News and notes
NPG copyright irony; Citizendium's finances; Credo accounts donated; brief news
"Copyright irony": UK's National Portrait Gallery appears to have copied from Wikipedia without permission
On WikiEN-l, Scott MacDonald reported that the National Portrait Gallery website has copied text from the Wikipedia article for the Baroque portrait artist John Michael Wright for its own entry (WebCite) on the painter (another entry was suspected to have similar problems). Following investigations on the talk page, it turns out that MacDonald's allegations are well-founded. The Wikipedia article—which happens to be today's Featured Article on the main page—was edited in 2007/2008 to incrementally reach the current wording, while the National Portrait Gallery website added the material much later than that. Such reuse is allowed, but must be accompanied with the appropriate attribution under the terms of Wikipedia's copyleft Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, whereas the NPG's entry claims "© National Portrait Gallery, London 2011".
The National Portrait Gallery have previously raised the threat of a lawsuit in English courts against Derrick Coetzee, a Wikipedia and Commons administrator, who had made a bot that copied photographs of out-of-copyright paintings from the gallery website and uploaded them to Commons (see Signpost coverage from 2009-07-13). While the case of Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. makes such copying legal under U.S. law, it is unclear whether the photographs the NPG had made of the artworks had copyright in the United Kingdom.
Citizendium releases financial statement
The Management Council of Citizendium, an English wiki encyclopedia project like Wikipedia but with "gentle expert guidance", started by Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger in 2006, has released a financial statement. After changing hosting providers, the monthly cost of hosting the site has dropped from around $700 a month to $319.90. The site's current funds stand at $2,092.17 and thus the hosting of the site is paid for until September.
After the financial problems the Management Council inherited were revealed in November, there was a successful donation drive which raised $2,776.09 that month, and a further $934.33 in December. The Council have stated they are hoping to get a number of regular donors (between 20 and 30) to give between $11.25 and $17 a month to host the site. Three contributors have agreed to this, although as the active user base is around 70 (down from a high of 200), finding enough to support the site may prove difficult unless a corporate or non-profit benefactor steps in.
It was mooted after the financial revelations in November that the Wikimedia Foundation could support Citizendium, although Sanger quickly rejected the suggestion. Citizendium also has yet to work out how to incorporate itself as a new legal entity now that it has broken links with the Tides Foundation. The lack of incorporated non-profit status means contributions are not tax-deductible, which may reduce the number of larger donations.
400 Credo accounts for Wikipedians
This week, Wikipedians will be able to apply for an account on Credo Reference (formerly Xrefer), a subscription-based reference site that contains full text articles from a variety of different publishers and reference works (listed here). To give some examples, a search on a medical topic might bring up results from the Royal Society of Medicine Health Encyclopedia, the Cambridge Dictionary of Scientists, Black's Medical Dictionary and the Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia, while a search for a German philosopher brought up results from the Chambers Biographical Dictionary, Who's Who in Christianity, and the Encyclopedia of German Literature. Interestingly, topic pages on Credo reuse images from Wikimedia Commons, and Credo has announced that their topic pages are "The Librarian’s Answer to Wikipedia".
Wikipedians who do not already have access to Credo or a similar database through library or university subscriptions will be able to apply for an account donated by Credo starting at 22:00 UTC on Wednesday at Wikipedia:Credo accounts (WP:CREDO). The criteria include having a working e-mail address setup, to have 3,000 non-minor edits to article space and to have been involved in Featured Article or Good Article writing or reviewing, or being active in a content-focused WikiProject.
Credo Reference previously donated 100 user accounts in March 2010.
- Wikimedia conference: The Wikimedia Conference 2011 is going to be held this week, joining representatives of Wikimedia chapters and the Foundation in Berlin (schedule). It also includes the first physical meeting of the Wikimedia Board of Trustees since October (proposed agenda).
- Wikipedian in Residence at US National Archives: The US National Archives and Records Administration (which recently hosted Wikipedians for a one-day conference in Washington D.C. celebrating Wikipedia's tenth anniversary, see Signpost coverage) have announced that they are seeking a Wikipedian in Residence, a student internship this summer (Application + details, PDF)
- Pending Changes RfC: Following two earlier phases, a third phase of preparations for a Request for Comment about the future of the Pending Changes feature has begun.
- Foundation looking for "Community liaison" and other staff: The Wikimedia Foundation posted several new Job openings last week. These include the new position of "Community Liaison", a 3–12 month job which will be filled by an "experienced Wikimedian with established contacts within the community", who will be tasked with being "a friendly face who is never 'too busy' to talk with contributors who have genuine questions or issues for the Foundation. The liaison steps into difficult discussions to explain details and context to staff and contributors to promote mutual understanding and healthy communication." Another new position, also aimed at experienced Wikimedians, is a year-round Fundraiser Production Coordinator.
- "Wiki-love" blog started: Community-elected Wikimedia Trustee Samuel Klein (User:Sj) last week started a blog at WikiLove.in which intends "to chronicle the joyful aspects of Wiki nature".
- Board election suffrage: Discussions on who should be entitled to vote in this year's elections for the three community-selected seats of the Wikimedia Board of Trustees have started on meta and Foundation-l.
- IRC office hours: The log of the March 18 IRC office hour with Sue Gardner has been published. Much of the conversation concerned the recently published results of the "Editor Trends Study", and topics like newbie-friendliness and usability.
- WMF report for February: The Wikimedia Foundation's report for February has been published. Apart from items previously reported in the Signpost, it contains a summary of the "Data Summit", and the first edition of "diversity stats" compiled by the Human Resources Department about the composition of the Foundation's staff: Of its 63 employees, 42.9% were female, 31.8% were "ethnic minorities", 38.1% were foreign nationals and 42.9% were "Wikimedians".
- Gender gap discussions: Debates on the Wikimedia Foundation's "Gendergap" mailing list, started around the beginning of February to discuss the problem of low female participation on Wikipedia, heated up recently following a proposal to exclude men from the list, which was rejected. Also last week, Sue Gardner answered several general questions by a list participant about possible sexism and harassment on Wikipedia, and the Foundation's efforts to reduce the gender gap. She rejected the assumption that female contributors were "likely to be subject to chronic sexist remarks", saying she believed "that Wikimedians are significantly less overtly, explicitly sexist than non-Wikimedians. Many, many online cultures are blatantly misogynist: Wikimedia IMO is not. ... That doesn't mean we don't behave in ways that deter women's participation: I think it's obvious that we do". She also stated that an upcoming editor survey will include "a half-dozen questions about gender and sexism".
Output of the "The Book" tool
- Ideas for Wikipedia: A "Wiki Academy" held at Bristol University on March 19 asked "How can we make Wikipedia better?", collecting various ideas.
- Aesthetic excerpts: German Wikipedia Stefan Kühn has written a Toolserver tool that "shows your Wikipedia like a printed lexicon book", in a two-column layout with articles reduced to their first paragraph - example for the English Wikipedia (review by Sj). Another new tool by Magnus Manske somewhat similarly reduces a Wikipedia article to a lede, a thumbnail image from the article and a link to the full article (review by Sj).
Explore Wikipedia history by browsing The Signpost archives