Books & Bytes
Volume 1, Issue 2
by The Interior (talk · contribs), Ocaasi (talk · contribs)
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Wikipedia Library highlights
New accounts survey
TWL is in discussions with several database providers to start new pilot programs for research account donations. Two of the largest research database organizations in the world, EBSCO Publishing and ProQuest, are both interested in learning which of their database services Wikipedians would be most interested in receiving. TWL has put together a survey to help with this, as well as gather more general information about usage, editor satisfaction and the direction Wikipedians would like to see their library moving in. The brief Google Forms survey takes 5-10 minutes, and will be sent out this week to TWL subscribers.
JSTOR expired, extended
The JSTOR pilot program, which gave 100 free accounts to top article writers, expired this month. Thanks to Steven Walling, an extension until the end of January was secured. Talks with JSTOR are ongoing to keep this valuable resource available free of charge to editors. Sign up for JSTOR.
New data from the Credo Partnership showed a 500% increase in links to the site in total since the program began. With much larger numbers in general, and a shorter time frame, the HighBeam increase of 390% as of May 2013 is also of interest. Special thanks to Johnuniq for compiling this data. If you are data-inclined, TWL always needs help compiling statistics. These stats are useful not only to our current partners, but also to encouraging prospective new partners to make donations.
Help Needed: TWL Account Coordinator
TWL is seeking a manager for the coordinated dispersal of donated accounts. The role involves watchlisting the application pages, vetting candidates using a fairly simple set of requirements (1 year activity, 1000 edits on any Wikimedia projects, having email enabled and an expressed desire to use the account for article work), and then emailing the access codes to users. As it stands, this would be not more 1-2 hours of work a week (though it will when new accounts are announced). Great communication and responsiveness so that subscribers get prompt replies to their applications is a must. If you are interested, please get in touch with The Interior or Ocaasi. Apply to be the new Account Coordinator.
Wikipedia Visiting Scholars
Along with the announcement of a position at George Mason University, a second institution plans to host a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar placement - University of California at Riverside Library. More details on this partnership should be announced in December and over a dozen universities are interested in attending an information session about the program in January. Also in December, George Mason will be seeking applications for their position. For more information on the Visiting Scholar program, see WP:WVS. Sign up to be a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar.
TWL presents: American Library Association's mid-winter meeting
The ALA is the largest library organization in the U.S. TWL has been accepted to present at their mid-winter conference in Philadelphia on January 25th from 1:30 to 3:00pm. The session will introduce academic librarians from around the country to the role Wikipedia can play in learning and research. We will use the session both to introduce TWL's mission and scope, and then to kick-off the Wikipedia Visiting Scholars program with an overview of the initiative and plenty of time for planning and questions. Over a dozen top universities have expressed interest in attending, which bodes very well for the future placing Wikipedians in official research affiliate positions.
New Talk: The Future of Libraries and Wikipedia
Ocaasi gave the first presentation of The Future of Libraries and Wikipedia to George Mason University. GMU Professor and THATcamp coordinator Amanda French brought students and librarians together for the event. The talk highlights the mission and pillars of Wikipedia, the Wikipedia Library's 5 goals, and 13 ways to explore the question, What if Wikipedia's was the internet's library?
Spotlight on people: Another Believer and Wiki Loves Libraries
Books & Bytes was pleased to interview two of the community’s Wiki Loves Libraries event coordinators, IJethroBT and AnotherBeliever. This fall, both organised edit-a-thons, one in Chicago, and others in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. For this issue, we will present Another Believer’s interview. Be sure to catch the December issue to hear about IJethroBT’s experiences.
Another Believer is Jason Moore, a Wikipedian based in Portland, Oregon. He works on articles on music and the arts, among other topics, and has been editing since 2007. He has organized three library-related edit-a-thons in the Portland area. His most recent event was at the Vancouver Community Library.
What first attracted you to organising WLL events?
- My introduction to "real life" Wikipedia activity was an invitation to participate in an outreach project at the Wikimedia Foundation offices in San Francisco in 2010, followed by the Wikipedia 10 celebration in Portland, Oregon in 2011. From then on, I was hooked. I had found a community where my obsession with research, writing and the mission of Wikipedia required no explaining. I continued attending meetups and networking with Wikipedians, both online and offline. It was at Wikimania in Washington, D.C. where I received a thorough introduction to the GLAM-Wiki initiative, which promotes collaboration between the Wikipedia community and cultural institutions. Later that year, I was invited to help Multnomah County Library host an edit-athon at Portland's Central Library. The opportunity was appealing, giving purpose for a local meetup and a way for me to trial collaborating with a cultural institution.
In your opinion, are library edit-a-thons a good way to recruit new editors?
- Absolutely. There are always challenges with recruiting and retaining editors, but it certainly makes sense for the largest and most popular reference work on the Internet to collaborate with institutions that exist to collect and make information resources available to the public. People who visit their local libraries might be the type of individuals who enjoy conducting research, or see value in sharing information. Libraries and Wikipedia both have an educational component, and partnering with cultural institutions certainly brings legitimacy to the latter. Even with limited resources, libraries have the ability to assist with outreach efforts and organizing meetups.
At your events, do you see more brand new editors, or editors with some prior experience?
Recent Vancouver, WA event, organized by Another Believer
- Events tend to attract both new and experienced editors. Often I distribute invitations to meetups on-wiki, which obviously attracts people who have already created accounts and have a habit of checking their talk page, even if only occasionally. Brand new editors are usually attracted by the institution itself, whether the participants are curious staff, volunteers, or members of the public. Generally, forms of outreach by the library include event listings on the website and event calendar, on-site signage, and perhaps a regional library newsletter.
What can libraries do to make WLL events more successful?
- Offer incentives to increase traffic. These do not have to be costly or complicated. Perhaps a behind-the-scenes tour of the library, or a promotional partnership with another institution. For example, how cool would it be if a library associated with an art museum offered free admission to a special exhibit? Or a staff member offered a private tour of the permanent collection, followed by an edit-athon where Wikipedians wrote articles about notable artists or works of art? There are ways to make editing interactive and fun. At the library events I have attended, librarians have been great about being prepared and having select resources pulled from the shelves and available for attendees. This eliminates the need for editors to spend time searching for materials.
You have organised several events over the years. How has your methodology changed since your first event?
- My methodology has changed little. The process begins with contact and planning with the institution, outreach and invitation distribution to Wikipedians and the public, and a request for educational and/or promotional materials from the Wikimedia Foundation. It is important to make sure the event space can accommodate a group of reasonable size and provides enough electrical outlets. Refreshments and extra laptops are not required, but always appreciated. The day of the event, I greet my contact(s), set up the space, distribute materials and generally make myself available to participants. Sometimes there is a specific agenda, but often there are enough new contributors that much of my time is spent answering questions, registering new users, providing an overview of Wikipedia, and helping with first edits.
- My methods have not changed, but I have learned that sometimes it can be beneficial to market some events to experienced Wikipedians and others to new users; mixing the two groups is never problematic, but new and experienced contributors have different motivations for attending. A group of experienced users can quickly generate content and collaborate on more challenging tasks, while new users often require lots of attention. I appreciate both groups, but recognize that mixing them does not always create the most productive environment.
How have library staff responded to your event proposals?
- Librarians have responded positively, but I must confess that for each of the three library events that I have hosted, I was invited by the librarians themselves. I am willing to conduct outreach, but more often my problem is that I receive more invitations than I can accommodate. Regardless of the method of contact, the librarians I have worked with express an appreciation for Wikipedia and an understanding that this online reference work is unavoidable, serving an important purpose in our society. In each case, I felt that the librarians trusted my abilities and appreciated my willingness to collaborate with their institution.
Which works better – a focused approach (“We will work on X,Y, and Z during the edit-a-thon”) or a looser approach (“Just drop by and work on what you want to”)?
- This is a great question, but one I find difficult to answer. Both approaches can work well, depending on who is in attendance and the general purpose of the event. If content generation is the goal, focus is better. For a general meetup, or an advertised "introduction to Wikipedia," a looser approach is more appropriate.
What are some things to avoid when hosting an event?
- When I host an event, I assume the role of facilitator. I do not dictate how the meetup should be, or set firm expectations. I would never make anyone feel out of line for expressing their opinion, or stupid for asking questions.
If you had one piece of advice for a new WLL event organiser, what would it be?
- Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to attend GLAM Boot Camp in Washington, D.C., where a guest speaker expressed the following words of wisdom that resonated with me: "one is better than none." In the context of event organizing, this means that there is nothing wrong with simply proposing and time and location for a meetup and then seeing if others are willing to join. It might take a few attempts to mobilize a small community. If I had a second piece of advice, it would be to have a good relationship with the librarian(s) or other contacts involved, make sure expectations are set, and align your reasons for hosting the event.
Upcoming in December: Wiki Loves Libraries events
- If you're hosting a library event in December or January, please add it to collaborations page on Outreach Wiki and we'll put it in the newsletter!
Books & Bytes Briefly
- OA Button Goes live: Open-Access Button, a new lightweight set of browser extensions to highlight when readers hit academic paywalls was released this month. You can get the button and let the world know when journal paywalls inhibit the free flow of knowledge and research.
- OAuth released: The Wikimedia Foundation finished its implementation of OAuth. This has big implications for TWL research access integration, because it would let editors sign into third-party websites using only their Wikipedia login. The WMF blog has the details.
- TWL Logo? A discussion was started about a TWL Logo, thinking about adapting existing community logos or starting from scratch. TWL would like to host a new logo competition in the next few months. Please join the discussion.
- The Wikipedia Adventure game goes beta: A new game which teaches how to edit Wikipedia in about an hour was released this week. TWA may be useful to librarians, education classes, and editathons as a friendly and interactive introduction to Wikipedia's technical, social, and policy best practices. Play The Wikipedia Adventure.
- Diversity Conference in Berlin: Hosted by WMDE, the event kicked off a global push to add Diversity to Wikipedia contributors and content at the first ever Wikimedia Diversity Conference. WMF blog has a nice overview of the event. You can sign on to the intiative at Meta:Diversity. TWL is always interested in ways to broaden our community and our content with better outreach and research.
- Open access and museums: The Mellon Foundation published Images of Works of Art in Museum Collections: The Experience of Open Access A Study of 11 Museums. Read the full report (pdf).
There's lots of great digital library information online. Check out these neat resources for more library exploring.