- 1 Introduction
- 2 GLAM-Wiki US Consortium
- 3 Highlights
- 4 Challenges
- 5 Self-Evaluation
- 6 Implications
- 7 Notes
For the year of 2012, Lori Byrd Phillips is serving 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 is to empower cultural partnerships in the US to be self-sustaining beginning in 2013. This is the Mid-Year Report and assesses the current state of the Coordinator's goals; a Final Report will be prepared in December 2012.
Specific priorities of the US Cultural Partnerships Coordinator include:
- Establishing a system for connecting local Wikipedians with interested cultural institutions.
- Building capacity to scale volunteer efforts with a self-service model for institutions.
- Developing resources that facilitate cultural professionals contributing expertise to Wikimedia projects.
- Identifying missing tools and liaising with technical volunteers to promote creation and improvement.
- Developing a model for partnerships with cultural institutions that becomes self-sustaining by 2013.
(Additional details can be found in the Wikimedia Foundation blog announcement for the position.)
GLAM-Wiki US Consortium
The creation of the GLAM-Wiki US Consortium is a central focus of the US Cultural Partnerships Coordinator. 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 at the Newseum. The Consortium is now under discussion among cultural professionals and Wikimedians in order to establish a useful, relevant, centralized space to support one another.
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 upcoming months, the aim is to mobilize the GLAM-Wiki US community to take ownership of the GLAM Consortium and to move forward with its shared goals. It is important to bring cultural professionals into the conversation alongside Wikipedians, something that is unique to previous methods of organizing GLAM projects. There are preliminary plans for an in-person advisory meeting of cultural professionals and Wikimedians to solidify core goals and move forward with developing an infrastructure that will facilitate the growth of the network in 2013 and beyond.
In February, GLAMcamp DC brought together 25 Wikimedians and cultural professionals at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington DC. The event galvanized the US GLAM-Wiki community around a new centralized space on the English 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.
GLAMcamp attendees also 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 has been distributed extensively and a second version has been created for an archives-specific audience. Most importantly, GLAMcamp empowered the attendees to move forward with individual projects in the US, distributing the work load among new, enthusiastic volunteers.
- GLAMcamp DC Grant Report
- “GLAMcamp DC Kicks Off US Coordination of GLAM-Wiki Efforts.” Wikimedia Blog.
GLAM-Wiki US Portal
The key deliverable of GLAMcamp DC was the GLAM-Wiki US Portal, which has since been distributed as a resource to cultural professionals at a number of events and venues. Attendees at GLAMcamp DC worked together to create the Portal, which is designed to help cultural professionals get started in a GLAM partnership and connect with specific Wikipedians and WikiProjects. The main GLAM-Wiki US landing page has had 3,400 views since creation. The Portal’s GLAM/US/Connect list of contacts includes eighteen outreach volunteers, seven online volunteers, eight cultural professionals, and ten state-specific pages. It also has a step-by-step guide for contributing content, and a GLAM Bookshelf with around twenty outreach resources.
- Robert Connolly, museum professional and AAM attendee
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.”
Libraries and Archives continued in outreach as well, particularly with the establishment of a Wikipedian in Residence at the Online Computer Library Center and a Wiki Loves Libraries workshop at Wikimania. Additionally, Wikipedia was strongly represented at the Society of American Archivists in August 2012, and the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, made a strong case for the ongoing collaboration between cultural institutions and Wikipedia at the closing plenary at Wikimania.
Since December 2011, the list of contacts from cultural organizations interested in GLAM-Wiki has expanded from 24 individuals to over 100. Likewise, the list of formal GLAM partnerships in the US has doubled, going from 12 established cooperations to 24. Some of these new and emerging partnerships include The Getty, OCLC, Biodiversity Heritage Library, Ford Presidential Library, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Motherhood, the Minnesota Historical Society, The Henry Ford, the Indiana Historical Society, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, to name a few.
- American Association of Museums Grant Report
- "GLAM-Wiki at the American Association of Museums" Wikimedia blog.
- "MuseumNext Barcelona: A Wikipedian’s Perspective" New Media Consortium blog.
Support for GLAM Tools
A core challenge of the past six months has been the coordination around GLAM-related technical tools. While a sincere attempt was made in the early months, further progress has been hindered due to delay of the Europeana Toolset Project and lack of communication with the Wikimedia analytics team. All information has been shared with the appropriate parties, who can now assess their own goals and move forward with the suggestions.
Resources for GLAM-Wiki US Consortium
It has proven challenging to find short-term resources to ensure the success of the GLAM-Wiki US Consortium, considering that an in-person advisory meeting would go far in kick-starting the initiative. Funding prospects through an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant are promising, but an in-person meeting will have to be put on hold if these resources do not materialize. The process to establish the Consortium would then depend on on-wiki coordination for the remainder of the year. This will mean that a formal meeting will not occur until beyond the time frame of the GLAM Coordinator position and will depend on volunteer-based coordination.
Online Community Organizing
I struggle with balancing my on-wiki community organizing with the organizing done at in-person events. With any Meet-Up or Wikipedia event it’s easier to motivate people in person rather than online. It’s challenging to find time to reach out to individuals on-wiki in order to fulfill the online needs of US cultural institutions. I also find that my conversion rate of in-person enthusiastic volunteers to online (actually working) volunteers is low. This may be due to the fact that participants at GLAM events are often busy cultural professionals and other Wikipedians who find it easy to focus on a task in-person but do not have the time to follow through once the event is over.
Presentation Skills & Project Management
In spite of my hesitation toward public speaking, a major component of my work has included presenting at conferences, workshops, and other events. This experience has made a significant difference in my comfort level and in my presentation skills generally. Our presence at the American Association of Museums (AAM) was challenging and rewarding for me as project manager, and in the end we successfully coordinated five individuals across three continents in order to be as efficient as possible with our time at the conference. I have grown as a project manager through my experience coordinating AAM, GLAMcamp DC, and the GLAM-Wiki US Consortium. In each instance, we were able to successfully carry out valuable events by combining help from others with my strength in organization.
Outreach efforts in 2012 have made a significant impact on the perception of Wikipedia among cultural professionals throughout the US. At the same time, cultural professionals who have been involved in GLAM from early on are now becoming leading advocates in their own right. The US is likely the first country where cultural professionals are taking leadership roles within the GLAM-Wiki movement —they are pursuing speaking engagements, establishing best practices and resources, and working pan-institutionally to advocate for Wikimedia in cultural institutions. The US is lucky to have such passion among cultural professionals, and we need to use this potential to increase the level of focused engagement among US Wikimedians, as well.
In tandem with this immense interest among cultural professionals, efforts within the GLAM-Wiki US community have succeeded in providing the resources required for new GLAM partnerships. However, the community is not yet ready to self-sufficiently address the needs of continuing partnerships. There is still a strong need for a point person to coordinate partnerships and connect cultural institutions with volunteers. It is hoped that the GLAM-Wiki US Consortium will organize to the level needed to supply this need in the future. In the meantime, it is important to consider all manner of funding opportunities to support such a position, as well as other methods for infrastructure-building, in order to maintain the momentum toward achieving a successful GLAM Consortium and GLAM-Wiki US community.
The GLAM-Wiki US community must take ownership of GLAM support and outreach efforts in order to succeed in 2013 and beyond. This will require that leading cultural professionals in the GLAM-Wiki community more fully connect and communicate with each other and with US Wikimedians in order to establish a vision for a shared path forward. The GLAM-Wiki US Consortium is an important first step in this new network of cultural professionals and Wikimedians, but it will require a focused group of volunteers to devote the resources required for such an entity to thrive.
- Wikipedia, Museums, Trade and More, Robert Connolly, May 8, 2012
- A list of US-based GLAM WikiProjects can be found at WP:GLAM/Projects.
- Tech-focused goals can be found on the GLAMcamp meta page. Additional user stories and suggestions from cultural professionals are not yet available on-wiki but can be provided upon request.
- It's been suggested that I point out the fact that I've also served as US GLAM Coordinator while raising this.
- Some examples of cultural professionals discussing the impact of GLAM-Wiki include: David Ferriero (National Archives blog), Koven Smith (MuseumNext presentation), Merrilee Proffitt (OCLC Research), William Cronon (American Historical Association)