Wikipedia:GLAM/YMT/1st Month Report

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Institution Resident's Name Period Covered Date of Report
York Museums Trust PatHadley (talk) 14 Oct - 14 Nov 2013 (First month of residency) 14 Nov 2013


The first month of the project has been dominated by orientation and resource mapping. I have gained understanding of YMT's operations and the scope and nature of the collections. I have been building the project pages to reflect the most relevant aspects for the project and attempted to pair them with relevant content on Wikimedia projects. YMT staff have been welcoming and helpful and I have found all the necessary support with technical editing from the Wikimedia community. The only issue at YMT is fitting my work into staff's already crowded schedules.

Working with curators[edit]

In my second week I attended a curator's monthly meeting and introduced myself and the project to a number of key staff members. After this I placed copies of an introductory note and the Welcome to Wikipedia booklet in each curators pigeon-hole (followed up with an email). Response to this has been a little underwhelming but there are other avenues being explored (see below).

I have begun work with three members of curatorial staff:

Stuart Ogilvy Assistant Curator of Natural History Stuart is the leader on the Tempest Anderson project. We have been discussing the nature of the photographic collection and Stuart has helped identify targets on Wikipedia for the sharing of the collection.
Adam Parker Archaeology Collections Facilitor Adam has been editing Wikipedia for a while as: User:Zakhx150. He has added archaeology-related links to the articles page and we have discussed this in detail. We have also talked through the CoI - he has had positive response from other editors when discussing his contributions to Eboracum.
Andrew Wood Curator of Numismatics Andrew responded to my introductory note very positively. He gave me a tour of the numismatic collections and we discussed targets for the project: Tokens, Medals, Hoards and early coinage of Northumbria and Yorkshire. This should also involve an image donation.

Plans for display case[edit]

Head Curator, Andrew Morrison, has made the exciting suggestion of using a display case in the Yorkshire Museum lobby as a public focal point for the residency. This would involve a selection of objects/images being displayed with QRpedia codes and descriptions accompanied by explanations of how these particular objects help YMT connect through Wikipedia to the wider world. Stuart Ogilvy has suggested the first object for the case: a piece of basaltic lava from Thingvellir in Iceland. This is perfect as it was collected by Tempest Anderson, the site is on the Mid-Atlantic Rift and was the site of Viking parliaments. I am hoping the case will also act as a motivator for the curatorial staff to really engage with the residency.

Wade's Causeway contact[edit]

User:PocklingtonDan has been working on the Wade's Causeway article since early September, intending to bring it to FA status. Before the residency began, he had contacted Adam Parker hoping to learn about early C20th excavations undertaken by Yorkshire Philosophical Society members. Dan, Adam and I have now been in touch by email and on talk pages and are hoping to be able to provide some aid (although the records are sketchy) and possibly some images, some of which are by Tempest Anderson.

Working within the Digital Team[edit]

I have been developing a pattern of working Tuesdays and Thursdays at my desk in the Digital Team office. This has allowed me to learn about YMT operations and several relevant projects as well as checking material with my colleagues.

Most relevant are the forthcoming release of YMT's digital catalogue online. This holds approximately 175,000 entries and 155,000 images many of which may be suitable for transfer to commons. Further, YMT are partnering with the Google Cultural Institute on their Studio Pottery collection. This will involve the creation of some higher-quality images than exist on the digital catalogue and an easily-accessible resource of specific information about the collection by curator Helen Walsh.

I have made an effort to assess the potential on Wikimedia projects for connections and collaboration. I have mapped these out on the project pages in four sections:

  • Articles - content on/for English Wikipedia, for which I have created the templates necessary for assessment for metric tracking.
  • Media for Commons - content on/for Wikimedia Commons, I have performed (and screen-captured) an initial GLAMorous assessment of images related to YMT for metric tracking.
  • Other Wikis - This page is in the initial stages but covers plans for work with other languages, WikiData and Wikiversity
  • Tempest Anderson - Though this is a key case study of the project it is partly on hold as we await the cleaning and scanning of the core collection of Tempest Anderson's glass plate negatives. It has become apparent that there are several key contemporaries of Tempest Anderson whose work and lives are poorly reflected on Wikipedia. In particular:

Wider work[edit]

I have blogged informally about the project's beginnings on the YMT blog (copied onto the WikimediaUK blog). This had an excellent reception on twitter with at least 12 retweets by GLAM-related accounts.

Early in the residency I attended a 'stores tour' with members of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society who were learning about Tempest Anderson in advance of a trip to Pompeii and Vesuvius 'in his footsteps'. We are hoping that some of these enthusiasts will become volunteers and Wikipedians on their return and will be inviting them to events.

On 1 November I gave a talk at King's Manor to my former-colleagues at the University of York Archaeology department. Though this was not strictly related to the residency many of the postgraduates and lecturers in attendance were interested in the project and there are strong links between the department and YMT. This may present opportunities to invite students (including placement students) to learn about Wikipedia and potentially integrate it into their research process.

Plans for next month[edit]

Clearly, one of the key aims will be to get curators more involved in the project. The display case will be the main vehicle for doing this. I am hoping that Natalie McCaul - curator of archaeology - will convene a planning event for this next week. This should also lead to opportunities to engage with the trust's volunteer community and potentially design events for them. The trust's weekly openings of it's Historic Library may be a good way into this. On Wikipedia, I plan to make much more active contact with relevant Wikiprojects. Now that the project pages give a decent idea of YMT's offer I hope to be able to provide opportunities for Wikipedians to request materials/images and suggest other avenues for the project. Particularly, helping editors with topic-specialisms connect to the YMT collections. By the end of this month I would like to have a fixed plan for at least one significant internal event and one external event. At this stage it's too difficult to narrow down, but some sort of 'Tempest Anderson and friends' edit-a-thon may provide the right level of diversity and specificity for the purpose.