Wikipedia:GLAM/National Digital Forum

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The National Digital Forum is an annual event held Te Papa for the New Zealand Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums community.

Getting started[edit]

  • All users are encouraged to explore the existing resources for GLAM sector participants at Wikipedia:GLAM/Bookshelf.
  • If you're keen to write an article on a particular holding, cutting and pasting {{subst:GLAM Article}} into your sandbox and hitting save will create a template to start from. There is also a template for a New Zealand female academic.

2014: Wikipedia and the GLAMS: a discussion and editing workshop[edit]

2015 Wikipedia Panel[edit]

At the 2015 National Digital Forum (13–14 October 2015), there is a wikipedia panel with User:Giantflightlessbirds, User:Auchmill, User:Elucidata and User:Stuartyeates. Three topics have been discussed as potentially interesting; the following are brief notes from the participants outlining their key points and pivotal examples:

Dowse project[edit]

User:Stuartyeates: This was a project where a GLAM institution obtained external funding to create biographical articles for artists. There are potential conflicts of interest here, due to external funding and the many relationships that an institution like the Dowse Art Museum builds with many community members in the core area of activities. These conflicts of interest were effectively managed by (a) using professional non-promotional tone in the articles (b) using a diverse range of sources in the articles and (c) making concrete edits and seeking feedback from the broader community on those edits.

User:Giantflightlessbirds: Sometimes it feels like we burden beginning Wikipedians with too many warnings. I was involved as a cheerleader and voluntary editor with the Dowse project, and heard what editors were concerned about at the start: rumours about the unwelcoming culture of Wikipedia, and the idea that they had conflict-of-interest problems merely by being part of the art community. One of the first things they were told was to pick anonymous user names, for online safety! It'll be instructive for those considering a similar Wikipedia project to hear what actually were the obstacles they had to face.

User:Auchmill: I'll happily present on how we set up the project, what we did, the potential conflicts of interest and how we dealt with them, and our experiences here as newbies.


The status of archives in wikipedia[edit]

User:Stuartyeates: Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, as such it is based on secondary sources and attempts to fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources. Archival holdings are almost never secondary sources and almost always reflect dated viewpoints. Some archives (including everything on the Memory of the World Register) are deserving of their own wikipedia articles, I have personally written much of the article on the Justice Erima Harvey Northcroft Tokyo War Crimes Trial Collection. In my mind the three main uses of archival holdings for wikipedia are (a) as second sources for quotes (the first source being a secondary source that quotes the primary source); (b) photographs and similar media; and (c) abandoned movements and obsolete scientific theories (think phrenology). Note that even historical secondary and tertiary sources can only be used with extreme care, I can't imagine using any secondary and tertiary source older than 1970 in New Zealand history, for example, since so much has been revisited since then.

User:Giantflightlessbirds: Let's look at the case of the expert on artist Hiram Powers, mentioned by Andrew Lih in his WikiConference USA 2015 keynote (at 56:00). The scholar was amazed to discover in the article's external links an archive of the correspondence of Hiram Powers added by the University of Vermont Library, correspondence the expert had never heard of. Lih points out "you have to look the COI (conflict of interest) policy but it is allowed — not endorsed all the time, but it is allowed — for libraries to put these links in, as long as they're relevant." So the question is: when DO we add archive links to Wikipedia? I don't agree that it's self-promotion or spamming. Museums and archives know what holdings they have, so are in the best position to share them. In fact it's their job.

User:Auchmill: Speaking from the POV of someone who mainly edits art-related articles, publications older than 1970 may well come in useful - either as you say, to provide the original source for something discussed in a secondary source, or because - in New Zealand's limited art publishing sector - because no newer publication has been forthcoming. Also, with institutions like Christchurch Art Gallery and Auckland Art Gallery putting their catalogues online, and my dear hope that Art New Zealand might be digitised one day, making useful exhibition history, publication history and review lists will be empowered by original sources pre-dating 1970.

User:Elucidata: Anna Blackman, Curator of Archives and Manuscripts here at the Hocken Collections has offered some thoughts. One of the original drivers for its Wikipedian project was the wish to ensure that all those interested in early European settlement and engagement with Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand, for example, were aware of a new online resource, the Marsden Online Archive. Marsden’s letters and journals, as well as the papers of other early NZ missionaries, are held in the Hocken Collections at the University of Otago Library. 599 of these letters and journals have been made available on the Marsden Online Archive to date. It was challenging to learn that this archive, made up of "primary sources", ought not to be directly referenced in Wikipedia articles. Anna notes: "there are differences between “archives” and “primary sources”. Historians and archivists and Wikipedians may have varying understandings of the terminology." She also observes: "In the past most primary sources were not published or readily available, today they may be much more readily available online. It can just be more convenient to point people to the primary source." Can a distinction be made in terms of age and/or quantity and quality of scholarship around the matters described and represented by original material? Is it possible to use original diaries/manuscripts/letters to illustrate historical episodes or ways of thinking? These are questions we are keen to explore and about which to learn of others' views. It is certainly an area other library/archives institutions would do well to traverse, prior to beginning Wikipedia editing.

User:Elucidata: This article by Michael Szajewski ("Using Wikipedia to Enhance the Visibility of Digitized Archival Assets") describes a relatively recent project to connect archival materials with relevant Wikipedia articles [1]

Excellent example. 57 links were inserted four years ago. 34 of them are still present. None of them currently work. Sounds like a great example of archives promoting themselves and the expense of wikipedia. I'll check in 48 hours that the links are still dead then add removing these links to my todo list. I'm also seriously considering reporting User:Mszajewski as a link spammer. I'll have to swat up on the rules around that, which have probably changed in the last decade. Stuartyeates (talk) 08:56, 11 October 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Differences between Wikipedia and Te Ara[edit]

User:Stuartyeates: In terms of capabilities, there are some things Te Ara could never do, such as playing the opinions of consecutive non-political office-holders against each other as Autopsy images of Ngatikaura Ngati does, or commenting on current diplomatic policy as the '"an insult to New Zealand jurisdiction"' quote in Trial of Xiao Zhen does; these are inherent limitations of being part of the government. Te Ara also has the freedom to suspend its status as an encyclopedia and publish articles based entirely on primary sources; the consensus is wikipedia cannot publish such articles. In terms of current quality, Wikipedia does much better at basic facts, Te Ara does much better at critical evaluation; for example, Wikipedia has biographies for almost every All Black who's ever played, but Te Ara does a much better job of describing the role of rugby in New Zealand culture. Te Ara also does a much better job of the biographies of those who have fallen from grace and disappeared from public life, which is something Wikipedia is particularly poor at (think Richard Worth). Of course, Te Ara was also a fixed-term project which has now wound up (run to the end of its funding), whereas Wikipedia is open-ended and on-going.

User:Giantflightlessbirds: We should also consider institutional knowledge bases, like NZ Birds Online, set up with a huge amount of volunteer time and donated photos, and administered out of Te Papa. NZ Birds Online was able to get permission to reproduce copyrighted pages from field guides, something Wikipedia won't be able to negotiate. But it's going to be a struggle to keep the pages up to date as new research is published, the referencing is not especially good, and there's no easy way for the reader to fix mistakes and typos. Imagine if the time, money, and volunteer goodwill that produced NZ Birds Online had been harnessed and directed into improving the fairly-dire Wikipedia pages on NZ birds instead.