Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Library/Newsletter/December2013

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Books & Bytes

Eurasian Eagle-Owl Maurice van Bruggen.JPG

Volume 1, Issue 3

December/January 2013

by The Interior (talk · contribs), Ocaasi (talk · contribs)

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Happy New Year, and welcome to a special double issue of Books & Bytes. We've included a retrospective on the changes and progress TWL has seen over the last year, the results of the survey TWL participants completed in December, some of our plans for the future, a second interview with a Wiki Love Libraries coordinator, and more. Here's to 2014 being a year of expansion and innovation for TWL!

The Big Picture: Many months of progress[edit]

The Wikipedia Library completed the first 6 months of its Individual Engagement grant last week. It's all in the final report. Here's where we are and what we've done:

  • Increased access to sources: 1500 editors signed up for 3700 free accounts, individually worth over $500,000, with usage increases of those references between 400-600%
  • Deep networking: Built relationships with Credo, HighBeam, Questia, JSTOR, Cochrane, LexisNexis, EBSCO, New York Times, and OCLC
  • New pilot projects: Started the Wikipedia Visiting Scholar project to empower university-affiliated Wikipedia researchers
  • Developed community: Created portal connecting 250 newsletter recipients, 30 library members, 3 volunteer coordinators, and 2 part-time contractors
  • Tech scoped: Spec'd out a reference tool for linking to full-text sources and established a basis for OAuth integration
  • Broad outreach: Wrote a feature article for Library Journal's The Digital Shift; presenting at the American Library Association annual meeting

Grant renewal: 6 more months of growth[edit]

In the past 6 months of our Individual Engagement Grant, we laid the foundation for The Wikipedia Library's future growth and expansion. We built a team of volunteers and a hub for connecting the Wikipedia community to the library and its research access opportunities, and have laid the groundwork for partnerships with many key research databases and university libraries. We also produced a code specification for a reference tool script we are developing which will place links to full-text sources next to references in Wikipedia articles. There is so much more we can do. A six-month renewal of the Individual Engagement Grant is needed in order to support the Library's growing potential. This renewal has been requested and is now under review by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Phase 2 aims[edit]

Phase 2 of our proposed grant involves expansion of existing successful programs, integration of volunteers, creation of usable deployed reference tech tools, deeper outreach, and new experiments.

  • Move from existing pilots to robust programs: Research Donations, Visiting scholars
  • More donation partners and more accounts: Expand the number of partners we approach and relationships we build
  • Technical infrastructure : Full text reference tool--alpha implementation and promotion, OAuth spec for integrated account management
  • Regularize metrics: regular database link dumps for partners, consolidate into pamphlets and wikipages designed for promotion
  • Community organizing: develop the portal further, investigate ways to surface recent activity, highlight calls to action and ways to get involved
  • More hands: define and fill more roles for volunteer coordinators
  • Outreach; Promote TWL broadly outside of Wikipedia, especially to library professionals
  • Go global: pilot with at least 1 other language of Wikipedia (German, Spanish, Arabic...), deliver Cochrane Library in Spanish, host a Non-US Visiting scholar, identify sources to address systemic bias
  • New pilots: Open Access Signaling, Open Access button integration?, Research Desk...

How phase 2 evolves from phase 1
Phase 1 Phase 2
The original scope of the pilot (phase 1) was only to get more partnerships. In building towards phase 2 we established 4 additional compelling goals and multiple ways to advance them with. The central focus of phase 1 became developing The Wikipedia Library as the true community library of Wikipedia. Phase 2 expands upon this, and explores ways in which TWL could become 'the internet's library'.
Phase 1 was a project of one person. Jake (Ocaasi) handled the full management, implementation, outreach, development, and analysis. In the course of phase 1 we developed a team of 2 managers, 5 outreach coordinators, 3 account coordinators, 2 technical developers, 1 coder, 27 members, and 250 newsletter recipients. We reached out to 1,500 + TWL subscribers with both news and surveys. Phase 2 expands upon and leverages that growth in participation.
Phase 1 of the project was a startup focused on establishing presence, awareness, and pilot programs Phase 2 is geared towards sustainable growth, empowering the recruited volunteers to independently manage and expand existing programs.
Phase 1 focused on internal outreach, promoting TWL to the Wikipedia community and recruiting volunteers from within. Phase 2 is equally about external outreach, promoting TWL to the broader library community and recruiting volunteers from outside our community.
Phase 1 was about building relationships (OCLC, university libraries). Phase 2 is about advancing real programs by leveraging those relationships (Eswitch script, Visiting Scholar program).
Phase 1 relied on irregular volunteer metrics to demonstrate impact. Phase 2 creates regular reports run each 3 months across all donations.
Phase 1 was about exploring tech. We were waiting on tech to be developed--OCLC's Eswitch API was unpublished, and OAuth was not yet released. We funded Nischay to code a spec for the Eswitch script. Phase 2 is about building tech. We are taking the next step with these tools, building our Eswitch script and speccing out OAuth integration based on the recent release.
Phase 1 funded Jake as an untested community organizer and library outreach facilitator. Phase 2 funds Jake as someone who has demonstrated organizational skill, built relationships to leaders in the library community, started new projects, and conducted successful program expansions.
Phase 1 funded Pat (The Interior) only in the second half of the project (3 months at 6 hr/week). Phase 2 involves Pat in the entire 6 months and expands his role to 10 hr/wk.
The initial pilot was frankly cheap, appropriate for trying something new. We wanted to test the need for funded programs and we demonstrated a need. We laid the groundwork for significant expansion across multiple areas in Phase 1. In phase 2 we need to work within a budget which can support the expansion of successful programs.
A note on remaining in the Individual Grants program

We are still at a stage where the library is nimble and the workload is manageably distributed between paid coordinators and volunteers.

  • There's not enough work to grow to an organization yet. We are funding the equivalent of one 40 hr/wk employee, but instead of giving all of the responsibility to a single person, we are giving multiple individuals domains of management. This builds sustainability with moderate growth expectations.
  • We are fortunate enough to be nimble, to have no big bureaucracy for overseeing volunteers, and to be able to rely on simple, good community organizing through the established participation history of the coordinators and volunteers. We do not yet see the need for organizational funding or reporting as we have continued to successfully grow and expand within the Individual model.
  • Jake (Ocaasi) is still comfortably overseeing project operations while recruiting more and more experts to handle program implementation. Pat (The Interior) is fully invested as a coordinator, but is not in a position to devote more than part-time hours to the projects.
  • We'd also like to add that IEG guidance from Individual Grant head Siko Bouterse has been both encouraging and reinforcing. We are still learning a lot with her and want to keep doing so.
  • Finally, the total funding amount for phase 2 is still 30% under the maximum IEG grant cap. While not a strong delimiter, that budget number is a further good estimate for when a project has achieved the size and scope that would necessitate an organizational grant rather than an individual one.

Survey results[edit]

We mass messaged a Qualtrics survey[1] to all of the editors who had signed up for a free account before October 2013. This was 2000 editors, many of them our top content contributors. The survey started on Dec 9 and we analyzed responses through Dec 17. 254 started the survey and 197 completed it. All of the questions were optional.


Most survey recipients were Satisfied with The Wikipedia Library's concept, activities, and direction.

Wikipedia Library Survey, How satisfied are you with The Wikipedia Library?

Goals & Activities[edit]


Editors rated and ranked our 5 goals. Here's what they care about most (on a 1-5 scale, 5 being most important):

Wikipedia Library Survey, Which TWL goals are most important to you?

Priorities (mean score, 1 to 5)

  1. 4.52 - Partner to provide free access to paywalled publications, databases, universities, and libraries
  2. 4.14 - Facilitate research for Wikipedians, helping editors to find and use sources
  3. 3.64 - Promote broader open access in publishing and research
  4. 3.26 - Connect editors with their local library and freely accessible resources
  5. 3.10 - Build relationships among our community of editors, libraries, and librarians


Editors rated 13 areas of ongoing and potential activity. The most desired activities are more paywalled source access, by far.

Wikipedia Library Survey, What TWL activities are most important to you?

Participation in TWL

Editors shared how involved they had been in TWL activities and project spaces. The greatest number of editors had received accounts and signed up for the newsletter. Notably, several editors who were surveyed hadn't heard of TWL before or visited any of its pages, suggesting that further community promotion is needed. Also, a relatively small number of editors created profiles at the library portal. A potential phase 2 goal would be to make that portal more interactive and give editors more motivation to engage there.

Wikipedia Library Survey, Which TWL activities have you participated in?


Editors gave quantitative estimates of the number of references that they added with the available sources.

Wikipedia Library Survey, Which sources from TWL have you used and how often?

Requested Sources

Editors, simply, crave more sources. Would they like to receive more free access?

Wikipedia Library Survey, Would you like to receive free access in the future?

We asked specifically which sources editors wanted. The results: JSTOR, JSTOR, JSTOR, HighBeam, Lexis Nexis, ProQuest, NYTimes, EBSCO, Wiley, Springer, Oxford... Read the full list below.

Most requested sources
Source Requests
  • JSTOR - 44
  • HighBeam - 9
  • LexisNexis - 8
  • ProQuest - 8
  • NYTimes - 7
  • Wiley - 6
  • EBSCO - 5
  • Oxford Journals - 5
  • Questia - 5
  • Springer - 5
  • Cambridge Journals - 3
  • Credo - 3
  • IEEE - 3
  • Newspaper archives - 3
  • ProQuest Health and Medical Complete - 3
  • Academic Search - 2
  • Cochrane - 2
  • Elsevier - 2
  • Factiva - 2
  • Grove - 2
  • Historical Abstracts - 2
  • NewsBank - 2
  • Web of Science - 2
  • Eureka - 1
  • Aethiopica: International Journal of Ethiopian and Eritrean Studies - 1
  • American Meteorological Society Journals - 1
  • America's Historical Newspapers - 1
  • - 1
  • Anthropology - 1
  • Arts (music, film, etc.) - 1
  • Atekst (Norwegian newspaper archive) - 1
  • Bauer Media Group pubs online esp. Bike (UK) Magazine - 1
  • Biology - 1
  • British Newspaper Archive - 1
  • Current reference works about Africa - 1
  • Daily Express (UK) archive - 1
  • Early English Books Online‎ - 1
  • - 1
  • - 1
  • Elsevier Entertainment Computing - 1
  • English literary texts - 1
  • - 1
  • Google news archives - 1
  • Google Scholar - 1
  • Grove Music Online - 1
  • GroveArt online - 1
  • Handbook of Birds of the World - - 1
  • HathiTrust - 1
  • HBW Alive - 1
  • HighWire - 1
  • Homo Ludens - 1
  • Humanities - 1
  • Humanities - 1
  • Humanities Source EBSCO - 1
  • ISI Web of Knowledge - 1
  • ISO standards - 1
  • Jane's Defence: Weapons - 1
  • Journal of Experimental Psychology - 1
  • Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds - 1
  • Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery - 1
  • Juris online - 1
  • Law - 1
  • Lippincott Williams & Wilkins - 1
  • Literature (authors, books, etc.) - 1
  • LWW/Wolters Kluwer - 1
  • Lyell Collection - 1
  • Medicine - 1
  • News archives - 1
  • - 1
  • ODNB - 1
  • Online research guidance about what I should want anyway - 1
  • Oxford Music on Line - 1
  • Oxford Online - 1
  • Oxford Univ Press reference works - 1
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, - 1
  • PsycInfo - 1
  • PubMed - 1
  • Religion studies - 1
  • Royal Meteorological Society Journals - 1
  • SAGE Simulation and Gaming - 1
  • SciFinder - 1
  • SocIndex - 1
  • Sociology - 1
  • Springer Link - 1
  • Tandfonline - 1
  • Taylor - 1
  • The International Journal of Digital Curation - 1
  • The Times - 1
  • The Washington Post - 1
  • Uniprot - 1
  • Web of Knowledge - 1
  • Westlaw - 1
  • Wiley Interscience - 1

Qualitative feedback[edit]

As the wordclouds below suggest, the overwhelming response to TWL was positive, and the clarion call across the board was for more access to more sources. This is somewhat expected since we primarily surveyed editors who had previously signed up for accounts, rather than a broader cross-section of the community. Editors seem laser focused on content creation and are interested in sources to achieve that, then support to accomplish it, then more open access to enable it broadly, and only then connections with libraries and librarians.

This could be taken either way: Our editors clearly want sources, on the one hand. On the other hand, perhaps this identifies a niche role for TWL to expand, since it perhaps zeroes in on an area were, since no one else is doing it, we should fill that role.

All Access[edit]

Overwhelming positive sentiment was about access given, and overwhelming area for improvement was more access.

Quote highlights
  • It is a good way to provide access to hard to find resources that are very useful when writing articles.
  • It provides essential backup for the lone editor who does not have access to an academic library.
  • Love my HighBeam account.
  • My jstor access. It's invaluable!
  • That they somehow manage to get pay-to-play accounts free for active Wikipedians
  • We need access to superior online databases, like JSTOR to be able to write high quality articles.
  • Giving existing Wikipedians access to high-quality reliable sources is a very easy way to improve Wikipedia. Doing more of that is awesome.
  • Having done the grad school thing (twice!), I'm used to having the resources of a research university library. I still have this, but now need to drive 90 minutes to do my research on campus. Given the (comparatively) modest resources available at enWP versus a 90 minute drive for comprehensive resources, I find that I'd rather make the drive. There will come a point where enWP coverage will be sufficient that the drive is no longer worthwhile and instead I spend those 180 minutes editing. We'll get there; but that point is a ways away.
  • I'm fortunate to work at an institution that pays for access to a great deal of engineering literature as well as giving me access to the UC library system. If I were to go into private industry, I would lose all of that, even if I was willing to pay a subscription fee (per-article pricing is a non-starter). I'd like enWP to be a position to make access to this material independent of my current employment, and this project is an excellent start to that effort.
  • I've used the Highbeam access to improve and cite numerous articles and use that access to help other editors improve their articles and check on the notability of different topics. The goal of increasing access to sources that I cannot get through my local library has indeed helped me write better articles and I've started producing Good Article work in part because of the TWL's efforts.
  • The rise of this project is so critical, especially in the wake of the demise of Google News Archive. I had been able to use Google News Archive search tools to find so many sources that were available online and linkable, which are now impossible to search or find, even though they are somewhere on the Internet. Access to search tools such as those offered here, which provide broader and deeper access to sources, would allow so much more work to be done on Wikipedia.
  • Improve the number of resource subscriptions available to Wikipedians.
  • Improve a wider range of database platforms - the more, the better!


Editors valued TWLs potential to improve verifiability for both readers and editors, all of which would give more credence to Wikipedia's reliability. The other side of this coin was a nagging regret that most of the paywalled source access would not be easily or cheaply verifiable to those without accounts. (TWL's position has been Wikipedia's policy: We advocate for open access but we facilitate research in the best available sources, open or closed, in the interest of creating a better encyclopedia as the first priority).

Quote highlights
  • It connects the world of non-free knowledge with the world of free knowledge quite nicely
  • It's made editing and getting factual data a lot better, and I love that.
  • I'd also like The Wikipedia Library to become more of a presence at WP:RSN and some of the larger WikiProject RS-boards.
  • Getting donated accounts is nice, but ultimately, the long term goal needs to be moving toward open publishing models. There is no excuse in this day and age to lock up academic knowledge behind paywalls. A chosen few with access to the resources is far from ideal. Without the widespread ability to verify the claim to a source, paywalled sourcing is almost the same as no citation at all.
  • I am a Wikipedian with 100+million pageviews. On articles I write, I want my references to be verifiable by others, so it does not help me much whether I can find a source that others can't check. I got a free subscription to Highbeam a while ago, but my Highbeam references are uncheckable by others, so I tend not to use it much.
  • Great people are prepared to get documents for me without making me jump through any hoops.
  • Stimulates a scientific Wikipedia
  • Use of good resources will increase if the Wikipedia culture changes from 'Encyclopedia where anyone can make stuff up" to "Encyclopedia where editors expect themselves and their colleagues to use reliable sources.'

Signup, login, and integration[edit]

Editors wanted easier signups, tighter integration with logins and passwords, more permanent access for top editors, and other management and technical improvements.

Quote highlights
  • I would appreciate if the access to JSTOR and the other services is provided without interruptions as long as they are needed
  • Some kind of portal with unified login to databases for which I have an account through
  • Collaboration both on and off line with partner organizations will spread all around the world and make good referencing and extended information close to seamless.
  • It is probably pie-in-the-sky, but some kind of integrated search across databases would be huge. You never know which one is going to turn up that interesting tidbit you need on a subject.
  • More free accounts, clearly. But integration of those accounts with Wikipedia would be useful as well.
  • The many logins are confusing. Try to get access to all resources of one provider, rather than a selected subsection

Global diversity[edit]

Several found TWL ripe for expansion into non-English languages and other underrepresented areas of systemic bias.

Quote highlights
  • As not all Wikipedians are fluent in English, you should also move to other major Wikipedia editions, like de-wp, fr-wp etc.
  • I'd love to see increased access to pay journals covering a diversity of topics (but still promoting open source journals as much as possible).
  • More more, and more diverse subject areas - gender, ethnicity
  • TWL needs to reach to more folks globally. So more can participate, share their ideas and get benefits.
  • TWL has to go beyond being English centric and beyond merely having access to journals - there is too much that is locked away in books that are hard to access.

Library outreach[edit]

A vocal minority wanted stronger and deeper connections with our partner, community, university, and local libraries and librarians.

Quote highlights
  • Connect with the ALA. Connect with the SAA. Wikipedia increases visibility and can really help libraries and archives.
  • There are many existing libraries that answer questions by e-mail and phone. Partnering with specific libraries, and posting their information at WikiProject pages, could make answering questions more efficient.
  • There are research services in many countries that will photocopy or scan material from a network of physical libraries. Either such services should be hired for certain requests or such a system be built from scratch using volunteers.
  • *I think the outreach to brick&mortar libraries is a good a bridge to these institutions to show them that Wikipedia, even though it is an open-access project that anyone can edit, is not an enemy to careful & thoughtful research


Many editors wanted to know more about The Wikipedia Library, to see it better promoted within the community, especially opportunities for signup opportunities.

Quote highlights
  • Greater participation, more community discussion, more attention from outside Wikipedia

Community organizing[edit]

Most were quite pleased with the community and project facilitation thus far and heartily encouraged further expansion in the direction TWL has been heading. A sense of possibility and eagerness filled many comments, as well as a yearning for a stronger sense of community around the library and our research efforts.

Quote highlights
  • I'm quite impressed by this work!
  • I have just heard about Wikipedia Library, and REALLY like the direction that is inferred by the survey.
  • I like that you're trying innovative ideas
  • I like that TWL has the opportunity to improve our research opportunities, and the fact that other volunteers have taken it upon themselves to manage these opportunities.
  • TWL builds community, it gives legitimacy to both Wikipedia and research, and it provokes discussion
  • I like: Its potential...Its existence...That it exists!...That it exists is fairly amazing in itself, that it has opened doors to closed areas for research is another amazing outcome.
  • The idea is terrific. Once this comes together the quality of our articles should go up noticeably.
  • What can I say about something that keeps getting better and better?
  • So far its better than anything I could come up with and its doing a better job than I had imagine...
  • Thanks for making The Wikipedia Library a reality, guys! I look forward to seeing what it becomes.
  • This project's work is among the most valuable on Wikipedia! Thanks so much to all who are involved.

Wikipedia Library Highlights[edit]

  • Account coordinators: TWL is grateful to have two Wikipedians helping out with accounts dispersal. Nikkimaria will be vetting and awarding HighBeam and Credo accounts, and ChrisGualtieri will handle Questia account requests. Thanks to both for joining the TWL team. As a result of the above, backlogs of applications at HighBeam and Questia have been cleared!
  • New donor relationships:Although we have no new partnerships to announce this month, we are in discussions with several database providers about some exciting prospective donations for 2014, including EBSCO, ProQuest, New York Times, and LexisNexis. Talks are ongoing with JSTOR to extend and expand that program.
  • Available accounts: Free accounts are still available with HighBeam, Questia, and Cochrane. Please spread the world to any colleagues who might not have heard about the opportunities.
  • Metrics! TWL also welcomes Johnuniq as our metrics coordinator; he has already done much valuable metrics work for TWL in the past.
  • Survey: A big thanks to those who completed our survey last month. This data is valuable not only for guiding the future of TWL, but also to potential new partners who want to know more about TWL and what our editors want in terms of database access. Take a look at the results here
  • Grant report: TWL Coordinator Ocaasi has submitted his final report for the Individual Engagement Grant which funded TWL for 2013. You can read it on Meta here. To help TWL expand in 2014, an extension request has been submitted. Please feel free to add comments and feedback in the bottom section.
  • Wikipedia Visiting Scholars: There are currently 2 Wikipedia Visiting Scholar positions open (George Mason University, University of California Riverside). These are lightweight Wikipedian-in-Residence-like positions, but they're remote, unpaid, and the whole point is to get you library catalogue access so you can write articles. Please signup, and more positions are in development.

Excitement upcoming[edit]

  • ALA midwinter meeting: We're presenting at the world's largest Library Association alongside the world's largest library cooperative, with planned attendance from several of the top librarians at the top universities in the world. We'll be discussing the Wikipedia Visiting Scholar program, an initiative like Wikipedian-in-Residence but more focused on library access and article writing. (Editors can signup to be a Visiting Scholar now, and more partnerships are being developed.
  • Library Journal/TheDigitalShift article: We're approved to run a feature article in two of the leading library and library tech publications in the world. We will run this online and hopefully in print as well between Dec-Feb.
  • Partner call blitz: We have 20 top contacts prioritized by editor interest. In January Pat and Jake are hosting an outreach drive, contacting each of the top partners our editors have expressed a desire for.
  • New metrics: We will have demonstrated impact with Cochrane, Questia, and JSTOR, giving us new numbers to validate the impact of our donation partnerships.

Spotlight on people: I JethroBT and Wiki Loves Libraries[edit]

Meetup at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library

I JethroBT has been editing en.wp since 2006. In October, he, along with Keilana, organized an edit-a-thon at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library in Chicago, Illinois. This was I JethroBT’s first event, and he was kind enough to share his experiences with Books and Bytes. Excerpts from our interview follow.

How did you initially get in touch with the library?

Keilana, another Chicago-area Wikipedian, heard that I was interested in doing some outreach with Wikipedia, or maybe organizing an event in a local library. She was already planning on contacting Pritzker, and I asked if could come along. We met with the head librarian, Teri Embrey, and had a great initial conversation about a potential GLAM partnership. I pitched an idea for an edit-a-thon as well, and they were receptive to both ideas. They have an impressive collection, but don’t have great exposure to the public.

Did the library staff have any reservations about your proposal?

They were a little hesitant about what the expectations might be, and also about working with volunteers. They were expecting some sort of endorsement or partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation, something official. We had to explain that this wasn’t the WMF’s role, and that these partnerships usually begin from informal contact with volunteers. To meet their desire for some documentation, I prepared a memorandum of understanding (M.O.U.), outlining what we would provide, and what we would expect from the library. We agreed to train one of their interns on how to navigate Wikipedia and upload images and documents. We would also assist in making and uploading content relating to the library’s holdings ourselves. A lot of our work was on artists, as well as working with the library’s collection of 20th century war posters and documents. We offered ourselves as general resources for the library staff to use when dealing with Wikimedia projects.

In return, we asked that the library release some of its images under a Creative Commons free license of a sufficiently high resolution that they could be used for a variety of uses. The library was leery of releasing full resolution versions under such a license, so we agreed on a medium resolution. Some colleagues advised pushing hard for high-resolution versions, but I felt compromising on this was in the interests of a good, long-term relationship with the institution.

How did you structure the edit-a-thon?

An image uploaded at the event

As military history is the focus of the collection, I wanted to make that a theme of the event. I didn’t have a lot of experience working with MilHist articles, and I was aware that this is one of the better-covered areas of Wikipedia. But I recognized that there are still holes and biases in our coverage, and Pritzker has an excellent collection on women in wartime. I noticed that some of the library’s exhibits were on people or topics not well covered on WP. So I wanted this to be a focus of the meetup.

But when the event was actually happening, I told participants that while we encourage them to work on topics related to women in wartime, they weren’t obligated to do so. If there was something else that interested them, say topics related to Chicago, they should work on that. My main emphasis was that we were here in a specialized library with access to resources not available otherwise, and that we should make the most of them while we were there.

How much content resulted from the edit-a-thon? As you can see from the project page, the edit-a-thon resulted in three new articles: The Sacred Twenty, Jeanne Vertefeuille and Anna Baetjer (which went to DYK). We added content to a few existing articles. Luckily, a few participants were excited about images, so we were able to upload a nice collection from the library’s image repository.

What was the attendance for the event?

We had about ten people attending. We also had a local reporter show up – this was surprising since we hadn’t contacted any press! She had a lot of interesting questions about Wikipedia in general, and Keilana and I were able to illuminate some aspects of the project. She registered an account and did some editing.

One thing I noticed after the event is that it was quite easy to get new people registered and started with editing, it’s another thing to get them contributing afterwards.

An aspect I was very happy with was the connection made by existing editors who hadn’t interacted before as a result of the meetup. While I realize that social connections are secondary to the goal of creating an encyclopedia, I think that relationships between colleagues are really important, and real-life meetups can create bonds between editors. It can keep people emotionally invested in the projects.

Is there something you would do differently next time, or anything you would avoid when setting up another event?


I prepared a very basic survey for feedback after the event, and I did feel I should have constructed this better to get more concrete data about how it went. It would have been nice to put together a proper program evaluation for others to use, and to share ideas that worked.

Prior to the event, I had difficulty finding good resources on best practices when forming a partnership like this. Sarah Stierch pointed me to some useful pages, but it would be nice to have a detailed guide for event organizers. I was worried when preparing the M.O.U. about what sort of responsibilities I was getting myself into.

What could libraries do to make these events more successful?

One thing that could have benefited our event is more publicity. This would bring in more non-Wikipedian participants. I had hoped the library would reach out to its patrons a bit more, and really engage with some of their own community about the idea. There was also a scheduling conflict where many of the library’s volunteer staff were gone at another event, so weren’t able to take part. It would have been great to work with those people as well.

The library did generously provide everyone with free food, which was wonderful. They catered a lunch for us, which probably helped get more participation. Librarians also helped us locate materials and navigate the holdings. We also were given a free tour of the library’s special collections, and we were able to spend some time with Pritzker's very knowledgeable archivist.

What are some fond memories from the edit-a-thon?

One of our favorite images was a WWI poster about getting protein from sources other than meat, namely cottage cheese. We all got a kick out this. We’ve incorporated this in a couple WP articles. We were also very impressed with ourselves after getting the news reporter to open an account! The participants had a pleasant dinner afterwards, and I hope that the contacts we made will lead to more meetups and projects.

Books & Bytes Briefly[edit]

  • The US National Archives is offering a new virtual internship program for Wikipedians: [2].
  • The Computer History Museum, located in the Silicon Valley, California is seeking a Digital Archivist: [3]
  • WikiData started a Periodicals Task force: Periodicals Task Force.
  • Wikimedia UK arranged a Wikipedian-in-Residence at the Royal Society. User:Johnbod is taking the spot: [4]
  • The Ada Lovelace Academy opened a digital school for young adults: [5]
  • The British Library donated a million public-domain images: [6] [7]. Talks are underway for how to catalogue and integrate these images on Commons: [8].
  • The National Museum of Korea announce high quality images of 7,300 artifacts would be released, and thousands pages of old books: [9]
  • The European Commission launches pilot to open up publicly funded research data: [10]
  • The Paleobiology Database is now CC BY: [11]. UNESCO launched a CC Open Access Repository: [12].
  • BioMed Central moves to CC BY 4.0 and CC0 for data: [13].
  • Norway will begin digitizing every book in its National Library and making free to access for any Norwegian citizen with a Norwegian IP address: [14]
  • The Open Knowledge Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with the BBC (BBC did so as well with the Europeana Foundation, the Open Data Institute and the Mozilla Foundation: [15]
  • UK students David Carroll and Joseph McArthur's Open Access Button is developing: [16].
  • The US Department of Defense signed an exclusive agreement to license public domain archives: [17]
  • Elsevier issued takedown notices to professors posting copies of their papers on research sharing site [18]
  • Ann Okerson wrote a great reflection about the state of open access: [19]. The Open Science Center interviewed leading OA advocates as well: [20]. Dan Cohen considered "CC-0 (+BY) as an ideal system for freedom with optional 'ethical' attribution: [21].
  • NISO published a best practices guideline proposal for html metadata to identify the accessibility and reuse rights of a work: [22]. (Compare with WikiProject Open Access' Open access signalling pilot idea.)
  • Neat TED talk on the future of libraries in the 21st century: [23]
  • Out of 31 "informational world cities", a German survey of libraries by the University of Düsseldorf ranked two Canadian library systems, Vancouver and Montreal, as the best in the world: [24]
  • Open Data Day is coming, February 22: [25]

Further reading[edit]

There's lots of great digital library information online. Check out these neat resources for more library exploring.

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