|Museums Galleries Scotland Wikimedian in Residence 12 month Summary & Reflections report|
A Wikimedian in Residence is a Wikimedia editor based with an organisation or group of organisations, usually a GLAM (Gallery, Library, Archive or Museum) with the aim of increasing the quality and volume of content on the encyclopedia and associated Wikiprojects concerning the organisation(s) collection.
Wikimedia UK had been working with MGS for several years discussing a potential project, and finally in 2014 set the project up, after MGS had applied to Wikimedia UK to partner on this activity. The process was successful and Wikimedia UK was happy to partner with MGS to deliver a year long residency. The overarching idea for the project was to use the MGS network to reach many institutions and help them engage with open knowledge. It was felt that the project would be more successful it if started with a secondment in a particular institution, so that the resident could first engage with an organisation on the ground level, and apply that learning to other museums in the network. The result of this was the four month secondment to Glasgow Museums. The resident, Sara Thomas was embedded with the Kelvin Hall team at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum for 2.5 days per week during the period 26 January 2015 - 30 May 2015. The Summary & Reflections report for this element of the residency can be found here.
Following the secondment, the resident moved to work from the Edinburgh office of MGS, again for 2.5 days per week, making contact with those organisations who had shown interest in the residency during the secondment, and then using MGS' network to identify other organisations who would be interested in pursuing open knowledge work. Throughout the residency there was a great deal of advocacy work carried out, and attention paid to increasing the sphere of influence and connection.
An attempt to find funding for a 12 month, full-time extension was unsuccessful. The residency has however been extended until 2nd June, and will focus on work with the Recognised Collections of National Significance to Scotland.
Aims and objectives of residency
As a networked residency, working across the Scottish museums sector, this residency was quite different from most others. Primarily, there was a greater focus upon advocacy and attitudinal/culture change than content development. This is reflected in how the impact and success of the residency has been evaluated.
WMUK outcomes relevant to this Residency as set out in the WiR Agreement:
- G1: Develop Open Knowledge
- G2a: Develop, involve and engage WMUK volunteers
- G3: Reduce barriers to accessing open knowledge
- G5: Develop, support & engage with other Wikimedia & Open Knowledge communities
These outcomes are mapped to more specific outcomes in the below table.
|WMUK||Museums Galleries Scotland|
|G1: Develop Open Knowledge||G1.1 help Scottish museums increase the quality of the existing open knowledge surrounding their collections. |
G1.2 assist museums to make more open knowledge available through various channels and projects,
G1.3 work specifically with the Recognised Collections to make more open knowledge and images available through Wikipedia and their own websites licence free.
|G2a: Develop, involve & engage WMUK volunteers|
G2a.1 encourage and assist museum curators to become competent WMUK volunteers.
G2a.2 assist museum curators to help share their expert collections knowledge with other WMUK volunteers.
G2a.3 Work with other Scottish voluntary organisations to involve them where relevant in open data projects taking place in Scottish museums and galleries.
|G3: Reduce barriers to accessing open knowledge||G3.1 we will improve awareness of the benefits of open knowledge through education within the Scottish museum sector. |
G3.2 we will actively work with a range of partners including the Scottish Government to help inform, develop and deliver a strategic action plan for responsible use of open data in Scottish museums.
|G5: Develop, support and engage with other Wikimedia & Open Knowledge Communities||G5.1 participate and encourage membership to the Scottish DigitaI Transformation Network. |
G5.2 encourage partnership projects between Scottish museums to release their metadata licence free through API or other sources.
Positive influencing factors for success in the residency
- Access to established MGS network
- Line management & other colleagues at MGS supportive of aims of the residency
- Appetite for digital work within the sector
Negative influencing factors against success in the residency
- Lack of/need for digital skills in the sector
- Fear surrounding open licensing: loss of revenue and loss of control
- Most organisations not open-ready
A total of 12 editathons & 16 training sessions were held, and the resident spoke at 23 presentations/conferences, as well as making other informal contacts, reaching at least 79 cultural organisations, 20 universities & 5 other organisations, totalling 698 recorded contact points. These numbers do not include the four meetups of which the resident was part.
Training formed a huge part of the first 12 months, with 232 individuals trained, including 184 new users. 67 new articles were created, and 103 improved. 238 images were uploaded over 4 events.
The most significant delivery was in G3, Reduce barriers to accessing open knowledge, with a number of opportunities being taken to advocate for open knowledge in a museums and cultural context. Success in this area is indicated by the number of engagements and events which came about as follow-up events, following initial contact with the resident.
Developing links with other open knowledge communities has also been important, as well as the development of the Wiki Community in Scotland. It has been particularly gratifying to have been able to support the development of work being done at the University of Edinburgh, which has culminated in their hiring a resident of their own, starting January 2016.
Events & training
|Event Name||Date||Location||Attendees||New Users||Gender breakdown|
|Modern Scottish Women Editathon||23 January 2016||Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art||9||7||78% female|
|Mary Barbour Editathon||9 January 2016||Rookie Oven @ Fairfield, Glasgow||11||5||55% female|
|UWS & Paisley Museum Editathon||3 December 2015||University of the West of Scotland, Paisley Campus||8||8||63% female|
|Ada Lovelace Day Editathon||Tuesday 13 October||University of Edinburgh||16||5||93.57% female|
|Glasgow Museums Photography Backstage Pass||Friday 25 September||Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvin Hall, Riverside Museum||8||6||43 % female|
|Women on the Roll of Honour||Friday 18 September||Glasgow School of Art||10||9||80% female|
|Braemar Castle Editathon||Friday 11 September||Braemar||2||1||100% female|
|Women on the Platform Editathon||29 May 2015||Fountainbridge Library, Edinburgh||6||4||83% female|
|Scottish Fairground culture Editathon||7 May 2015||Riverside Museum||8||5||75% female|
|Dundee Art+Feminism 2015 edit-a-thon||6 March 2015||Hannah Maclure Centre, University of Abertay, 40 Bell Street, Dundee||12||8||85% female|
|Connect @ Edinburgh Napier University 'Writing Women Back into History' Editathon||4 March 2015||Napier University||20||16||100% female|
|Women, Science and Scottish History: University of Edinburgh Innovative Learning Week editathon series||16-20 Feb 2015 (Resident attended 16 & 17 Feb)||University of Edinburgh||46 for the week||See NLS report for detail||85-90% female|
16 Training events
|Event Name||Date||Location||Attendees||New Users||Gender breakdown|
|Digital Transformation Network - Introduction to Wikipedia||2 December 2015||Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow||9||6||66% female|
|NTS:Introduction to Wikipedia||23 November 2015||Citadel Leisure Centre, Ayr||8||8||75% female|
|Heritage Horizons Trainees day||11 November 2015||Museums Galleries Scotland||12||8||66.6% female|
|Universitas 21 conference training||29 October 2015||University of Edinburgh||18||14||38.8% female|
|Tayside Museums Forum: Wikipedia Training||20 October 2015||University of Dundee, Tower Building||8||7||87.5% female|
|Wiki in the classroom, training for students||Wednesday 30 September||University of Edinburgh||5||4||75% female|
|Introduction to Wikipedia||3 September 2015||Stirling Smith Museum and Art Gallery||4||4||50% female|
|Wiki training for staff||2 September 2015||University of Edinburgh||6||4||33% female|
|Introduction to Wikipedia editing - Glasgow Archaeological Society & JogScotland||Tuesday 4 August||Riverside Museum||2||2||100% female|
|Introduction to Wikipedia||30 July 2015 (rescheduled from 1 July)||Museums Galleries Scotland||5||5||100% female|
|Introduction to Wikipedia||9 July 2015||Museums Galleries Scotland||7||7||100% female|
|Wiki editing for curators||30 May||Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum||1||1||100% female|
|Wiki editing for curators||14 May||Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum||1||1||100% male|
|Wikipedia training for curators||5 May||Riverside Museum||7||7||not recorded|
|Wikipedia training for curators||23 April||Riverside Museum||3||3||not recorded|
|Glasgow Museums Wiki Working Group Curator Training||24 Feb 2015||Riverside Museum||9||9||not recorded|
23 presentations & conferences
|Event Name||Date||Location / Organiser||Attendees (approx)||Title||Slides|
|Presentation to Science & Collections Staff @ Science Club||17 December 2015||Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh||30||Working with Wiki||n/a|
|Presentation to the Digital Transformation Network||2 December 2015||Kelvingrove Museum / MGS Digital Transformation Network||5||Opening Scotland's Collections: Summary & Reflections|
|Argyll & Bute Museums & Heritage Forum AGM||Wednesday 14 October 2015||Museums Galleries Scotland, Argyll & Bute Museums & Heritage Forum||30||Presentation to the AGM about the Wikimedian in Residence project||n/a|
|Fife Museums Forum Meeting||23 September 2015||Kirkcaldy Galleries, Museums Galleries Scotland||15||Introduction to the Wikimedian in Residence||n/a|
|Tayside Museums Forum Meeting||16 September 2015||Montrose Air Station, Museums Galleries Scotland||15||Introduction to the Wikimedian in Residence||n/a|
|SÉMINAIRE INTERNATIONAL PCI ET NUMÉRIQUE : TRANSMISSION, PARTICIPATION, ENJEUX||8 & 9 September 2015||Vitré, France / Centre Français du Patrimonie Culturel Immatériel||50||From First Footing to Faeries: An inventory of Scotland's living culture||n/a|
|Maximising our potential: engaging audiences through open knowledge||Friday 4 September||Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum / Sara Thomas and Museums Galleries Scotland||13||n/a||n/a|
|Presentation to Museums Galleries Scotland staff||9 June 2015||Museums Galleries Scotland||20||Four Months at the Museums||as below|
|Presentation to the Museums Management team||8 June||Glasgow Life offices||10||Four months at the Museums||as below|
|#OpenDataGLA #5||2 June 2015||University of Glasgow||15||Four Months at the Museums|
|Be Good Be Social||28 May 2015||Institute of Fundraising Scotland, Be Good Be Social||45||Open Knowledge, Open Arms: why charities should embrace Wikipedia||no|
|Presentation to IT & Marketing staff||20 May||Glasgow Life offices||18||Introduction to Wikipedia|
|Co-presentation with Kelly Forbes at eCult Dialogue Day, part of EMYA 2015||13 May||Mitchell Library, European Museum of the Year Award||50||Fostering open knowledge in Scotland’s museums||No|
|Wiki Working Group #3||28 May||Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum||9|
|Presentation to the Insight Cafe||22 April||Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, John Ferry||20||Wikimedia and Glasgow Museums|
|Presentation at "Archiving Community Storytelling: Challenges & Opportunities" conference||13 March||University of the West of Scotland, Chair in Event & Digital Cultures Professor David McGillivray, & Jennifer Jones||35||Reducing barriers to accessing (& producing) open knowledge||No|
|Presentation to the Insight Cafe||22 April||Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum||10|
|Wiki Working Group #2||8 April||Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum||5|
|Friday briefing to St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art staff||3 April||St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art||8|
|Friday briefing to Scotland Street School Museum staff||20 March||Scotland Street School Museum||7|
|Presentation to Learning & Access Curators||19 March||Glasgow Museums Resource Centre||10|
|Friday briefing to Riverside Museum staff||6 March 2015||Riverside Museum||23|
|Presentation to the Curatorial Forum||3 Feb 2015||Kelvingrove Museum||17|
Meetups & social events
|Event Name||Date||Location||Attendees||Gender breakdown|
|Edinburgh Scot-Wiki meetup 9||Wednesday 30 September||Platform 5, Haymarket, Edinburgh||5||60% female|
|Glasgow Wikimeet #6||Thursday 18 June 2015||Drum & Monkey, St Vincent Street||3||33% female|
|Scotwiki Meetup #8||22 April 2015||Platform 5, Haymarket||7||43% female|
|Glasgow Wikimeet #5||1 Feb 2015||CCA Saramago Cafe, Glasgow||7||43% female|
GLAMs & associated organisations - direct contact, training, events, content upload
|Organisation||Type of contact||County|
|Braemar Castle||Training & content upload||Aberdeenshire|
|Burrell Collection||Contact during Glasgow Museums secondment||Glasgow|
|Culzean Castle||Training to staff representatives||South Ayrshire|
|Dundee Heritage Trust (RRS Discovery, Discovery Point, Verdant Works)||Training to staff representative||Dundee|
|Glasgow Museums Resource Centre||Presentation to curators||Glasgow|
|Glasgow School of Art||Editathon||Glasgow|
|Historic Environment Scotland||Training to staff representative||Edinburgh|
|HM Frigate Unicorn||Training to staff representatives||Dundee|
|Kelvin Hall||Embedded with staff; training; editathon; photography backstage pass||Glasgow|
|Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum||Training to staff; photography backstage pass||Glasgow|
|Museum of Abernethy||Training to staff representative||Perthshire and Kinross|
|National Galleries of Scotland||Training to staff representatives||Edinburgh|
|National Museums Scotland||Training to staff representatives||Edinburgh|
|National Trust for Scotland||Training to staff representatives||Edinburgh|
|Paisley Museum and Art Gallery||Editathon, content upload||Renfrewshire|
|Perth Museum and Art Gallery||Training to staff representatives||Perthshire and Kinross|
|Riverside Museum||Training to staff representatives, photography backstage pass, editathon||Glasgow|
|Robert Burns Birthplace Museum||Training to staff representatives||South Ayrshire|
|Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh||Presentation to science club||Edinburgh|
|Scotland Street School Museum||Presentation to staff members||Glasgow|
|Scottish Fisheries Museum||Training to staff representative||Fife|
|Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art||Editathon||Edinburgh|
|St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art||Presentation to staff members||Glasgow|
|Stirling Smith Museum and Art Gallery||Training to staff members||Stirling|
|The McManus||Training to staff representative||Dundee|
|University of Dundee Museum Services||Training to staff representatives||Dundee|
GLAMs reached but where level of contact is below training - e.g presentation, follow up discussions, but no further action taken.
|Orkney Museum||Not able to take work further due to lack of time left in resident's contract|
|Talbot Rice Gallery||Attended Working with Wiki|
|Campbeltown Museum||Emails exchanged, attended Argyll & Bute forum presentation|
|Fife Folk Museum||Emails exchanged following Fife forum presentation|
|West Kilbride Museum||Copyright advice given|
|Hunterian Museum||Contract is through conference presentations only|
|Surgeon's Hall||Emails exchanged & discussions held|
|Museum of the University of St Andrews||Discussions held - turned into training session for Museums Studies students|
|Glasgow Women's Library||resources borrowed for Mary Barbour event, another event in planning stages|
Universities - conferences & training
|Institution||Type of contact|
|Birmingham University||Universitas21 conference workshop|
|Lunds universitet||Training to staff representative|
|National University of Singapore||Universitas21 conference workshop|
|Nottingham university||Universitas21 conference workshop|
|St Andrews University||Training to Museum Studies students & postgraduate group|
|Universitas 21||Universitas21 conference workshop|
|Universiteit van Amsterdam||Universitas21 conference workshop|
|University College Dublin||Universitas21 conference workshop|
|University of Auckland||Universitas21 conference workshop|
|University of British Columbia||Universitas21 conference|
|University of Dundee (Through Museum Services)||Training to staff representatives|
|University of Edinburgh||Editathons, general contact & assistance|
|University of Glasgow||Universitas21 conference workshop, other conference|
|University of Malta||Universitas21 conference workshop|
|University of Maryland||Universitas21 conference workshop|
|University of Melbourne||Universitas21 conference workshop|
|University of the Arts London||Universitas21 conference workshop|
|University of the West of Scotland||Conference presentation, editathon|
|UNSW Australia||Universitas21 conference workshop|
The resident presented at meetings of the following museums forums:
- Tayside Museums Forum - 10 organisations: Aberfeldy Museum Group, Angus Council Museums, Dunkeld Community Archive, Glenesk Folk Museum, HM Frigate Unicorn, Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre, Museum of Abernethy, Perth and Kinross Council , SSE Corporate Archive - Pitlochry, University of Dundee Museum Services.
- Fife Museums Forum - 11 organisations: British Golf Museum, Carnegie Birthplace Museum, Crail Museum, Cupar Heritage Trust, Fife Contemporary Art and Craft, Fife Cultural Trust, Fife Folk Museum, Museum Collections Unit - University of St Andrews, Museum of Communication, Scottish Fisheries Museum, St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum.
- Argyll & Bute Museums & Heritage Forum - 21 organisations: Ardchattan Parish Archive, Argyll Archives, Campbeltown Museum, Castle House Museum - Dunoon, Clan MacAlister Charitable Trust, Dunollie, Helensburgh Heritage Trust, Historic Kilmun, Inveraray Archives, Killean & Kilchenzie Churchyard Preservation Association, Kilmartin Museum / Campbeltown Museum, LAHS, Lismore Heritage Centre, Lochgilphead Phoenix Project, Luing History Group, Mull Museum, Oban War & Peace Museum, Ross of Mull Heritage Centre, Slate Islands Heritage Trust, Strachur Smiddy, Oban War & Peace Museum.
- The DRB Scottish Women's History Group
- Glasgow Archaeological Society
- Jog Scotland
- Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Edinburgh
- Edinburgh Codebase
- 184 new users were trained. 67 new articles were created, 103 improved, & 238 images uploaded.
- The residency managed to reach a high number of museums, with a good geographical spread, as well as some good advocacy work through conferences & presentations. Although content creation was not a major aim for the project, we still managed to get an impressive number of articles in particular added to the encyclopedia.
- Setting up the Wiki Working Group at Glasgow Museums - GM are in a key stage of development with the impending opening of Kelvin Hall in 2016, where they will be partnering with other organisations, some of whom (National Library of Scotland) are far more experienced with open knowledge. Although the WWG is unlikely to last long-term, it was a key factor in advocating internally for the benefits of open knowledge in a museums context.
- Some of the most rewarding parts of the residency have come from working with small museums. Wiki projects offer a way for small museums to punch above their weight in a manner which is otherwise simply unavailable to them - images taken at Braemar Castle are now seen by more people per month on Wikipedia pages than visit the castle during opening months.
- There is a particular satisfaction in seeing the development of partnership work between cultural organisations and educational institutions. The UWS & Paisley Museum editathon is a good example of this, and it's a model which can be replicated and scaled.
- Biographies of women missing from Wikipedia, and attacking the gender gap, have been a particular focus of the project. I am delighted that so many new female editors have been introduced to Wikipedia, and that so many women's biographies have been added.
- Supporting the University of Edinburgh in their work over the past year, which has led to the appointment of a Wikimedian in Residence of their own.
- Perhaps the most significant achievement of the residency is difficult to quantify: I've been able to change attitudes toward open knowledge and open culture, and have been able to do that whilst working across an entire sector. With any luck, the impact of this will be a gift that keeps on giving...
With MGS projects
The resident provided Wiki training for individuals taking part in the Heritage Horizons traineeship programme, a scheme run by Museums Galleries Scotland to allow non-graduates to attain a qualification in Museums & Galleries Practice.
Incredibly engaging, really understood her audience. I’ve both taken the training and found it so enjoyable that I then asked Sara to give the training to those taking part in a traineeship programme. Her can-do attitude made it really easy to negotiate with different speakers and plan a day that suited everyone.— Ailsa Macfarlane - Heritage Horizons Traineeship – Programme Manager
The resident provided Wiki training for MGS staff, in order that they could better advocate for training with their own contacts. She was also involved in the work of the Digital Transformation Network.
Sara's contribution to my work has been tremendous in terms of my own learning and in my areas of work and responsibility. As a colleague, Sara contributed and supported me in my area of work. She gave a presentation on the work she has been doing with the museums at the Digital Transformation Network event that I organised jointly with the Scottish Network on Digital Cultural Resources Evaluation Conference in 2015 in Glasgow. Feedback from participants has been positive. Personally, the whole learning experience around Wikimedian has been wonderful. I attended the Wikimedian training session that Sara organised at MGS and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was interactive, creative and very inspiring. I learnt how to create my own Wikimedia site, writing and editing content, sourcing and adding images. I am not very quick with technology tools but Sara made it so easy and it was fun. It is great working with Sara. She is pleasant and knows her stuff!— Loretta Mordi - Collections and Engagement Manager
The resident presented to a number of museum forums: groups of museums who meet on a regular basis for peer support & learning.
Sara’s visits have inspired a number of museums forums to engage with Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects, both to embrace open knowledge as a means of promoting their collections, and among many voluntary-run organisations, to more generally give digital another chance. Sara has run approachable, fun, and informative workshops that have helped museums staff and volunteers to build their confidence and to develop skills that they are using to help visitors worldwide to explore Scotland’s amazing collections.— Devon McHugh - Relationships & Partnerships Development Manager
With open knowledge community
The resident engaged with the open knowledge community in Scotland through attendance (& presentation at) various events, including #OpenDataEDB, #OpenDataGLA, & #OEPSforum.
As an open educational advocate and practitioner with a strong interest in the cultural heritage sector I was very encouraged to learn that Museums Galleries Scotland intended to appoint a Wikimedian in Residence, particularly as one of my current areas of interest is exploring how we can support the innovative use of digital cultural heritage collections in open education.
Throughout the project I have been hugely impressed by Sara’s willingness to engage with colleagues from across the education sector and I believe that the project has had a significant impact on raising awareness of the benefits of using both Wikimedia and MGS collections within education. In my role as EDINA Digital Education Manager and OER Liaison at the University of Edinburgh I have personally benefitted from numerous meetings with Sara at both formal and informal events, including the hugely successful Ada Lovelace Day Editathon which she facilitated, the Open Educational Practices in Scotland Forum, and the Crowd-sourcing, Co-creation and Co-curation in the Cultural Sector Workshop.
Sara has been supportive of the international OER16 Conference, which I am co-chairing at the University of Edinburgh in April, and I am delighted that she will be presenting a paper on her reflections and experiences as MGS Wikimedian in Residence. The theme of OER16 is Open Culture and one strand of the conference focuses on innovative approaches to opening up cultural heritage collections for education, so Sara’s paper will be of considerable interest and relevance to our delegates. To conclude, I believe the MGS Wikimedian in Residence project has had a significant impact on the sector and has done much to bring open advocates together from both education and cultural heritage institutions.— Lorna M. Campbell, EDINA Digital Education Manager, University of Edinburgh.
With museum sector in Scotland
A questionnaire to assess the impact of contact with the resident was sent to 26 individuals, representing 14 organisations with whom the resident had had significant contact. 7 responses were received, including 3 Recognised Collections of National Significance to Scotland and 1 university.
Key findings include:
- That contact with the residency improved confidence and understanding around open knowledge.
- Contact provided inspiration to continue work in open knowledge.
- Barriers to continuing work centre around funding and resources, as well as organisational buy in. This correlates with the resident's reflections on the sector as a whole that making museums open-ready requires skills, infrastructure, and positive attitudes.
The findings of the questionnaire show that generally the project was received well, having a positive effect on the organisation, and increasing both confidence and understanding of open knowledge and its context, as well as the benefits for both the organisation and the wider sector.
Almost all organisations were keen to recommend the project, and would be interested in doing similar work in the future.
Encouragingly, the project has inspired one organisation to think about a Residency of their own, and assisted in the establishment of another, as well as influencing most organisations to continue with this work. Barriers to pursuing further work focus on time constraints, funding and income generation, and organisational buy in.
The full report is available on WikiCommons.
Feedback gathered by the resident at training sessions showed that they were well received and improved both understanding of Wikipedia and confidence to edit in the future. A small number of concerns were raised with regard to conflict of interest policies (where museums would like to edit their own institution's page), and occasionally of the training sessions not being long enough. This feedback was taken on board and later sessions amended to address these concerns.
Responses and recommendations
The last twelve months have proven to be a challenging and unique residency for Sara, in that she has not been based in a single museum or gallery like most other Wikimedians in Residence partnerships. Despite the broad remit of the project Sara has accomplished all the objectives with the exception of objectives that have included a dependency on an external partner.
Sara has achieved a significant amount in her time with Glasgow Museums and Museums Galleries Scotland. She has helped influence attitudes and policies towards open knowledge in the many different museums she has worked with and has provided advice to organisations seeking guidance on licensing. Licensing issues has been a frequent area of difficulty to the project as museums have needed a great deal of education about the Creative Commons licenses and intellectual property relating to digital reproductions of public domain art. Whilst Sara hasn’t had the ability to change an entire organisation’s attitude towards licensing she has often changed the attitude of her contact, creating an advocate for open knowledge who can continue to push for change.
The edit-a-thons and behind the scenes photography events have proven particularly successful in helping to add to and improve Scottish museum content on Wikipedia.— Kelly Forbes, Digital Engagement and Communications Manager
Reflections & Recommendations for WMUK
Unlike a single-organisation residency, many of the organisations with which I worked over the last 12 months were far from open-ready. Much of the work I've done has centred on advocacy and changing attitudes; however culture change is a long process. Where content creation is seen as a key KPI of this change, it is unsuitable for this kind of residency and I would urge that any plans for further residencies of this kind take this into account. It is my hope that the evaluation questionnaire designed by myself and MGS staff, with particular mention of the in-house statistician, will provide a model for future projects. It has been used in the evaluation of the last 12 months, and is also being used for the project extension.
Whilst most residencies are for short periods, I would suggest that any future residency of this kind be planned at the start to be much longer, two or three years would be ideal in order to push this kind of culture change forward.
As a non-Wikimedian before this project, the learning curve was steep and I would have benefited from additional technical training early in the residency. The current induction process would benefit from a more formal buddying or mentor system.
Reflections & Recommendations for MGS
There is clearly a huge appetite for the development of digital skills in the sector, and open knowledge offers a clear way for organisations to achieve outreach goals, especially in a contemporary context of reduced and threatened funding. Analysis of the work done over the past year and of the state of the sector clearly indicates that there are three key factors which influence an organisation's ability to embrace a culture of open: attitudes, infrastructure and skills. Of these, attitude is key. If attitudes can be changed to be open to open, the other two will follow.
We did experience throughout the course of the last 12 months repeated resistance to the idea of image donation in particular, which revealed a general lack of development in the sector in the realm of digital licensing policy. Since the introduction of the amendments to the PSI Directive in 2015 we are starting to see these attitudes change, but there is still a generalised concern over both loss of control and loss of revenue, even when items have passed into the public domain. Further work will need to be done in the sector for museums to embrace diversification of income generation - and to take advantage of income generation enabled by digital culture - if the fears surrounding loss of income are to be assuaged.
The support I have received from MGS has been outstanding, and I am greatly saddened that our application for external funding to continue the residency past 2 June 2016 was unsuccessful. I am delighted that we are able to continue the project for a few months, not least because it allows me to work with just some of the organisations who have shown interest as momentum around the residency has gathered. The plans we have for the project extension, however, represent only a very small portion of what could be achieved with further funding.
It is my hope that the work that I have done will have a long tail of impact, and that some of those whom I have trained will go on to be open ambassadors in their current and future roles.