Below is the Wikimedia UK report for the period 1 January to 31 May 2011. We will be making future reports available on a monthly basis from now on. If you want to keep up with the chapter's activities as they happen, please subscribe to our blog, join our mailing list, and/or follow us on Twitter. If you have any queries, please leave a comment on the talk page.
WikiConference UK and AGM
We held the first WikiConference UK, which included our 2011 Annual General Meeting, at the Watershed Media Centre in Bristol. The three main themes of the conference were Wikipedia and GLAM; Wikipedia content; and Wikipedia in Education (including two keynotes). Slides from the presentations are available online.
At the AGM our members elected the Board for the coming year. 8 members stood for the 7 available seats, and it was a very close-run election. The new Board consists of Roger Bamkin (Chair), Andrew Turvey (Treasurer), Michael Peel (Secretary), Chris Keating, Martin Poulter, Ashley Van Haeften and Steve Virgin. The new Board put out a blog post announcing their appointment and the first board meeting.
The AGM also included the formal business of the outgoing Board's report, approval of minutes from the 2009 and 2010 AGMs, and voting on resolutions. 5 resolutions were put to the members. The first was on extending board seats to 2 years, which failed to receive the required 75% support. The other four - on setting membership fees; appointing board members; approving the 2008-2010 annual accounts; and appointing auditors - were unanimously approved. Preliminary minutes for the AGM are online.
The event summary below excludes events and new relationships under current negotiation which includes 5 new institutions as well as continuing programmes with at least 4 current institutions.
British Library - As part of our 10th Anniversary activities and partially inspired by our successes with the British Museum collaboration, on 14-15 January 2011 we held a editathon at the British Library. At the event, Wikimedia UK volunteers alongside the employees of the British Library created Wikipedia content related to the British Library - 8 new articles were started and infrastructure on the English Wikipedia related to the new GLAM/BL project was developed. See Editathon, British Library/January 2011 and the event announcement for details.
- Backstage Pass - 9 April, the event established a model for high engagement with smaller museums and included the innovative use of QR codes to enable an multi-language interactive exhibition at almost no cost.
- Wright Challenge - April/May - Gaming has been a great success in order for the collaboration to deliver articles in 100 languages. Further press interest should probably be encouraged for this achievement, particularly considering relationship to multi-language use of QR codes. Victuallers leading.
UGC4GLAM Vienna - 16-17 May Victuallers was invited to join this conference and presented on the topics of BM, Derby, QRpedia and the Wright Challenge and gained an insight into the GLAM work and logistics for other Chapters.
GLAMcamp NYC - 20-22 May, the workshops arranged by Liam Wyatt were successful in pushing forward interchapter relationships and advanced a number of international GLAM related projects. This included revising the :outreach website, sharing and publicising the Wikimedian in Residence experience, proposing a GLAM metrics programme and proposing a European GLAMcamp to be hosted in Utrecht late this year. The entire event (with around 30 participants) was funded with $10,000 from the WMF. Travel cost concerns limited UK involvement to Fae and Rock drum.
In May a GLAM task force was established to help drive the expanding programme forward and establish the UK GLAM network of e-volunteers. The current GLAM task force members active are Fae (director and budget holder), Leutha, WereSpielChequers, Tom Morris, Johnbod and Andrew Davidson.
An Imperial College Wikipedia Society has been officially recognised by Imperial College, the first Wikipedia student organisation to be established in the UK. The society hopes to feed teaching assignments and outreach on campus and hopes to encourage the use of Wikipedia on campus and to seriously question its position in the academic community. It has already run two contribution team events: wikipedia:Wikipedia:CONTRIB/Imperial & wikipedia:Wikipedia:CONTRIB/Imperial2 - as well as the London Wikipedia Academy. It was covered by the BBC, Care2 and Sify News.
The ongoing survey into Expert barriers to Wikipedia caught the attention of the Guardian, who ran an article on Tuesday 29th March. Mike Peel sent the Guardian a variety of suitable contacts, and the paper chose Mike's own photo and interview to lead the article. The article mentioned a number of ways in which Wikimedia is reaching out to academia, including Wikipedians at Imperial College (see above). Wikipedia's detractors piled into the online comments, as did some veteran editors. The article caught the attention of the BBC World Service, who ran an interview with Rod Ward, who lectures at the University of West of England, Bristol. The interviewer seemed taken aback when Rod explained that Wikipedians are not paid for their contributions. The Guardian later ran an editorial column "In praise of academic Wikipedians".
Martin Poulter spoke at the Open Educational Resources 2011 conference at the University of Nottingham on "Wikimedia and Higher Education: Beat them or join them?" This urged the UK's Open Educational Resource community to learn from, and engage with, the Wikimedia projects.
Wikimedia UK ran a 'Wikipedia Workshop' at Cancer Research UK's London offices. Cancer Research UK's staff explored how their unique expertise can benefit Wikipedia, improving existing cancer-related pages and sharing new information about cancer and health. The 'Wikipedia Workshop' was split into two sessions. The first took place in early February and consisted of a two hour comprehensive introduction to Wikipedia, including what makes a good Wikipedia article and how to interact with other contributors. The second session, on Monday 28th March 2011, was an all-day 'hands-on' session where the Wikipedians guided attendees through their first edits to Wikipedia. Kate Arnold, director of patient information at Cancer Research UK, said: "Wikipedia is a key source of information for people looking for information about cancer. Either they go to the site directly or they Google a term and Wikipedia links appear high in the search rank. We believe it is vital for the information available on these pages to be accurate and easy to understand." The event received a mention on the BBC web site, as well as extremely favourable coverage in The Times. This included an editorial which praised CRUK's bold step in engaging with Wikipedia, and a double-page spread on the information available to cancer sufferers, mentioning Wikipedia as one of the resources that will save lives by helping people make informed decisions. The event was also covered by New Scientist, AccuraCast and DigitalJournal
As a result of the Cancer Research UK event, the UK's Medical Research Council requested a workshop at its London offices, which is set for July. The Institute of Physics, an educational and scholarly charity, is exploring shared activities with Wikimedia UK. As part of this, the IoP will host a workshop at its London headquarters in September.
Saturday 19th March saw a one-day event at the University of Bristol, jointly branded between Wikimedia UK and the University, and organised by Steve Virgin and Martin Poulter. Attending were representatives from potential partner organisations and the local Somali and Bengali-speaking communities, as well as some students from the city's two universities. After Martin's overview, Alex Stinson explained the Five Pillars, GLAM sector partnerships and the Ambassador programme. Rod Ward spoke about article quality and WikiProjects (see Rod's blog). William Avery demonstrated image uploading. Steve Woods gave a non-technical intro to MediaWiki (see Steve's blog). Roger Bamkin made a very persuasive case for QR codes, placing examples around the room. Jezhotwells was on hand to provide one-to-one help to new users. Martin spoke to BBC local radio in the morning to promote the event. Matt Jukes of the Medical Research Council blogged favourably: "I think if more people were aware of just how tough the Wikipedia peer-review system was then there would be a lot less nay-sayers. The focus not only on getting things factually correct and well cited but also on the quality of the copy (and even layout) was really impressive."
Wikipedia's 10th birthday
Wikimedia UK hosted two events in Bristol in honour of Wikipedia’s 10th Birthday. Wales spoke to an audience of 700 at the University of Bristol's Victoria Rooms, with 3000 more watching the live video stream, and about 25,000 on watching the recorded videos after the event. Local user Jezhotwells had made it his ambition to get the article about the event's venue to Good Article status beforehand, and managed it at 3am on the day of the talk. After an introduction from Guy Orpen, the University's Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, Wales gave a prepared speech and answered selected questions. His comments about Net Neutrality & HP Labs led to a large number of news stories about the event the following morning. The BBC Anchor Project recorded and edited the talk: a six minute video has been uploaded to Commons. Earlier in the day, Wales had spoken at the Bristol Cathedral School, from which a YouTube video is available. Throughout the day, Wales gave interviews to local, national and international media, including a lengthy interview with the New Statesman while en route from Bristol to London.
After the Bristol events, Jimmy threw a celebratory party in London, attended by many Wikimedia contributors and public figures. Jimmy was introduced by Richard Dawkins, who said that if he had been told about Wikipedia at its outset, he would have bet a large sum of money on it failing. Video of the party is available on the Reuters site. See summary of events. The Editathon at the British Library (see above) was also a 10th anniversary celebration event.
- We put out a blog post on Wikimedia Commons reaching the 10 million multimedia files milestone.
- A major media story at the end of April was regarding the disclosure of information subject to UK injunctions, which was covered by the Guardian and Daily Mail, and which Jimmy Wales criticised to the BBC (also covered by The Independent). Additionally, in May The Guardian covered a high court order regarding defamation on Wikipedia.
- Back in January, a big news story was about the gender imbalance on Wikipedia, which was covered in the UK by The Telegraph in two articles.
- Mike Peel attended the Chapters meeting 2011 in Berlin on behalf of WMUK. Documentation from the meeting is available online, and Manuel Schneider wrote a summary of the conference. WMUK provided sponsorship of €4,000 to hire the facilitators for the event.
- Minutes of board meetings are available for 4 January, 5 February, 1 March, 8 April, 16 April (pre-AGM), 16 April (post-AGM), 26 April (full board) and 20 May (Exec).
- Wikimeets happened in London on 9 January, 13 February, 13 March, 10 April and 8 May; in Cambridge on 27 February and 21 May; and in Manchester on 24 April.
- UK Community IRC meetings were held on 3 May and 17 May.
Upcoming activities in June
- 4 June - British Library English and Drama behind-the-scenes GCal
- 11-12 June - Board meeting, Birmingham
- 12 June - London meetup
- 22 June - National Railway Museum (provisional date, details under discussion)
- 24 June - GLAMcamp London GCal
For events in July and onwards, please see Events.