WMF Annual Plan, rollout of Article Feedback
The Wikimedia Foundation published the 2011–12 Annual Plan. Three of the seven stated goals for the year ahead relate to increasing editor numbers: overall, increasing active editors from 90,000 in March 2011 to 95,000 by June 2012. Over the same period, the Foundation seeks to increase the number of editors from the Global South from 15,700 to 19,000 and the number of female editors from 9,000 to 11,700. The plan includes a target to increase the number of page views from mobile devices from 726 million to two billion. Other planned improvements include increasing read uptime from 99.8% to 99.85%, creating a new development sandbox, and developing the visual editor for initial test deployment in December 2011. Full details are available on the Foundation wiki.
Interface of the Article Feedback Tool
In unrelated news, the Foundation blogged about the new Article Feedback tool, advising that it is now in the process of being rolled out to all articles on English Wikipedia. The tool was first set up in September and has been slowly rolled out, being added to a total of 100,000 articles in May before the latest expansion. Now 370,000 articles will be added every day until all articles have been covered. According to research findings published in the blog post, one of the benefits of the tool is its increase in the number of people editing. The tool appears to provide a useful measure of quality for the criteria "completeness" and "trustworthiness", despite concerns that the system might be gamed by partisan editors or just misused by people to express their love or contempt for the topic rather than the quality of the article itself. Marshall Kirkpatrick at the technology blog ReadWriteWeb sums up the case for the change: "Rating articles looks like an even easier way for people to give feedback - and once you've started contributing that much, why not go a step further and improve the article you just rated?"
Wikipedia's emergence as an educational tool
In the aftermath of the Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit held in Boston two weeks ago (see previous Signpost coverage), editor Adam Hyland (User:Protonk) wrote a retrospective on his experiences over the past year as an ambassador in the university outreach program. He highlighted the importance of the project in repairing the rift between the Wikimedia movement and the traditional educational establishment of libraries and universities, saying of the encyclopaedia's early days: "Wikipedia was a triple threat: a new technology, a potential competitor for traditional silos of information and a shorthand for what professors thought the web was doing to their new cohorts of students". Adam proposed that not only had Wikipedia become a complementary educational project to such institutions, but that with the outreach program had "engage[d] students with the production of knowledge itself ... [s]tudents who write these articles know that they face a critical audience and that quality matters." This was highlighted by one student's creation, the National Democratic Party of Egypt, a "homework assignment" which this year so far has drawn the attention of 100,000 pairs of eyes.
The week in GLAM: the stuffed pigeon of Derbyshire, gift packs for freedom, and a backstage pass to the secrets of the American arts
At the recent LocalGovCamp unconference in Birmingham, Wikipedia editor Andy Mabbett spoke about the GLAM-WIKI project, the relevance of Wikipedia for local government, his challenge to local councils to start articles about themselves, his interest in becoming a GLAM Ambassador or Wikipedian-in-residence (he's since been appointed Wikipedia Outreach Ambassador to ARKive) and a certain dead pigeon – The King of Rome, whose Wikipedia article he wrote as a result of a GLAMDerby backstage pass event in April. The King of Rome was a famous racing pigeon, the only one to survive a 1000 mile race; its skin is preserved in Derby Museum and the bird is also the subject of a folk song made famous by June Tabor. Tom Phillips, who attended the event, later wrote an impassioned account of the session in an Amazon book review. The Wright Challenge has two months to go, and it's hoped that the 800 articles about objects in Derby Museum can be far surpassed in that time.
The U.S. National Archives GLAM project has announced a featured content contest aimed at increasing the online profile of and educating the public about the Archives' core documents. Editors who succeed in getting to featured status any of the three articles relating to the Charters of Freedom: United States Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, or United States Bill of Rights (in any language), will be rewarded with a gift package.
In other GLAM news, the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Art will be holding a special backstage pass event for a select group of 10 Wikimedians on July 29. The initiative, which is being coordinated by Wikimedian-in-Residence Sarah Stierch, will offer a behind-the-scenes insight into the original documents and untold stories housed by the world’s largest and most widely used research center dedicated to the history of visual arts in America. In Baltimore, Maryland, the Walters Art Museum and Baltimore Heritage are sponsoring a gathering of the Wiki and GLAM minds from July 22–23. The weekend will launch with the Young Preservationists Happy Hour where Sarah Stierch is presenting about GLAMWIKI, and is followed by an afternoon of talks by Sarah and Aude followed by break out sessions with GLAM representatives and Wikimedians.
- Wikimedia in Higher Ed documentation: Various media from the Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit have been published online. They include videos of Sue Gardner's keynote, the student panel discussion and slides of the talks.
- Wikimedia UK seek chief executive: The British chapter of the Wikimedia movement have placed an advert for the organisation's first Chief Executive. The successful candidate should have "exceptional communication and relationship building abilities" and is expected to represent and promote the chapter to the wider world. The search was also declared on the wikimediauk mailing list; applications close on August 1.
- Israel anticipates Wikimania: The Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs issued a press release ahead of the annual Wikimania event, due to be held this year in Haifa from August 4-7. Describing the event as a coup for the city, the statement focused on the achievements of the Hebrew Wikipedia and Wikimedia Israel, as well as highlighting an initiative to donate to Cameroon and Benin computers preloaded with a static copy of the French Wikipedia for classrooms without Internet access.
- Plagiarists have to fear Wikipedians: An academic plagiarism case that was discovered in March by German Wikipedians while examining two medical dissertations as references for a Wikipedia article has now led the University of Münster to revoke a doctoral degree, as reported in the "Kurier" (the Signpost's sister publication on the German Wikipedia) and several local newspapers. In the university's press release, the dean of the medical faculty, professor Wilhelm Schmitz, expressed his gratitude for the Wikipedians' notice (to which he had replied personally within three hours), and observed that "in the Internet age, plagiarists now have to fear a new source of exposure". The case comes at a time where the doctoral titles of several high-profile German politicians including former defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg have been rescinded due to plagiarism documented via dedicated Wikia-hosted wikis (cf. previous Signpost coverage: "Citations needed in minister's thesis and elsewhere", "Jimmy Wales on wikis and plagiarism", see also VroniPlag Wiki).
- Wikimedia Research Index: Dario Taraborelli, a Senior Research Analyst for the Foundation, blogged about a new Wikimedia Research Index, designed to "centralize documentation on research of Wikimedia projects, but also to create a place for the community to discuss and learn about this research" (the index itself).