, exploring the humanities and technology. We have seen some exciting creations and thoughts around free-licensing, open access and the interface between humanities and technology.

Wikipedians and GLAMs are both looking for ways of spreading their information in the widest possible way. It sounds like a perfect match, and indeed over the three days of the conference, with over 150 people attending, Wikimedia UK has facilitated an impressive ideas exchange. It was clear from the start that the conference centre at the British Library was buzzing with possible projects, case studies shared, new approaches. Such a creative atmosphere would not be possible without bringing so many dedicated people together in a physical space.

The feedback from the conference was generally positive, with attendees saying they were happy with the overall quality of GLAM-Wiki and the range of topics covered. There were many highlights, and people were especially impressed by Michael Edson’s talk on “Scope, Scale and Speed”. A recurring theme was that people felt GLAM-Wiki was a great opportunity to network and learn about what was going on in other institutions. Detailed feedback can be found here, and if you’re interested in the presentations but weren’t able to attend WMUK has uploaded videos of some of the talks to YouTube.

We will be following up on many of the ideas generated, picking up new cultural projects. I am very proud of being able to contribute to such a successful event, and looking forward to organising many more in the future.

This article was originally published on the Wikimedia UK blog - follow us to stay updated on events and other way by the charity.

Closer look: Medical Research Council - Women in Science Edithathon[edit | edit source]

The first of a series of partnership events saw new editors get together to create and expand Wikipedia coverage of Women in the field of scientific and medical research.

Wikimedia UK has been working with the Royal Society and the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) by holding the first of a series of edit-a-thons planned to celebrate the centenary of the Medical Research Council by improving content on pioneering figures in scientific and medical research.

The July event was arranged to celebrate the birthday of Rosalind Franklin, the scientist whose work laid the foundations for the discovery of the structure of DNA. Held in Mill Hill, London, it featured an opportunity to learn how to edit Wikipedia with a focus on articles about women in science. Attendees were given access to a variety of excellent sources from, amongst others, the MRC, The Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust, and were supported by trainers available to take them through editing Wikipedia, and librarians able to explain more about the collection. Following their on-wiki work, participants had the chance to take part in a panel discussion led by eminent female scientists including Professor Dame Athene Donald of Cambridge University, and a presentation on the life and work of Rosalind Franklin.

Wikimedia UK's programme manager Daria Cybulska explains why Wikimedia UK has worked to arrange this series of workshops;

"Earlier this year I spoke a the 'Women of the World' Festival at the London Southbank centre about women and Wikipedia. We asked why it is that best estimates suggest only 10 - 15% of the volunteers who write on Wikipedia are female. Many women say they are too busy, or are put off because editing looks complicated.

We need to do a better job of sharing what can be rewarding about editing - collaborating online, communicating with a global audience and perhaps bringing attention to under-represented subjects like the role of women in the field of scientific research. This is what we want these events to do - allow people to come along and find out what they can get out of, and give back to, by editing Wikipedia."

The next sessions are on the 11th October and 25th November; they are free to attend, but pre-booking is required. You can reserve your space here. For more information please contact Daria Cybulska, Wikimedia UK’s Programme Manager – daria.cybulska@wikimedia.org.uk or read more about the initiative here. You can also join in during the event via Twitter by using the hashtag #WISWIKI.

Hearing from you[edit | edit source]

We're very grateful for the support of donors for enabling us to deliver our misson

We hear some wonderful things from those of you who have not only been generous with donations, but have taken the trouble to write and tell us what it is about what we do that leads you to support us. Here's some of the feedback Wikimedia UK has received:

"Since my son introduced me to the delights of the internet, it's brightened up my life quite a lot! One of the things I really appreciate is being able to ask wiki lots of questions and you always know the answers! Hope you get lots of support!"

"I very much appreciate being able to communicate my ideas through Wikiversity to people having the same research interest."

"I think that Wikipedia is a most wonderful website. The information it contains is absolutely awesome...You may be surprised to learn that I have been involved with computers and the forerunners of the web since I was a youngster in my fifties - so I really appreciate what you and your fellow contributors are doing. Good luck!."

"I am a tutor at a College and your website is the best, uncorrupted by advertising and accurate. I always advise my students to go to your website. I admire what you are all trying to do..."

We like to share the multitude of reasons why people love Wikipedia and its sister projects - how you came across Wikipedia, what you use it for, whether you've ever donated a photograph to Wikimedia Commons; what you think the potential of these projects is and will be.

If you'd like to share your story of why you think what we do is important please email fundraising@wikimedia.org.uk and help us get the message out there.

On the Horizon[edit | edit source]

Help capture history on your doorstep[edit | edit source]

The Tablot Park war memorial is a Grade II* listed building in Port Talbot, Wales.

Throughout September 2013 and all around the UK, keen local historians and photographers will be taking part in the annual international photo competition Wiki Loves Monuments.

Wiki Loves Monuments (WLM) is a public photo competition around cultural heritage monuments, organised by Wikimedia chapters and groups. In 2010 it was organised in the Netherlands, and was followed by a Europe-wide 2011 edition. Wiki Loves Monuments 2012 went global and was organised in over 30 countries around the world, including Canada, Chile, India, Panama, Ghana, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa and the United States. Wiki Loves Monuments 2013 is set to be better yet, and particularly a great year for Wikimedia supporters in the UK as we participate for the first time.

Volunteers have been working to draw together lists covering Grade I and Grade II* listed building from across the UK, which can be matched to existing images and, where none exist, encourage participants to get out and take pictures of monuments nearby. Supporting this is the Wiki Takes Chester event. Following the phenomenal success of Wiki Takes Coventry last year, this photo scavenger hunt will kick off the month-long competition phase by encouraging local photographers and Wikipedians to document the city of Chester and donate the images to Wikimedia Commons. It is taking place on Saturday 7th September and is open to all - you can register interest here.

If you would like to get involved in Wiki Loves Monuments - either by taking photos or donating images you already have - then please email us and we will send you a guide to getting started. Similarly if you would like the opportunity to learn more about Wikimedia Commons and uploading and using images on Wikipedia you can fill out this quick form to express interest in attending an Image Upload workshop.

Wicipedia in Wales and Wiki-biccies in Scotland[edit | edit source]

WIkimedia UK is the Chapter for the whole of United Kingdom and is keen to extend the geographic reach of its work.

Wikimedia UK was delighted to recently announce both the appointment of Robin Owain as our very first Wales Manager and the beginning of Ally Crockford's Wikimedian in residence work in the National Library of Scotland.

Robin will be taking a lead on the Llwybrau Byw – Living Paths Project which aims to engage communities along the costal path with Wikimedia projects, as well leading our efforts to expand both Wicipedia Cymraeg and the English language Wikipedia in Wales generally. Ally is already looking at moving forward a series of initiatives including public outreach projects in the form of ‘The Wikimedian is IN’ drop-in info sessions for staff and Library readers and monthly 'Wiki-and-Biccy' meetups designed to provide a clearly defined time and space for newly trained contributors to connect, practice, and work on their contributions.

Robin said: “Getting in there – into the thick of it – to show ordinary people what they can do gives me a buzz: everyone can be a writer, a publisher, a teacher and give something good back, through Wikipedia, to society. Being part of Wikimedia UK and Wici Cymru (two wonderful groups of people!) is the granite foundation on which I walk the living paths.”

Ally commented: "In August I will begin training different teams within the Library, turning ideas into exciting reality, and meeting concerns and questions with – hopefully – strong solutions. I encourage anyone, from anywhere, with any level of interest or experience, to get in touch with me if they have thoughts or ideas or questions themselves."

Jon Davies, Chief Executive of Wikimedia UK, said: “These appointments are a vital part of our outreach strategy. Wicipedia Cymraeg is the world’s most popular Welsh language website and we are proud to support the Welsh language, and it is fantastic to be sharing knowledge and expertise with an institution such as the National Institution of Scotland. We think these posts represent what Wikimedia UK can really deliver on the ground as a part of the Wikimedia mission."

Wikimedians in Residence[edit | edit source]

Artwork for the launch of the HMS Superb, released on Wikimedia Commons as part of the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Wikimedian in Residence work

Wikimedia UK was excited to announce the appointments of its most recent Wikimedian in Residence positions in March, April, June and July at the Natural History Museum and Science Museum, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, Joint Information Systems Committee and National Library of Scotland respectively.

Wikimedians in Residence are 'Wikimedians who dedicate time to working in-house at an organisation' and have been supported by the Wikimedia movement in organisations and partnerships across the world for some years. Wikimedia UK has been particularly pleased to have supported several of these positions this year, already achieving some fantastic results by running public events to teach new editors, working with museum and collections staff to promote open access and freely licensed public content, and to work with editors to improve key articles on Wikipedia by drawing on public archival and collection resources.

It is expected there will be further such posts advertised before the end of this year in partnership with key cultural institutions, and there is continuing interest in supporting additional posts should an applying organisation or meet the criteria for supporting this type of work If you would like to be notified of such opportunities you can keep an eye on our blog or email fundraising@wikimedia.org.uk to request a notification email.