Wikipedia:GLAM/US/Final Report

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Introduction[edit]

For the year of 2012, Lori Byrd Phillips served as the US Cultural Partnerships Coordinator in order to build the infrastructure needed to support interest in Wikimedia partnerships among cultural institutions in the United States. The ultimate goal for the year was to empower cultural partnerships in the US to become self-sustaining beginning in 2013. This Final Report will assess the progress made toward the stated priorities of the position, the challenges currently facing GLAM in the US, and suggestions for actionable steps moving forward.

For a quick summary see the Final Report's Implications below.

This report was prepared with significant contributions from GLAM-Wiki US Consortium advisory group members: Neal Stimler, Pete Forsyth, Sara Snyder, and Dominic McDevitt-Parks.
See also: Mid-Year Report.

Further information[edit]

Lori Phillips' Wikimania 2012 presentation. (See also: presentation notes.)

The state of GLAM-Wiki from the GLAM perspective[edit]

Contributed by Neal Stimler, GLAM-Wiki US Consortium Advisory Group member

The GLAM-Wiki movement is indeed at a mature point in its efforts to impact cultural heritage institutions. GLAMs now understand the benefits of adopting Wikipedia’s collaborative methods and tools as they rebuild their own web presences. The outreach work done by GLAM-Wiki leaders such as Lori Byrd Phillips, Sarah Stierch and others has successfully changed the attitudes of GLAMs towards Wikipedia as a viable partner with tools, platforms, and most importantly an engaged community interested in working in concert with GLAM missions. The tone of communication has dramatically changed from one of agitation to a sense of shared responsibility for the stewardship of our global cultural heritage in the digital age.

One of the key moments of 2012, was the collaboration between Wikimedia Commons and The Walters Art Museum. This effort demonstrated that with volunteer initiative and institutional support, it was possible to contribute quality data and images to Wikimedia with great efficacy and immediate benefit to the public. This effort will continue to be a model for creating future hack-a-thon or edit-a-thon style events that, if continued, can successfully reshape the possibilities for more long-term engagement and partnership with Wikipedia through a variety of its platforms.

Wikipedians have incredible skills to teach GLAM professionals. This is the next step for the further engagement between Wikimedia and GLAMs. The GLAM-Wiki community needs to partner with GLAMs and volunteers to write training documentation that is specific to GLAMs. This training documentation would be disseminated on the GLAM-Wiki page, but then be demonstrated through online and onsite workshops. These workshops could be done at conferences and individual institutions. They would be team-taught by a local Wikipedian and staff member from a GLAM. These personal relationships and intensive training efforts will be the bridge to making Wikimedia activities something that GLAMs observe to something they incorporate into their daily working practice.

Priorities[edit]

Attendees at GLAMcamp DC at the National Archives and Records Administration in February 2012.

Priority 1: Connect Wikipedians with GLAMs[edit]

Establish a system for connecting local Wikipedians with interested cultural institutions.

In early 2012 GLAMcamp DC brought together 25 Wikimedians and cultural professionals to galvanize the US GLAM-Wiki community around a new centralized space on Wikipedia and organized volunteers to support the growing number of GLAM-Wikimedia partnerships in the US. The event resulted in tangible outcomes such as the GLAM-Wiki US Portal and lists of contacts and volunteers that can be accessed by cultural professionals seeking assistance in a collaboration. GLAMcamp empowered the attendees to move forward with individual projects in the US, distributing the GLAM-Wiki project work load among new, enthusiastic volunteers.

Among the must useful resources developed for the GLAM:US Portal are the state-based lists of contacts on the Connect Page. This method of organizing contact and background information has led to more streamlined coordination of events and sharing of resources between local institutions with interest in GLAM projects. Examples of this cross-institutional collaboration include areas such as Detroit and Minneapolis.

Throughout the year a number of outreach opportunities resulted in Wikimedians, both in the US and abroad, reaching out to cultural professionals in order to deepen relationships, distribute resources, and share support. Those events that I specifically took part in include: The American Association of Museums, MuseumNext, Wikimania, the Association of Midwest Museums, and Museum Computer Network. (See below for more information.) At each of these events, the new resources available at the GLAM:US Portal were shared with GLAM professionals so that they could more easily connect with Wikipedians as they begin seeking support for projects.

Wikimania in particular was an important time to more coherently bring together cultural professionals and Wikimedians, thanks to the opportunities afforded by its location in Washington DC. Cultural professionals throughout the DC Metropolitan area were drawn to participate in Wikimania and events associated with it, including the opening reception at the Library of Congress, the Wiki Loves Libraries workshop, and GLAM Night Out at the Newseum. These were important opportunities for Wikipedians to network with cultural professionals and begin to forge stronger relationships. For the cultural sector, these events put a face to the Wikipedia community and were invaluable in connecting Wikimedians with the GLAM sector.

Further information[edit]

David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, speaks about the impact of the GLAM-Wiki community in the Wikimania 2012 closing plenary.

Priorities 2 & 3: Establish a self-service model for GLAMs & develop outreach & educational materials[edit]

Build capacity to scale volunteer efforts with a self-service model for institutions.
Develop resources that facilitate cultural professionals contributing expertise to Wikimedia projects.

Priorities 2 and 3 are interrelated and, as such, have similar outcomes. The outreach and educational resources developed for the GLAM:US Portal led to a successful self-service process and platform for cultural professionals seeking information about and materials for GLAM projects. This in turn led to a reduced need for the GLAM Coordinator and GLAM volunteers to repeatedly re-create general, introductory emails in response to basic GLAM inquiries. As the link for the GLAM:US Portal was further distributed it was obvious that those GLAM professionals emailing for assistance had already researched the basics, using the resources on the portal, and were instead approaching the Coordinator with informed questions relating to specific details about their projects. This represents a huge step forward in the availability of GLAM-Wiki information for cultural professionals. The most impactful of these educational materials include the Contribute Page, the One Pager, and the Bookshelf.

The Contribute Page, as a step-by-step guide to thinking through which GLAM project is most suited to each institution's resources, is a tangible representation of the self-service model for GLAMs. The GLAM:US Bookshelf is inspired by the broader Wikimedia Bookshelf project and serves as a compilation of GLAM-Wiki project documentation, sample proposals and project plans, and guides and presentations that provide support for cultural professionals as they educate their staff and develop and implement projects. The Wikipedian in Residence information page on Outreach, which is used by the global GLAM-Wiki community, was also improved by the GLAM Coordinator in an effort to further clarify the role and scope of residencies as this type of project became increasingly popular. This page is continually updated with current, former, and forthcoming residency projects and is a frequently used resource. Page views for the Wikipedian in Residence page steadily increased throughout the year, starting in January 2012 around 300 and ending in January 2013 averaging around 1000 a month.

GLAMcamp DC attendees, under the guidance of Andrew Lih, created the One-Pager--a concise outreach document that includes basic information about Wikimedia and short success stories detailing specific GLAM projects. The One-Pager was specifically created to appeal to professional museum audiences who could digest the information quickly and easily distribute it among staff for additional buy-in. The One-Pager has been distributed extensively and a second version has been created for an archives-specific audience.

Additional self-service resources were created in conjunction with the GLAM-Wiki US Consortium, including the GLAM-US list-serv and the GLAM-Wiki US Blog. The email list has been continually growing and sees consistent traffic, with GLAM professionals frequently seeking guidance or sharing successes, and a number of members responding in support. The GLAM blog was a direct result of the GLAM Consortium advisory group's effort to distribute resources on a platform that's most accessible to professionals. The blog has seen use, and a calendar and strategy has been proposed, but requires further and consistent attention from Consortium members in order to see long-term success. Similarly, the GLAM-US Facebook page and global @glamwiki Twitter were maintained by the Coordinator in 2012 but now require new volunteers to administer them consistently if they are to see continued success. The blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts are important to maintain because they are the platforms most used by the professional audiences that we are aiming to support and collaborate with. These platforms do take work to maintain, but it's imperative to portray our accessibility and continue to be a part of the conversation.

Between February 2012 and February 2013, the GLAM-Wiki US portal has received over 7,200 page views and averages around 500 views a month. The GLAM:US Portal Connect list now includes 22 outreach volunteers, seven online volunteers (and a connection to the Teahouse support page), eight cultural professionals, and fourteen state-specific pages. The GLAM Bookshelf includes around twenty outreach resources.

Further information[edit]

Priority 4: Promote the development of technical tools for GLAMs[edit]

GLAM One-Pager handout.
Identify missing tools and liaise with technical volunteers to promote their creation and improvement.

GLAMs require technical tools supporting several kinds of tasks:

  • Tracking readership and access to specific Wikipedia and Wikimedia pages
  • Tracking volunteer engagement in Wikimedia content related to the GLAM’s holdings and mission
  • Supporting volunteer Wikimedians in incorporating resources and knowledge from GLAMs into Wikimedia projects
  • Supporting GLAM staff in contributing to Wikimedia projects (VIAFbot, mass upload tools, citation or template generators for citing GLAM resources)

Throughout this year I did my best to ensure that the appropriate parties were working together, and not duplicating efforts, on GLAM-related tool development. The two relevant groups include the GLAM-Wiki Toolset Project team, including representatives from Europeana and Wikimedia chapters, and the Wikimedia Foundation’s Analytics Team. Early in the year, both of these teams were just beginning to articulate the scope of their work in regards to GLAM needs, which meant that I was tasked with maintaining the momentum created through Liam Wyatt’s work towards GLAM tools requirements begun in 2011.

In February I met with Rob Stein, then Deputy Director of Research, Technology, and Engagement at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, to create a list of GLAM analytics needs and rationales. These were shared with the Analytics Team and the GLAM-Wiki Toolset team.

Further information[edit]

Priority 5: Encourage self-sustainability[edit]

Develop a model for partnerships with cultural institutions that becomes self-sustaining by 2013.

The creation of the GLAM-Wiki US Consortium was a central focus of the US Cultural Partnerships Coordinator and is the primary strategy underpinning self-sustainability of GLAM-Wiki in the US. Discussion of a professional network for GLAM professionals and Wikimedians began as early as March 2012. By Wikimania, the GLAM-Wiki US Consortium was launched at the GLAM Night Out event. The goal of the GLAM-Wiki US Consortium is to bring together cultural organizations, Wikipedians, Wikimedia chapters, and individuals in an independent community of practice devoted to supporting the GLAM-Wikimedia initiative in the United States. This professional network will facilitate "GLAMs helping GLAMs," allowing cultural organizations to work together and with Wikipedians to discuss ideas, share resources, partner on projects, establish best practices, and collectively support one another in pursuits of Wikimedia projects. The long-term aim of the Consortium is to create a formal professional network and/or a non-profit organization that can sustain and support the growth of GLAM-Wikimedia partnerships in the US.

Over the last months the aim has been to encourage the GLAM-Wiki US community to take ownership of the GLAM Consortium and to move forward with its shared goals. This goal has seen varied success. An advisory group has been established that is made up of an equal number of GLAM Professionals and Wikimedians, all respected members of the community with a vested interest in broad GLAM US goals. The Consortium is currently existing as the GLAM-US email list, with the advisory group at its core and an informal listing of institutions on the Wikipedia page. Since August, there have been preliminary plans for an in-person meeting with the GLAM Consortium Advisory Group to solidify core goals and move forward with developing an infrastructure that will facilitate the growth of the network in 2013 and beyond. This meeting was unable to occur due to insufficient funding opportunities. It is currently proposed to take place in conjunction with GLAM Bootcamp in April 2013.

A key outcome of GLAMcamp London was a desire to establish a new generation of GLAM volunteers through training events called GLAM Bootcamps. It is understood that the capacity of the current cohort of GLAM volunteers is insufficient in fulfilling the need presented by the cultural sector. At the same time, the GLAM community has likely become viewed by the broader Wikimedia community as insulated and not in need of assistance. Bootcamps are an effort to break down those perceived barriers between those Wikimedians who are interested but tentative about GLAM and those who have been involved in GLAM for some time and have much to share. The first US GLAM Bootcamp will be held at the National Archives in late April 2013.

Efforts have also been made to build a cooperative relationship with the Open Knowledge Foundation, a UK-based non-profit dedicated to promoting open data and open content. The Open Knowledge Foundation began an Open GLAM initiative and blog in early 2012 and have been in contact with the GLAM-Wiki US community throughout the past year, culminating in a day-long meeting with like-minded organizations in Amsterdam in December 2012. The Open Knowledge Foundation is interested in establishing an Open GLAM presence in the US and has moved forward with that goal through the hiring of Sarah Stierch, a longtime leader within the GLAM-Wiki US community.

Further information[edit]

Outreach opportunities[edit]

Lori Phillips presents with Alex Hinojo, Sarah Stierch, and Liam Wyatt at the American Association of Museums.

The core method for dispersing these new resources to GLAM professionals, and effectively activating the Portal, Bookshelf, Consortium, and Blog, was through outreach at professional conferences, internal staff workshops, and publications.

Participation in two major professional conferences, the American Association of Museums (AAM) and MuseumNext, provided the impetus for a “watershed moment” in the perception of GLAM-Wiki among museum professionals. These events were a turning point in regards to museum professionals broadly accepting Wikipedia as a viable platform for their institutions. At MuseumNext, speakers were repeatedly singing the praises of Wikipedia as the external platform that institutions should be better incorporating into their digital strategies. It was the first time that cultural professionals were telling each other to connect with Wikipedia; the Wikimedians no longer needed to convince them of “why,” but instead were being asked to explain “how.” [1]

The following includes my work as GLAM Coordinator, and only represents a selection of instances of GLAM-Wiki outreach completed by other Wikipedians and GLAM professionals in the US in 2012.

Publications[edit]

Conference presentations[edit]

American Association of Museums[edit]

MuseumNext[edit]

Association of Midwest Museums, Indianapolis[edit]

Museum Computer Network, Seattle[edit]

Additional coordination[edit]

Beyond outreach, a significant portion of my work involved connecting with other Wikimedians, Wikimedia Foundation staff, GLAM professionals, and institutions who wanted to take next steps in coordinating GLAM efforts. This included both internal advocating for GLAM within the Wikipedia community and other Foundation initiatives, as well as external coordination and assistance with expressions of interest from GLAM professionals. Major internal events that have been touched on throughout this report include Wikimania and GLAMcamp London. Additional direct assistance with cultural institutions (outside of outreach at conferences) includes the Brooklyn Museum, Indiana Historical Society, Museum of Motherhood, Encyclopedia of Life, Biodiversity Heritage Library, MNopedia (Minnesota Historical Society), and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Additional coordination with the Wikimedia community, Wikimedia staff, and the broader Open GLAM community include: expert contribution efforts, US Education Program, Wikimedia Analytics Team, GLAM-Wiki Conference advising, WikiProject Medicine, Open Education, Old Weather, Open Knowledge Foundation.

Challenges[edit]

Challenge 1: Increase on-wiki support for GLAM-Wiki projects[edit]

In order to sustain participation in ongoing GLAM-Wiki projects and increase our capacity for new projects, the GLAM-Wiki community needs to grow. At present, GLAM-Wiki remains a project in which most participants are either associated with partner institutions, participated in an in-person event, or are one of a small number of active GLAM-oriented Wikipedians. The main population of regular and highly active Wikipedians remains untapped. Expansion of the corps of Wikimedian volunteers needs to be tackled on two fronts. First, there needs to be an adequate number and geographical distribution of Wikimedians able to do direct outreach with interested institutions. And second, there need to be enough Wikimedians working online on projects to make them successful.

Opportunities[edit]

  • Utilize Connect list to broaden volunteer base.
  • Interface with the US Education Program
  • One or more GLAMs could reverse Liam’s “you don’t know your e-volunteer program” concept, and guide their fans/volunteer base/partners/staffs in creating WikiProjects, setting goals, blogging about their success, etc.

Actions[edit]

  • Further distribute the GLAM:US portal Connect list, but framing it in such a way as to make clear that people don’t have to know it all, but can help by applying the skills they already know.
  • Encourage partner institutions to leverage their own pool of volunteers for their GLAM-Wiki projects, where appropriate.
  • Encourage specific, entrepreneurial Wikimedians to engage with decision-makers at key GLAMs, and explore projects that create clear “wins” via using Wikipedia as a platform to reach the public.
  • Create a Response Team for GLAM-Wiki. Implement a better way to marshal resources and also attract resources.
Nancy Proctor discusses Wikipedia during her MuseumNext keynote address.

Challenge 2: Formalize the Wikipedian in Residence model[edit]

There is a strong need to formalize the Wikipedian in Residence model and, more broadly, to professionalize GLAM partnerships in a way that creates a systematic process for carrying out cooperative projects. This need for a streamlined approach is needed in part because there is such a small pool of highly motivated and qualified Wikipedians who are willing and able to support formal GLAM partnerships. At the moment, without a formal system in place, there is a risk that well-meaning institutions will hire well-meaning but unqualified Wikipedians in Residence, who have aptitude but do not have the strong skills to push programs forward. This also leads to institutions and titled Wikipedians in Residence inadvertently speaking on behalf of the GLAM-Wiki movement as a whole, without having a full understanding of the standards and best practices that have been established. It is imperative that the quality of the work that the GLAM-Wiki community has worked hard to build be maintained throughout future partnerships.

Ultimately the question comes down to how will we, as a movement, support the next generation of Wikipedians in Residence?

Opportunities[edit]

Actions[edit]

  • Establish an application process for interested institutions to express interest in hiring a Wikipedian in Residence. This would require a review committee to look over applications, prioritize assistance based on the resources available, and more efficiently connect institutions to existing opportunities.
  • Fund one year stipends or matching grants to incentivize cultural institutions to hire Wikipedians in Residence, with the remaining funds being raised by the cultural institution. This will provide support while also requiring a certain level of buy-in from the institution.
  • Create a Wikipedian in Residence portal, or other form of support system that connects current and former residents and provides core resources, templates, best practices, and processes that ensures that basic standards are maintained. This will enable Wikipedians in Residence with fewer qualifications to get the kind of support they need from the Wikimedia community.

Challenge 3: Establish ongoing support for coordination and funding[edit]

It has repeatedly proved imperative that ongoing support be provided to coordinate and fund GLAM partnerships in the US. The needs of GLAM-Wiki require that at least one paid position be present to funnel requests and serve as a point-person for connecting institutions to the Wikimedia community. At the moment this need will remain unfulfilled until an ongoing funding model is established that will support this position and other GLAM activities.

While a goal of the GLAM US Coordinator was in fact to make such a position redundant by year's end, leaders in the GLAM-Wiki US community now agree that in order to professionalize and maintain the standards of GLAM-Wiki , there does in fact need to be an ongoing, paid coordinator role in place. This does not need to be a full time position, and no longer needs to involve significant travel and outreach. It does, however, need to at least be part-time, and involve a knowledgeable and organized Wikipedian who can field inquiries, connect individuals, and allow institutions to feel supported as they pursue projects.

This is an important challenge because ultimately GLAM-Wiki will realize more success when cultural institutions feel empowered to launch their own projects, and believe that such projects will produce results that support their missions. At this time the support that is available is still not fulfilling the need.

Opportunities[edit]

Actions[edit]

  • The GLAM-Wiki US Consortium Advisory Group should meet to discuss potential partnership opportunities with like-minded funding bodies and organizations, which can support the GLAM-Wiki US Consortium as a future non-profit entity that can manage its own funding. Just as a non-profit board's role is to pursue funding for the organization, so too should the Consortium's advisory group at this time.
  • Pursue small stipends and grants through the Foundation and otherwise to fill the gap until an established funding source is found for GLAM-Wiki US.
  • Utilize chapter resources, when available to support a coordinator position.

Challenge 4: Train GLAM professionals to become Wikipedians themselves[edit]

Many GLAM staff are hungry to grow their Wikipedia expertise, but they are also busy professionals who cannot spend hours upon hours wading through hundreds of pages of arcane, inconsistent, and (at times) outdated documentation in order to try and understand the Wikipedia community and norms. Skilled, professional, and well-educated Wikimedia ambassadors can fill this role—people who can relate to librarians, archivists, and curators on an interpersonal level. The Wikipedian in Residence model is one way to convert GLAM professionals into Wikipedians. Another way is through outreach and training opportunities, ideally face to face. GLAM professionals keep their other technical skills fresh via conferences, seminars and webinars, and other training events; so why shouldn’t Wikipedia literacy and editorship be taught as a skill in these same venues?

Linked with this challenge is the need to centralize resources and dialogue in order to make these more accessible to cultural professionals. Much has been done to improve upon this through the GLAM: US Portal, however more work needs to be done to establish formal trainings and documentation that more coherently promote the best practices already established within the global GLAM-Wiki community.

Opportunities[edit]

Actions[edit]

  • Bring GLAM professionals to a level where their understanding of Wikipedia supports good decision-making around Wikipedia. Practically speaking, they can be good managers of entry-level staff or interns doing projects on Wikipedia, and help them scope projects, and define and work toward goals. This would imply a learning period after which they are capable of bringing on entry level staff to take on tasks.
  • Provide travel grants for experienced volunteer trainers, and/or hire a staff person to run hands-on editing workshops and do outreach at GLAM professional conferences and organizational meetings.
  • Reach out to academic programs such as Museum Studies and Information Studies programs (iSchools), and Digitial Humanities centers, providing seminars, hosting outreach events, guest lectures, edit-a-thons for students who are on the cusp of entering GLAM professions.
  • Provide grants for cultural professionals to attend and present at Wikimania conferences, so that they can do their own outreach, training, and recruitment of Wikipedians.

Implications[edit]

Lori, Pete, and Andrew announcing the GLAM-Wiki US Consortium at GLAM Night Out

2012 served as a watershed moment for GLAM in the US, with Wikipedia becoming a more broadly accepted platform for cultural institutions who had previously dismissed it outright. Perhaps most importantly, 2012 was the year that cultural institutions began to start asking “how can we work with Wikipedia,” rather than “why should we?” The GLAM-Wiki US Consortium and associated advisory group are newly-established resources that address how cultural institutions can better work together to more efficiently share experiences and resources--but this potential has not yet been fully realized. Self-service guides and compiled resources are also available on the GLAM:US portal, but more needs to be done to promote these resources to ensure that cultural professionals know what is available to them.

2012 also served as the year that cultural professionals in the US began to more broadly look to “open content” as an integral part of their digital strategies. Wikipedia is a widely lauded model of open culture, and the GLAM-Wiki movement can be considered the first relevant application of open, shared content that cultural institutions could use as a tangible example of what “open content” really means. US cultural professionals are now interested in formalizing an “Open GLAM” initiative similar to what is already established in Europe through organizations like the Open Knowledge Foundation. Until recently, however, there has been a lack of leadership in “open culture” specific to cultural institutions in the US. Wikipedians affiliated with the GLAM-Wiki movement are now being pointed to as those leaders, and there is a hope that we can all move forward in establishing a more broad “Open GLAM” community in the coming year. Thankfully, this gap is being filled by Sarah Stierch, who in 2013 is serving as US OpenGLAM Coordinator for the Open Knowledge Foundation.

GLAM-Wiki has an important role to play in the formalization of the broader OpenGLAM initiative, but they are now one among a group of organizations who together serve as open culture advocates. GLAM-Wiki may have been at the forefront of open content advocacy in the US, but now the community needs to better connect with like-minded organizations in order to make more efficient use of resources and to become stronger in our outreach together.

The Wikipedia community in the US will need to step up as volunteers in the establishment of a broader OpenGLAM movement, and take ownership of the opportunity at hand. While a centralized US GLAM-Wiki Coordinator is useful and indeed necessary for day-to-day support and promoting GLAM resources, the GLAM-Wiki US Consortium and Advisory Group will need to take the lead in ensuring that the Wikipedia community has a voice in the establishment of an OpenGLAM movement in the US. There is a huge leadership opportunity lying out there begging for an organization to take up the mantle, of shepherding the GLAM world into a bright future that leverages Wikipedia as a platform to work more collaboratively and effect greater change.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A list of US-based GLAM WikiProjects can be found at WP:GLAM/Projects.