User:Jason.nlw/12 Month Review

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The Wikipedian in Residence[edit]

Dr Dafydd Tudur receiving the National Library's GLAM of the year award, 2013

A Wikimedian (or Wikipedian) in Residence (WiR) is a Wikimedian who dedicates time to working in-house at an organization. The role is fundamentally about enabling the host organisation and its members to continue a productive relationship with the encyclopaedia and its community after the residency is finished. The aim is to promote understanding of Wikimedia projects amongst National Library of Wales staff, as well as GLAM organisations in Wales more generally, by organising workshops and events. WiRs also work with staff to digitize, compile, and organise resources that can be shared with the Wikimedia community.

Background to the project[edit]

The National Library first collaborated with Wikimedia UK in 2012/13 when a number of NLW photographs were shared via Commons in support of the MonmouthpediA project. The National Library was named GLAM of the year 2013. During 2014 the Library was approached by Robin Owain, the Wikimedia Wales Manager who proposed installing a jointly funded Wikipedian in Residence. Following negotiations and internal interviews a Wikipedian in Residence was appointed from the Library Staff on a 12 month contract. The Wikipedian took up the position on January 19th 2015 and was contracted until January 30th 2016.

Key aims of residency[edit]

Jason Evans helping a volunteer at a Wikidata Edit-a-thon at the National Library of Wales
  • Identify and release digital collections to Wikimedia Commons on an appropriate open licence (G.1.1-2)
  • Hold a minimum of 6 public events or workshops (G.1.2)
  • Work with the institution and its partners to promote and develop open access/knowledge (G.1.3 & G.3.2)
  • Affect changes to NLW culture, guidelines and policy to promote open knowledge and open access to NLW collections (G.3.3)[1]

Summary of Activities and outcomes[edit]

Below is an overview of key activities and outcomes which would likely not have happened without the direction of a Wikipedian in Residence.

Public events[edit]

This Chartism Edit-a-thon was a collaboration with the Cynefin tithe maps project, Gwent Archives and the National Library of Wales

The target of 6 Public events during the year was passed with a total of 9 public edit-a-thon events being held. Several events were held in collaboration with Swansea University and other collaborative partners included Peoples Collection Wales and Gwent Archives. From the outset it was important to produce outcomes which demonstrated the value of the collaboration to the institution. It was decided that public events such as Edit-a-thons should be held as part of wider events/projects whenever possible, as this would ensure maximum impact, and provide a public outreach element to projects such as Exhibitions, Project launches and new online resources.

  • 9 Public events
  • 100 attendees
  • 63 new Wikipedia accounts
  • 72 new articles
  • 233 improved articles[2]
  • 81541 Edits to Wikipedia Mainspace

Sharing digital content[edit]

'Boy destroying piano' The first photograph by Magnum photographer Philip Jones Griffiths to be released into the Public Domain
NLW has uploaded high quality copies of all of Hooke's Micrographia images to Commons for the first time
A Patagonia Edit-a-thon and Bring-a-long event was run with Peoples Collection Wales. Over 400 images were contributed by members of the public. All agreed to share on an open licence

Early in the residency the importance of producing outcomes which demonstrated the value of the collaboration to the institution was highlighted. It was hoped that this would be achieved by closely monitoring the use, and impact of NLW images shared on an open licence via Wikimedia Commons. During this 12 month period the National Library uploaded 7347 digital images to Wikimedia Commons. The collections are varied and include 3.5k Welsh landscape images, mid 19th century photographs, medieval manuscripts, newspapers and printed material such as images from Robert Hooke’s famous Micrographia. 140,000 images have been identified for future upload to Commons, highlighting the institutions commitment to working with Wikimedia in the long term.

  • 7347 images uploaded[3]
  • 947 distinct images used in Wikis[4]
  • 32,936,910 views of articles containing NLW images[5]

Working with volunteers[edit]

An unexpected success during this project has been the level of engagement with the institution’s volunteer team. The Library employs a volunteer coordinator to manage a team of local volunteers who undertake a number of different projects within the library. Such is the success of the initiative that there is currently a waiting list to join. Several Wikipedia based training sessions and projects have been organised for the volunteer team by the Wikipedian in Residence and a number of Volunteers have attended 1 or more public Edit-a-thon events.

  • 9 volunteers contributed to a project to create stub articles in English and Welsh for 60 historic Welsh newspapers[6]
  • 13 volunteers attended Wikidata training, and then used the mix-and-match tool to add Dictionary of Welsh Biography entries to Wikidata.
  • A new project has just been launched, aimed at creating stub Wikipedia articles for Dictionary of Welsh Biography entries.
  • A number of weekly drop-in sessions were held to encourage volunteers to keep editing between events/projects.


In order to promote the benefits of open access, and of engaging with Wikipedia projects, Twitter accounts were set up in English and Welsh so news about the project could be shared. Regular blog posts were also used to report on aspects of the project. The residency has also attracted significant media interest in Wales and the resident has been interviewed on a number of occasions for television, radio, magazines and news websites.

  • 859,500 Twitter impressions[7][8]
  • 13 Blog posts
  • 10 Radio interviews
  • 14 News articles
  • 2 Television appearances[2]

Embedding open access with the National Library of Wales and its partners[edit]

Even before the residency had begun, the National Library of Wales had adopted an open access policy for all out of copy right digital content. The policy also sets out the Library’s ambition to share its content openly on third party websites. The employment of a Wikipedian in Residence was seen as a means of developing the strategy set out in this policy. However, the Library lacks established workflows which would allow for the systematic release of newly digitised content into the public domain. During the last twelve months, steps have been taken towards embedding such systems but a major restructuring of Library staff and departments during the residency have slowed progress.

The Library’s biggest partner, in terms of digital content creation, is Peoples Collection Wales – a community platform for sharing and organising digital images relating to Wales. The National Library and other Welsh GLAM’s contribute to the archive as do members of the public. Currently the website only offers users non-commercial licences, but significant progress has been made in getting them to adopt the use of Creative Commons licences, giving users the option to licence images for commercial, or non-commercial use. This commitment to a change in culture was achieved by advocating the advantages of open access, collaborating on events, and pro-actively sharing NLW content with both Commons and Peoples Collection Wales.

At an individual level Library staff have been involved in Wiki training, edit-a-thons and have attended ‘Introduction to Wikipedia’ sessions. I have also worked closely with curators to select content for upload to Commons.

  • 44 members of Staff attended ‘Introduction to Wikipedia’ sessions
  • 9 members of staff attended an Editing workshop
  • The Digital Access team held a Pic-a-thon event[9]
  • Developed partnership with Peoples Collection Wales
  • Business case for further open access shift being developed
  • Commitment to embed open access sharing into digitisation workflow



A TV crew filming at the Authors of Wales Edit-a-thon for Wikipedia's 15th birthday

There are many positives to take from the first 12 months of the residency at the National Library of Wales. The Library has supported Wikimedia’s open access ethos from the outset, and had demonstrated its commitment to the project by supporting the resident whenever possible. Senior staff are regularly briefed on the progress of the project and have been impressed by the impact of content released to Commons, not only in terms of page view statistics but also the interest from the public and the media, which has arisen due to the exposure that open access sharing has brought.

The edit-a-thon model has proved to be highly versatile as a public outreach tool. This is because you can choose any subject and target almost any demographic. The events contribute in tackling important issues such as computer literacy, community engagement and also serve to promote the resources and expertise at the National Library of Wales. Many of the edit-a-thon events held were requested by institutions or groups who took part in a previous event, or heard about the event via social media.

Social media, particularly Twitter, has been of huge value in advocating open access and developments in the residency. Much of the media coverage the project has received has been as a direct result of tweet activity.

Challenges and recommendations[edit]

Lack of internal resources[edit]

Major restructuring and a lack of systems/ICT support has meant that it has sometimes been difficult to access the data needed to upload collections to Commons, even when permission has been granted. This problem is seen as a lack of resources, in a difficult financial climate rather than a lack of support for the Wikimedia residency.

Locating and engaging key wiki volunteers[edit]

Despite a decent turnout for most events it has been difficult locating experienced Wikipedia editors and motivating them to take part in activities organised by the Wikipedian in Residence. In response to this, it is hoped that the annual Wales Wiki meet-up can be held in Aberystwyth this year in order to try and get more experienced editors involved in NLW-Wiki projects.


The provision of more structured analytics from Wikimedia would make it much easier to promote the value of collaborating with Wikipedia. For example no statistics were available for QRPedia codes used in a major NLW exhibition, and no statistics are available for image ‘engagements’ on Wikipedia pages, only the number of actual page views. Currently, it is also not possible to access data for referrals from Wikipedia to NLW webpages, which is a fundamental data-set in terms of demonstrating the success of the residency. A single suite of centrally maintained tools (à la Google Analytics) would be of huge benefit to every GLAM working with, or thinking of working with Wikimedia.

Key learning points[edit]

  • Publicising and reporting on activities is as important as the activity itself.
  • Everyone is a potential volunteer, you just need to pique their interest
  • Providing comprehensive analytics & case studies is key to gaining institution support for open access.

Looking forward[edit]

The National Library of Wales residency has been extended by mutual consent until 30 August 2016. The resident will continue to host public events and upload digital content to Wikimedia Commons. In addition to the goals of the initial 12 month period the resident will engage with local schools and develop a model for taking Wikipedia into the education sector. The resident will also continue to investigate ways that the institution can collaborate with Wikimedia on projects other than Wikipedia, such as Wiki Sources and Wiki Data.


  1. ^ "Strategy monitoring plan". Wikimedia UK. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Wikipedian in Residence at the National Library of Wales - Project Page". Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  3. ^ "NLW content on Commons". Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  4. ^ "NLW image use statistics for Category:Images uploaded as part of NLW - WMUK collaboration". Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  5. ^ "baGLAMa 2 image view statistics for NLW". Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Welsh newspapers project page". Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  7. ^ "English language twitter account".
  8. ^ "Welsh language Twitter account".
  9. ^ "Welsh Landscapes Pic-a-thon for Digital Access team". Retrieved 19 January 2016.