News and notes
Wikimedia fellow working on cultural collaborations; video animation about Wikipedia; brief news
Wikimedia Foundation announces "GLAM fellow" working on cultural partnerships
Liam Wyatt (User:Witty lama) has become the sixth recipient of a Wikimedia fellowship, for a one-year project (until December 2011) where he "will be working to build the capacity of the Wikimedia community to undertake partnerships with cultural institutions – known as GLAMs [Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums] a term he popularized", according to the announcement by the Wikimedia Foundation's Human Resources Manager Daniel Phelps. A Wikipedian since 2005, Wyatt has been doing volunteer work in this area for two years. He convened the "GLAM-WIKI" conferences in Australia (2009, Signpost coverage), and the UK (2010, Signpost coverage), and a Wikipedia workshop at the "Museums and the Web 2010" conference (Signpost coverage). Also in 2010, he volunteered five weeks as "Wikipedian in Residence" at the British Museum, a pilot project to facilitate collaboration between Wikimedians and the institution (see Signpost coverage).
Witty lama, who is currently based in Sydney, has also been the Vice President of the Australian Wikimedia chapter, and one of the hosts of the "Wikipedia Weekly" podcast.
Through his blog post last November, entitled "How to make cultural collaborations scale?", concerns were voiced that "the sheer number of collaboration projects being offered to us" meant that many such opportunities would be irreparably wasted unless there was a "consistent, easily findable, and easy to understand processes for handling potential partnerships when they are presented to us". He added that we must put in place processes to "scale-up our capacity to professionally manage" collaborations, whilst being "consistent with the grassroots nature of Wikimedia projects."
Work on documenting such processes has now started on the Outreach wiki (with http://glamwiki.org/ as a shortcut), where a "WMF Fellow's to do list" has been developed since December 20. The page also features a "'This month in GLAM' report". Volunteers will be invited to collaborate on improving the "Guide to batch uploading" on Commons during the next one or two weeks. In February, Liam Wyatt will travel to India (like other WMF staff before him), meeting with Wikimedians in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi to explore collaboration possibilities with GLAM institutions there.
Watch for an interview with Liam in an upcoming issue of the Signpost.
Video animation illustrates "The State of Wikipedia"
A 3:43 minutes long video titled "The State of Wikipedia", narrated by Jimmy Wales and produced by Washington D.C. based creative agency JESS3, was published last week on video sharing sites and on http://www.thestateofwikipedia.com/, under a CC-BY-SA license. It illustrates the history of Wikipedia with colorful animated computer graphics (some stills), accompanied by quirky electronic music. On its inception, Wales said that "As a founder of Nupedia, I led the group to establish a farm team of sorts for future Nupedia articles. We used a new software platform to make collaboration easy - the wiki; Wikipedia." Wales also commented about his current role on Wikipedia and the importance of the Foundation ("I still lead the community, and the Wikimedia Foundation helps us to make Wikipedia what it is today"), and looked into the future: "There has never been anything like Wikipedia before, and its future horizon is very very long."
On the company's blog, Leslie Bradshaw and Becca Colbaugh from JESS3 explained that the video was "aimed at teaching the layperson Wikipedia’s initial concept and consequent evolution into becoming one of the most visited web sites across the globe", and that it had been developed over months together with the Foundation, as the company's gift to Wikipedia on its tenth anniversary. Wikipedian William Beutler (User:WWB) was involved in the project as an Executive Producer. On YouTube, the video had received almost 83,000 views at the time of writing.
- Public Policy project participants profiled: On the Wikimedia Foundation's official blog, "a series of profiles of students’ experiences on Wikipedia when participating in the Public Policy Initiative during the fall term" has started. The first two postings feature SoAuthentic from Syracuse University , who contributed significantly to the articles Cyber ShockWave and Homeland Security Act, and continued to edit after the end of term (one of his articles is currently nominated for deletion), and Cannondale0702 from Georgetown University, who wrote the article Obesity in the Middle East and North Africa.
- Wikimedia in Brazil: The Wikimedia Foundation's Head of Business Development Kul Wadhwa gave a presentation about Wikipedia at the Campus Party event in Brazil on January 21. It was followed by an editing competition with the main prize being the opportunity to shave the head of a Campus Party employee. Brazil is one of the countries of the "Global South" which are being explored for a possible expansion of the Foundation, after India.
- Wikimania scholarships: Harel Cain from Wikimedia Israel has reminded prospective attendants of this year's Wikimania in Haifa that the main scholarship application process for the event ends on January 31.
- IRC Office hours: Sue Gardner will resume her IRC office hours (a public chat) on January 27 at 18:00 UTC.
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