Wikipedia talk:GLAM getting started/Pre-formation archive

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Discussion originally at User talk:Witty lama/Sandbox

Great start[edit]

Good to see this starting up. I can't criticize anything that's only 1 day old, but if I had 2 criticisms they would be: 1) you're starting big and comprehensive - my experience is that things get big and comprehensive very quickly all by themselves on Wikipedia. Keep it short and simple for now. 2) this is "what can Wikipedia do for GLAMs" - why not also include "What can GLAMs do for Wikipedia." Contradictory advice, I know.


Smallbones (talk) 14:44, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps a WikiProject to help with assistance?[edit]

Perhaps we could develop a WikiProject to help with assistance to GLAM representatives. It would also be useful I think if we had a userbox for GLAM representatives so members of the WikiProject could could follow their editing, and help when they run into some of the elements on Wikipedia who may not understand as well that we have to give GLAMs a helping hand.--Pharos (talk) 22:53, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

This may become a Wikiproject, maybe even a m:wikipod, it might develop a "GLAM/Noticeboard" sub page or it might become a FA drive. Not sure yet :-). I do like the idea of the userbox for GLAM reps. That's a very good idea. Could you create one? Witty Lama 00:31, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
FYI: It looks like the link should be m:WikiPods. Johnuniq (talk) 01:30, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
OK, I've started something at Template:User GLAM rep.--Pharos (talk) 02:58, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see that User:Graeme Bartlett has already put this on his userpage, in his own particular capacity as a "representative of the Universe" to the GLAM project :) Which is fun and fine for now, but it reminds me, that we should probably also have some kind of maintained list of GLAM reps, similar to the one linked from Template:User wikipedia/Administrator, where you get the full list by clicking the "verify" link.--Pharos (talk) 05:05, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
When others start using the template I will have to narrow my scope a bit, and change over to someone willing to help out a LAM or GLAM, rather than representing one. So perhaps we need a userbox for helpers in various capacities. The WP:AFC team would be willing to assist in creating articles and picture uploads. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 10:05, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
I recommend we create a user category for GLAM reps and maybe another for helpers. I didn't do it yet because we need to figure out a good short name. Most other categories don't have acronyms like GLAM. Also, if we do create a wikiproject, we could base the name on that. UncleDouggie (talk) 00:49, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I like the idea of a userbox for people to quickly identify their potential CoI and introduce themselves, but I don't think it's a good idea to be proscriptive and have a registered list of 'confirmed GLAM reps' or something like that. We don't want to make it look proscriptive. Also, I think the naming issue is significant, I'll start a new thread of discussion at the bottom about that. Witty Lama 02:15, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
I accept your argument that a user category for the reps isn't a good idea. However, I think that a category for helpers could be useful. --UncleDouggie (talk) 03:14, 18 October 2009 (UTC)


In the contact area we could include some real user volunteers who will talk to the people who use this page, they could be some people from the above project. There could be people who specialise in different fields, eg a language or a type -eg art. Possibly mention some areas that could assist such as WP:Drawing board or WP:Help desk Graeme Bartlett (talk) 12:26, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Yes, contact could include on-wiki individuals who are good/interested in a particular areas. It could also include nocticeboards or other more anonymous things like OTRS. It could include more real-world things like chapters. Witty Lama 02:17, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Feedback from the industry[edit]

Here's some feedback I received from within the industry about this proposals, thanks, Witty Lama 05:11, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

1) The term 'gallery' has a very different connotation in US English where is essentially always refers to commercial galleries. Since some of the editors commenting on your proposals are accustomed to the US usage, it would be better if your discussion was limited to institutions which fit the ICOM definition of museums and the term 'gallery' was dropped (fyi - the sector in the US is called LAM). Those institutions that have the word "Gallery" in their names in the UK, Canada and Australia and fit the ICOM definition of museums consider themselves museums. (The opposite issue seems to effect the discussion of libraries and archives which seems limited to thinking about them as public institutions though most libraries or archives are not).

I'm not sure what to do about this, I personally think that "Gallery" is appropriate and is relevant to a worldwide view of the subject, but, if the industry don't see it that way (and this discussion is directed at the industry) should it be dropped? Witty Lama 05:11, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
I can confirm that "Gallery" does indeed have a mostly commercial connotation in the US, and not just among industry professionals. Also GLAM+galleries+libraries+archives+museums appears to get rather fewer hits than LAM+libraries+archives+museums, for whatever that is worth. Of course, we could always go the non-acronym route as well, with something plain like "Cultural institutions".--Pharos (talk) 00:48, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm fine with dropping galleries; I think it limits problems we might get with obviously commercial ventures. LAM gets 43K hits while MLA gets 923K and is clearly popular in the UK. We should probably still spell out "Museums, libraries and archives" in most places like user categories. UncleDouggie (talk) 01:21, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, it's three Anglophone countries, and three different obtuse acronyms then. For what it's worth, "MLA" is also skewed by its extremely common American academic use to stand for the Modern Language Association. But I am very much for spelling things out, and "Museums, libraries and archives" seems as good a representation as any.--Pharos (talk) 13:41, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I searched for the spelled out terms, not the acronyms. --UncleDouggie (talk) 00:27, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

2) There appears to be an inherent contradiction between the concept of "editing as a GLAM representative" and "edit as yourself", not as an institutional representative. It seems you really want people to be editing because they have expertise that can be contributed to Wikipedia and never as representatives per se so the heading "Principles of editing as a GLAM representative " on the sandbox page is misleading.

The reason for chosing the word "representative" rather than, say, "employee" was to include the possibility of Interns and to generally make it about the relationship with the institution rather than about money. This needs to be clarified. Witty Lama 05:11, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
I think the distinction that one is representing institutional expertise, not some business function, is an important one. Perhaps we could call them "ambassadors" or something if the other term would be felt to imply some sort of business or financial relationship.--Pharos (talk) 01:08, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Let's keep it simple: Curators UncleDouggie (talk) 01:21, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, "Curator" is also a very specific job title in the industry, and might be problematic for that reason (i.e., I can see people being upset if interns get to be called "Curators").--Pharos (talk) 12:53, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
This is why I added "curator's assistant" when I actually made the change. --UncleDouggie (talk) 00:27, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
Also, I'm afraid that we might be overinterpreting what is really a very narrow, geeky, aspect of the username policy. There really isn't any guideline against editing as an institutional representative, so long as the person is editing as an individual institutional representative, and in fact the public identification of someone's institutional attachments (and hence potential COI) is quite recommended.--Pharos (talk) 01:47, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Both of these problems, we think, need to be addressed by shifting the focus of the discussion from the person doing the editing to the content being added to Wikipedia and the kinds of sources that are acceptable in the encyclopedia.

Both are important due to the long-standing Wikipedia COI guideline. UncleDouggie (talk) 01:21, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Let's start with some basic premises:

  • Most notable achievements of human civilization and all areas of nature have experts who study them and work in museums (as defined by ICOM).
  • Much of the research data accumulated over decades and even centuries by these experts and their predecessors, is housed in museum records rather than in 'published ' literature.
  • Wikipedia could be enriched by contribution of this knowledge and links to these sources if the experts in the museum sector could contribute and point to objects in and cared for by museums and to these unpublished sources.

Here we encounter the fundamental question which you point to as the fundamental rule of editing: when we ask ourselves 'Will this edit improve the quality of Wikipedia' we need some guideline about what constitutes an improvement. Would more articles improve the encyclopedia? If so, more articles on what? Would more examples improve articles. If so, how do such examples get cited?

These questions arise precisely because the kind of infinitely expandable electronic encyclopedia that Wikipedia is has not been conceivable in the history of publishing. Before museum expertise on all sorts of matters of specialized knowledge can be released to 'improve' Wikipedia we will need some understanding of what constitutes improvement. Many of the other areas that are currently being debated constitute disputes over judgement, which will continue of course regardless of what we decide. But the most fruitful interpenetration of museum (and library/archive) knowledge into Wikipedia cannot take place without clearer guidelines about the character/level of appropriate articles.

I think all of this last section would be largely addressed if we included/updated good information about Notability criteria relevant to GLAMs. Witty Lama 05:11, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Let's create a subject-specific guideline for MLA notability, just as there is for music. We can make it a separate section in this sandbox document for now and see where it goes. We might eventually split it off into it's own page. I think the questions asked by the industry here are excellent and it would be good to work some of this text into the page itself to dispel the notion that we're just opening the spam flood gates here. One thing that would improve Wikipedia comes to mind immediately: more pictures! UncleDouggie (talk) 01:21, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I think Johbod's point below about items like the 1614 Low German Bible is a very important one. It seems to me that few industry professional are aware that notability criteria are based on verifiability, not "importance", and that even small museums, for example, probably have very many individual works of art which would merit an article here.--Pharos (talk) 14:33, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
The article history is now long, so this diff shows how the article originally was, & how not to do it. In fact it was fairly straightforward to repurpose the text. At least the article was a good length; a proliferation of short stubs is to be discouraged - we have too many already. Johnbod (talk) 14:30, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
I've added this to the page. Comments are welcome. --UncleDouggie (talk)
I wouldn't say this was a "frequent" problem/issue. I said below that the German Bible & the V&A additions were the only ones I could think of, & I have a pretty thorough knowledge of what articles we have on individual works of art, though I'm sure there are more created by MLA staff out there. I'd better start adding stuff to the page. Johnbod (talk) 23:28, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
I was merely predicting that with more MLA contributors it will become a frequent problem if we don't address it now. I'm open to other wording. --UncleDouggie (talk) 00:18, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
Personally I doubt it will be either frequent or problematic in the future. In fact the text clearly said it was already frequent, which it isn't. I've reworded it to a "potential" issue. Let's address the problems we have before worrying about those that might come in the future. Johnbod (talk) 03:25, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
Just as there is now a "library exception" in the CoI guidelines (and I believe this should be expanded to all cultural sector institutions including museums) there is definitely scope for a Notability guideline about objects in cultural institutions. I have been asked for precisely this but a prominent member of the museum sector. And, as mentioned above, it is not clear to the cultural sector whether we want articles about each object in their collection (e.g. each Roman vase) or an article "Roman vases in the Louvre" etc. So, I'm keen that we do have a section describing notability criteria as it relates to them. Witty Lama 03:20, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
<-- Outdent

The article subjects FAQ section is my first cut at this. Feel free to add more questions. If we develop enough unique material, we can break it out into a subject specific notability page as I proposed above. I decided to stick with the FAQ for now because the current material is more about how to interpret existing guidelines for MLA folks. --UncleDouggie (talk) 04:14, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

ok, some of my earlier comments related to the current situation, which is that we have relatively few articles on museum-type specific physical objects in Category:Works of art - by which I mean several hundred, or maybe a couple of thousand, but that isn't really many - most are paintings of course. The vast majority of these are or were far too incompetent to have been written, or at least started, by museum staff. We have 10 in Category:Individual ancient Greek vases (it was the Greeks who were the main vase makers). Most seem to be translations from the German WP, which has 19 in its category. How many vases are really notable in WP terms? Really there have not been enough borderline Afd cases for a consensus to emerge on the precise boundaries of notability for museum-type objects. Let's say maybe a few hundred. We could have articles on all these, but what we do not want is raw catalogue entries - in fact these are already almost all on the web from the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, which has c.100,000 catalogue items available online as photos of the printed copies, with a searchable database. But I would be very surprised if there is any appetite among museums to create actual articles on really large numbers of items - it is much, much too time-consuming. Nor is there anything like enough capacity among the existing WP editors to help significantly with this. What they may be thinking of doing is uploading their internal catalogue details onto WP without significant extra editing. This would be fine in the case of entries for exhibition catalogues or highlights books written for a general readership - in effect this is what the V&A has done. But such articles would still need a good deal of relatively informed (informed as to both the subject area and WP editing) hand-editing just to add the links, categories & so on. What we do not need is the more typical form of catalogue entry designed for specialists, with almost all contextual knowledge assumed. The Online Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, a searchable database of some of the western illuminated manuscripts in the British Library is an example of this sort of thing. At the moment we have very few articles of the "Foos collection of the Foo Museum" sort, and I think these are to be discouraged. We have sections on departmental collections in some museum articles, and articles on historic collections now incorporated in museum collections - see Category:Former private collections, but a plethora of articles on Greek vase collections in museums assembled haphazardly over long periods is not very encyclopedic. What we want are articles, or improved articles, on Greek vases in general, but I suspect the MLA community has little official interest in helping us there. There are some exceptions - for example an article on Australian prints in the National Gallery of Australia might not be very different from Australian printmaking, but this won't work as well for most areas. We would much prefer to have the generalized type of article. Articles ("Thematic Essays" they call 'em) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History are written generally, but naturally use examples from their own collection, & this sort of thing can be fine, and their articles are very frequently used as references. On notability, I still think the existing guidelines pretty much cover it, though a short entry in a complete internal departmental catalogue should not be enough to establish notability without additional significant coverage (the phrase in the guideline I think) in other sources. Notability has not been much of an issue in the past as very few people have attempted to write articles on objects of dubious notability, but with automated uploads this might well change. I'm still more concerned about the adequacy of the "articles" proposed, than notability. We have a lot of 2-line articles on paintings that are unquestionably notable - see Romulus and Remus (Rubens) and at a guess 90% of our articles on paintings are less than 400 words, although many do get expanded over time; the situation is perhaps a bit better for Category:Illuminated manuscripts and other types of object. As I've said in another section, if they want to bulk upload large numbers of item entries with little manual adaptation, Wikipedia is not the place. Wikisource perhaps is. Johnbod (talk) 22:04, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
I believe that, in general, we should be on the side of encouraging a greater experimentation with new articles on individual works of art, especially considering that there has been virtually no history of problems in this area. There is one sentence, which is there already, but which I believe should be expanded and perhaps expressed more forcefully: "Objects that have been published in an exhibition catalogue or scholarly book or article normally have no problems." This is incredibly important for MLA people to realize, that under this criteria even a relatively small museum would have hundreds of notable works of art. Of course, we should still say that we don't want 10,000 gallery labels or catalog entries, but I believe a change in emphasis is called for.--Pharos (talk) 00:18, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
I expanded the "What if I don't have enough evidence of notability?" section below that to give more specific examples, but more could be added. I also changed "famous works" to "objects well known within their field", as rather less subjective, and an easier standard to meet. But as I say above there are hardly any precedents at Afd that I am aware of for old art or archaeological objects, so to some extent I'm guessing what Afd results would be - there are quite a few for contemporary artworks, where simply being in a museum is a great help for Afd. In general I'm all for adding articles that are reasonably wikified & in reasonable numbers, but the though of waking up to find 1,000 Greek vases or old master drawings have been added overnight, without proper wikification, is a bit alarming. Personally I'd be sympathetic to articles on representative objects of many types in manageable numbers, or better yet articles on types of objects. I think the message overall on notability is positive in the page as it stands, so long as MLAs are ready to spend adequate time integrating & wikifying their raw material. But they must realize time does need to be spent on this. Johnbod (talk) 02:33, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
Hm, I see you've taken out 1614 Low German Bible as an example of something relatively not "well-known" to the general public, but that nevertheless is suitable for Wikipedia. I get your point about a book edition perhaps not being best here, but perhaps there is some other example that we could replace it with? I think it would be nice to still have a positive example of this kind.--Pharos (talk) 01:18, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Apart from contemporary art, maybe something from Category:Treasure troves, of which we have a lot that aren't that well known even locally & have ok articles - the Silsden Hoard must be pretty obscure. Or the Anglo-Saxon Benty Grange helmet or the Kafkania pebble. Category:Archaeological artefacts isn't mostly my area & there seem to be several possibilities there. Johnbod (talk) 01:49, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Hm, I've been browsing around those categories, looking for some individual obscure item that would still be easy enough for people to "get" the overall idea that we're after. I'm thinking now this might not be the best direction, that something more general would convey the notion better. Perhaps we might point out, say, that every ancient Roman sculpture of Livia would merit an article, if they are well covered enough in the literature (which they probably would be).--Pharos (talk) 03:34, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Ideally these would be dealt with more encyclopedically, as they group into types, like many classical iconographies (Category:Athena types etc). If a sculpture is just one of several copies of a particular type, it might be vulnerable to merging to the article on the type. But I suppose so. We haven't really found bottom in terms of notability for museum objects, but I think the text now is fairly clear, although an example would be good. Johnbod (talk) 04:44, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Point at WikiProjects[edit]

Several wikiprojects seem like obvious places to send GLAM experts. Here are a few of the most relevant:

They should probably be notified of this page, if you haven't already. (I'm not watchiing this page.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:24, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

I just notified WP:WikiProject Visual arts and WP:WikiProject Librarians. Witty lama already notified WP:WikiProject Museums. UncleDouggie (talk) 01:35, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
WP:WikiProject Librarians is particularly interesting in this regard, because it is not just a wikiproject about libraries, but a wikiproject run by librarians, and is a potential model for us at least. I do think, though, that the best way to interact with outside institutions would be through a new wikiproject that specializes in that mode of interaction, rather than pointing folks to the grabbag of existing wikiprojects.--Pharos (talk) 13:06, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
The only reasons I've been able to imagine for this view are not favorable: one, that you believe Wikipedia really needs another half-dead WikiProject, or, two, that you think professionals will be more interested in a meta-project ("Learn to be a Wikipedian") than in a project about their specific content area. Generally, people go into GLAM because they like the subject, not because they care about the procedures involved in communicating about it.
I think you would be far better off co-opting the existing projects than trying to create a new one. If nothing else, try this quick question: Who, other than yourself, is going to 'show up' for your new project? If you can't name half a dozen editors offhand, then you really should look at alternatives, such as a task force sponsored by all of the GLAM-related WikiProjects. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:40, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree with WhatamIdoing. WP:ELN and the talk page for WP:MLA are more than sufficient given the existing projects. --UncleDouggie (talk) 21:13, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
I think we're talking a bit at cross-purposes here. Certainly I don't mean that the MLA project should start assessing thousands of articles (or even, well, assessing one article), or take away anything from the roles that the existing wikiprojects in this area fulfill. I mean basically that we should be able to have meaningful discussions on the talk page for WP:MLA, and be able to actively work with the MLA people in helping them develop their stuff.--Pharos (talk) 00:43, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree that this is what we should be doing and I think the current page explains this well with its multiple references to this talk page. I don't think we intend to comply with the definition of a WikiProject, which is: "A WikiProject is a collection of pages devoted to the management of a specific topic or family of topics within Wikipedia; and, simultaneously, a group of editors who use those pages to collaborate on encyclopedic work." --UncleDouggie (talk) 01:30, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, this page was never intended to be a replacement for, or competitor to, the existing WikiProjects. It does not "manage a specific topic" as is the requirement for a Wikiproject. Rather, it is to make the process of editing easier for visiting culture-sector professionals. WikiProjects are for Wikipedians, this is for people who don't consider themselves Wikipedians but nevertheless want to contribute - a way to ease them in. Witty Lama 01:54, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
I was about to say, "Well, it should be a wikproject in the same sense that Wikipedia:School and university projects is a wikiproject." Then I realized that WP:SUP isn't classified as a wikiproject :) Which is fine by me, as I think WP:SUP does something very analogous in reaching out to university professors, in the same way that we hope this page will reach out to cultural sector professionals.--Pharos (talk) 15:30, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
I've added & notified the Archaeology project. Should we point to the talk pages rather than the main pages? I'm also adding these to the "Contacts" section. Johnbod (talk) 12:39, 21 October 2009 (UTC)


You should address the copyvio issue. Many articles pretty clearly written by people from commercial galleries just dump text from the gallery website into articles on the gallery or all their artists. Many COI articles on artists get deleted; often these come in bunches for the artists of a gallery, all by the same SPA. I think some large non-profit museums have copyviod themselves - also the European Library, who added some terrible stubs a year or two back. Examples of interaction with museum people in the past include generally positive ones with User:VAwebteam - now apparently not active - from the Victoria & Albert Museum, and difficult ones with someone from the Saatchi Gallery - ask User:Tyrenius or see the history. In my experience there is rarely a problem with notability of institutions, certainly non-profit museums, the great majority of which are notable & rarely challenged. Commercial galleries are different but very few turn up at the Visual arts page on Afd - less than 1 per month. Libraries I don't know about. I wouldn't devote much effort to this non-issue personally. Johnbod (talk) 04:30, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Good point on copyright. On notability, the issue isn't the institution itself, but rather notability of items in their collection that they may create new articles on. --UncleDouggie (talk) 06:54, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Here is a 2007 Afd related to an institution btw [1]. Johnbod (talk) 11:22, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Is it? That is not clear above. I doubt that would be an issue either - such articles are also very rare at Afd. User:VAwebteam created many such articles [2] , referenced entirely to a V&A book (although other RSs could easily have been found), none of which were ever challenged on notability AFAIK. The level of art history publication is such that sources are easy to find, and the museums' own catalogues are rightly normally accepted as RS. This still seems a non-issue to me. The only example I can think of is 1614 Low German Bible, in its original version, which was an article on a particular copy in a local museum of a not-especially-rare edition of the Bible - AFAIK the editor was not connected with the museum, but they might have been. Converted into an article on the edition rather than the copy it was ok. I'm not sure the page quite addresses the reality, which I think is that those editing here are likely to be either the marketing department and/or interns. This ISP might well be another "inside" contributor, from the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Until asked to stop it was adding an internal link to the museum article at the article of every artist represented in the collection ( often just by prints I imagine). Museums ready to license for Commons lowish-res versions of objects, above all three-dimensional ones, using the ORTS licenced ticket system (as the V&A did), that are requested by other editors, would certainly be useful. As I expect you know, an editor was recently threatened with legal action by the National Portrait Gallery, London for mass uploads to Commons - see National Portrait Gallery copyright conflicts. Not sure where that stands now. Some museums add peacocky puffs to their articles which are easily trimmed but for non-profit institutions copyright, not COI or notability, is what causes the vast majority of issues. Johnbod (talk) 09:35, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
(EC) Lots of different threads here:
  1. Notability scope. The focus of the issue seems very clear to me from this quote from the MLA reps: "Would more articles improve the encyclopedia? If so, more articles on what?" They don't mention anywhere the notability of the institution, and that would only be an issue in an article about the institution itself.
  2. Notability disputes. I agree that the V&A articles aren't an issue. But not everything that is created by a MLA curator is going to be V&A quality. The MLA community is rightfully asking for guidance so they don't get into trouble. We might determine that the existing notability guideline is sufficient, or we may want to expand it.
  3. Boca Raton Museum of Art Editor. This brings up an important question. Should we endorse research resource links for articles on artists or only for actual works?
  4. National Portrait Gallery, London. Under US law, the high resolution images are public domain and Wikipedia's servers are located in the US. Under UK law, the images are copyrighted. Curators must understand the copyright status of their contributions and tag them accordingly. This is no different than for any other editor. Most people don't have an appreciation for the subtitles of copyright law and curators are no different. All we can do is try to educate them.
--UncleDouggie (talk) 10:37, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I've seen no evidence of a need to change notability guidelines. As I say above, there are a lot of COI artist-related Afds, quite a few probably written by employees of commercial galleries, but hardly any related to works of art in museums. The existing policies seem perfectly adequate to deal with both types, and visual arts Afds generally don't produce much disagreement. Adding material and links to artist or general articles - Chinese ceramics say - is much more likely to be an issue. ELs to museum websites often need trimming on such articles, though I imagine most involve no COI. Museum website biographies etc are also very often used as references by all editors; references are always less likely to be objected to than links - which might usefully be pointed out to curators. I would leave the policy vague frankly, & put the emphasis on asking first - on the talk page or at a project. I think it is too difficult to define what might or might not useful additions - it depends totally on what is on the museum site & what is on Wikipedia already. An addition that would be very useful to a small topic/article could be inappropriate for a big topic with a good article. There is discussion of this issue at User:VAwebteam talk page at items 12 & 13 on this COI archive page which give the history of those interactions, where the editor was responsive to complaints about his initial edits. It also has a link to the less-successful European Library story at the top. I'm not sure what your point about the NPG is, but curators indeed are not copyright experts (and interns still less) & have to go through internal procedures to release any photo rights, which is what makes this difficult. Johnbod (talk) 11:17, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
  • On a topical note, I notice this, where a museum's press officer has replaced the existing article on the museum with a self-copyvio from their site (now reversed of course). Johnbod (talk) 12:52, 15 October 2009 (UTC)


I don't see a reason for WP:MLA/COI or WP:MLA/EL. We've already added language to WP:COI and I don't think that WP:EL needs anything more. We tacked on "Research resources" to WP:COI as well, even though it isn't the best home for it. --UncleDouggie (talk) 06:54, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I can see the virtue in a minimum of subpages, especially when we are introducing concepts to newbie editors.--Pharos (talk) 12:56, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
That's fair enough. I placed those references to sub-pages in an attempt to keep the detailed info off this page and keep this page simpler. But, if that kind of more detailed information can be discussed at the policy page itself, that's fine. Witty Lama 02:08, 18 October 2009 (UTC)


I'm still trying to get my mind around this page, and hope to make positive contributions. Perhaps all the FAQs are there to be answered? If so, I'll certainly do this.

My original idea of this page was as an essay that would very quickly (3 short paragraphs) answer the question: Can I put this link in? (from an MLA point of view). This would allow a clumsily written exception #7 at WP:COI to be shortened and simplified, but the goal of this page seems to be well beyond that.

General comments

  • get rid of WP:MLA/COI, WP:MLA/EL for now. If needed they can be added later.
  • the first paragraphs seem to be aimed at 1st time users. If so, 2 things can be added 1) please don't spam, and 2)get started editing, learn by doing - anything can be undone, we try not to bite newbies.
  • something for supervisors, e.g. if you assign an employee to do a task on Wikipedia, please realize that you may have disagreements on what is appropriate for Wikipedia. Avoid this problem by giving workers a choice of editing here or another job for the day. Some workers may love editing, and do so intelligently and creatively - we want those. Others may consider the assignment to be drudgery, or think that you are asking them to do something against Wikipedia's policies or culture - we don't want those editors!
  • include something about reviewing your edits. Are other editors reverting your edits? Why? Figuring out the problem and dealing with editors who don't agree with you.
  • "ignore all rules" is very prominent. I adore WP:IAR. It is our best rule, and I ignore it 99% of the time. Maybe it should be less prominent here.

I'm still not quite in synch here, so let me know what I can do. Smallbones (talk) 14:02, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

This is page is leaving the station. Hop on board and get started editing. --UncleDouggie (talk) 04:29, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
I almost quoted you - and please remember, anything that I do can be undone. Smallbones (talk) 14:20, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

more industry feedback and suggestions[edit]

WOW! I've not edited here for a few days due to real world commitments and I'm amazed at how things have come along. There's still some work to go (I especially would like to add in the relevant excerpts from the relevant policies (N, V, NOR, NPOV, EL, CoI) ) but I'm just stunned at how quickly and well this is building. Your barnstars are being shipped to you now :-) I'll go through and comment on all the discussions here later today.

There has recently been a blog post by an employee of the National Archives of Australia that attended the "GLAM-WIKI" conference. In it she details her response to the recommendations from that conference. I think there are several things in that response that we could address in this page. Have a read for yourself and see what you think: Best, Witty Lama 07:46, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

I hadn't seen the conference material before. Much of it seems oriented to large-scale automated transfers of data to Wikimedia projects. But these are unlikely to result in Wikipedia articles, and in most cases should not. I can now see more clearly where some of the draft material on the page here is coming from. Large-scale transfers of whole catalogues etc should go to Wikisource or somewhere similar, but there is scope for wikified uploads of "highlights" etc here, which is essentially what the V&A has done, adding articles on fewer than 100 of their 4.5 million objects. But bulk additions should always be discussed in advance, and "draft" examples done, through whatever arrangements this page sets up. They will always need extensive and informed hand-editing, if only to add categories, links etc. Johnbod (talk) 14:55, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
Lots of material to sort through there, only a portion of which is for bulk transfers. Here's another link buried in the posts with lots of insight as to motivations. This conference really had 170 attendees? It seems like we should invite them all to review this page before we're done. I noticed two interesting requests from Wikimedia:
  1. Use Wikimedia to support exhibitions so that visitors (both physical or virtual) can obtain further detailed information and also to improve the experience of those who cannot physically attend.
    This would seem to be inviting promotion. I've discouraged it in the FAQ for this page. Or are they thinking more about Wikinews?
  2. Create Wikimeida user accounts for on-staff experts (or the institution itself) listing their specialities to enable Wikimedia editors to obtain professional advice/feedback when improving relevant topics.
    Ah, have they read our username policies? Is there a change about to be forced upon us?
--UncleDouggie (talk) 12:10, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, I was the one who hosted the conference and wrote the recommendations (based on all the feedback) - whoops, yes the thing about "or institution itself" is incorrect according to our policy. My mistake. You're the first one to notice that. As for the point about "supporting exhibitions" that is suggesting museums to link out to Wikipedia from their website (or from computer kiosks etc.) as a place where their visitors can get more info. If anything that's promotion of us :-) And yes, when this page is ready and has moved into the Wikipedia namespace I will be writing to all attendees of the GLAM-WIKI conference and other contacts I have in the UK and USA to tell them about it and ask for feedback. Most definitely. I've told several already and placed some of their comments here before. Witty Lama 12:30, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarifications. On exhibits, the request can be read many ways. How can we support an exhibit for people that can't attend unless we have information about the exhibit? Large exhibits perhaps deserve their own article. What would the interaction be like for smaller exhibits? --UncleDouggie (talk) 12:44, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
On the whole idea of them promoting us, we don't like to link to an open wiki and I don't think they will either!
Are you going to update the recommendations for the accounts? I don't want to create an inconsistency with the PDF version. --UncleDouggie (talk) 13:03, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

What's in a name[edit]

Ok, there seems to be an issue about the names that we're using for this. It started out as "GLAM" and there are other options like "LAM" and "MLA" - this is for both the title of the page itself, and also throughout the page. The issue is the need to find a quick way of explaining who we're talking to without being so broad as to be meaninglessness.

There is also a question about what to call the people themselves - "GLAM representatives" and "curators" are some of the options. The word "representative" was considered to be contradicting our requirement that people edit as themselves rather than on behalf of their institution, and the word curator only really applies to museums.

I propose that we do this:

  1. The title of the page be at [[Wikipedia:Advice for the cultural sector]]. This is descriptive and sets the purpose clearly without trying to list the possible institution types.
  2. That the redirects be [[WP:GLAM]], [[WP:MLA]], [[WP:LAM]] and perhaps even [[WP:Cult]] :-)
  3. That there be a section near the top that has a list of some of the possible professions that we are talking to (curator, librarian, archivist, intern...) but also be clear that it is not an exhaustive list and there are many professions that are potentially related to this page (e.g. Botanical garden managers, Zoo keepers...)
  4. That if we stick with referring to "curators" in the text (for brevity's sake) then we make it clear that we mean "curators and other related professions" - this ties in with the previous point.

What do you think? Witty Lama 03:13, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

I like the direction this comment is going. I think we should change WP:CULT to WP:CULTURE. We can probably reword to avoid use of "curator" deeper in the body. Botanical gardens and Zoos aren't technically part of the "cultural sector." In fact, the word "Culture" is a loaded term with 164 definitions. Any other ideas? --UncleDouggie (talk) 03:34, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
"Cultural institutions" might be good in place of MLA. After thinking about it some more, we shouldn't get into zoos and botanical gardens. The experts at such institutions are of course welcome to contribute and they might get some benefit from reading this page. However, in general, such institutions don't have unique holdings so they should not have any links to themselves. We will be inviting spam if we get too far afield. --UncleDouggie (talk) 09:52, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
Curator seems to go along with cultural heritage and certainly includes museums and archives. The Wikipedia articles leave libraries out of both definitions, however Wiktionary includes libraries in its definition of curator. Here is Merriam-Webster's definition. Botanicals are part of Natural heritage. --UncleDouggie (talk) 10:08, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps something like "Museum and library projects" or "Cultural institution projects/collaborations/contributions" to parallel Wikipedia:School and university projects?--Pharos (talk) 01:40, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

collapsable sections[edit]

Is it possible to make the various sections collapsed (with a "show" button) by default? That would make the page look at first instance much less verbose and allow the curator to chose which section they wanted to read rather than feel the had to read down to the section that's relevant. Also that would allow us to add more detailed info (especially giving examples of Notability issues) without clogging up the page. Witty Lama 12:14, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Are you thinking about the top-level sections (==) or the second-level FAQ categories (===)? --UncleDouggie (talk) 12:21, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
Umm, I would like the FAQ heading to stay there, but the sub sections to be collapsed. I would like the Principles to be collapsed... etc. Does that make sense? Witty Lama 12:44, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
I did article subjects as a test. Feel free to revert. If I collapse all of FAQ we'll loose the subheadings in the TOC, which would make things less friendly. I don't think we really need to collapse given the article's current length. The other option is multiple subpages in the style used for the general FAQ. However, you then won't get everything when you print the page. At least collapsed sections always print in expanded form. --UncleDouggie (talk) 13:40, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

etiquette and suggestions[edit]

What you have is good.

But I'm a little reluctant to advise newcomers to IAR. They do that enough of their own accord. It's for the experienced, to prevent us from becoming too rigid. What might be said is to not be too concerned about the detailed procedural rules--except for image copyright, where in practice NOT BURO seems not to apply. And to realize we give the benefit of the doubt to well written well referenced articles that do not sound too pedantic.

And I am not 100% sure I agree with the summary: "United States copyright law does not apply to high-resolution images of works that are in the public domain." US law does of course apply, one way or another, to everything. The meaning is that not all countries may consider US law to apply to these -- and thus we do not assume the permissions in US law, especially when Commons is concerned.

Yes, that section was written ambiguously. I've moved it to the FAQ section and specified it to be about Fair Use, rather than being in the "principles of editing" section. Witty Lama 13:41, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

I typically advise people with any sort of possible COI to read Durova's FAQ about organisations, but that applies more generally. And I usually recommend serious beginners the two books, the free online version of How Wikipedia Works by Phoebe Ayers, Charles Matthews, and Ben Yates (also available in print) and the free online version of Wikipedia: The Missing Manual by John Broughton (also available in print) .

Good point. I'll add those in as resources at the bottom. Witty Lama 13:41, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

In dealing with the yet incomplete sections, I would add something about how to work with the less sophisticated editors here--how to have patience with them, how to deal with their challenges to what you know are correct expert opinions--how to guide them to use the good sources and learn-- the need to avoid being brusque, or condescending--all the mistakes I've seen highly qualified subject people make around here. DGG ( talk ) 04:14, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Getting ready to 'launch'[edit]

Hey everyone,

I've been trying to get feedback from the culture sector on this and it's trickling in. I've made some adjustments to the page as a result and generally tried to pretty it up. There's a couple of things that I think are still missing:

  1. Something that ties in the professional terminology with our terminology e.g. we should be able to address how the idea of a Catalogue raisonné could be equated with a "featured topic" and list articles, or Provenance could be equated with "notability" and "reliable sources.
  2. Several museums/libraries have emailed me privately asking me to check up on and improve the metadata of some items from their collection in Wikimedia Commons. The images had been taken to commons legally, but they wanted the metadata improved. Perhaps we should link out to a commons page where people can list 'metadata for improvement' or something similar. I don't know if such a thing exists yet - there's definitely a need for it.
  3. Once this goes live we'll need to adapt the text of the CoI "archives exception" to point to this page and to be more broad (i.e. not just talk about libraries but also specifically mention museums).
  4. Depending on feedback we might want to work on notability criteria for GLAM items. I have been asked by someone in the sector to clarify what "improve the encyclopedia" means in the context of a collection of works in a museum that is several hundred thousand items large. They may want industry-specific guidance for what is notable. (we could work on this later).

Moreover, there are a couple of things being announced soon that I would like this page ready for. It would make Wikipedia look very pro-active if we could have this page "published" in the correct namespace and linked to from the relevant other policy pages within the next 10 days or so. Do you think we can do that?

Sincerely, Witty Lama 15:34, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Oh, and by the way, check this out ! Witty Lama 15:35, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

I think it is pretty ready now - of course it will evolve, but it is already quite substantial & has been worked on by several of us - we can all give ourselves a pat on the back I think. When it is in mainspace people can address specific queries, which should help clarify many things. Has your pal actually digested what is now here on notability? If he has, he should not really be phrasing the question in terms of a general "what "improve the encyclopedia" means", it seems to me. If he has not seen this page, it already should go a long way in answering his question. We should not go too far in being specific on notability in the absence of many examples of community consensus on this that we have been able to find. On metadata, the text as is says: "What if the description or metadata of a work in an existing article is incorrect? You may, of course, edit the information to improve the description", which I think is right (not added by me, btw). So they should go ahead. If they want us to do it, the general standard of metadata on Commons is pretty low, so the requests might quickly overwhelm the resources available. I'm not sure I see much similarity myself between the ideas of Catalogue raisonné and "featured topic" (though there is with list articles), or between Provenance and notability - two things which may be completely independent of each other. But let's discuss. Johnbod (talk) 15:52, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
The link onwards to the Washington Library [3] above is indeed interesting - they may have walked close to the line on COI editing, but have by the look of it been prepared to learn how to do so in a "Wikipedian" way. It might be worth looking at their edit history & assessing whether they are a suitable example to mention or not. This goes back to 2005-6; I wonder how much of their editing is left now? Johnbod (talk) 16:04, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
Time to take this show on the road. Specific responses to numbered items above:
  • 1. No, or maybe wait a decade or so.
  • 2. Technical issue that I know nothing about.
  • 3. Go to the folks at the COI talk page now, ask them all to take a look, and what your proposed changes are to WP:COI. Sooner the better.
  • 4. It can wait a while.
I checked out the new case study. Interesting read, nothing too surprising, but they may have violated 1.5 policies. Maybe link to it from the project page. Best of luck going forward. Smallbones (talk) 01:51, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
That and other cases came up in this extended discussion of library links in 2007 at the Spam project. Many wise words here, from User:DGG and others. Johnbod (talk) 18:12, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

final things[edit]

ok, in the next couple of days I'm going to add a couple of things and do a bit of tidy up, then I'm going to move this to the Wikipedia namespace. If you are willing, please have a read of the page from top to bottom to see that it 'flows' and is in a logical order. Also, if you can say something just as well with fewer words - make the change.

I'll be adding little glossary describing some particular terms we have in way that's more comprehensible to the real world :-) For example, I've had feedback that "notability" and "neutrality" are terms that mean quite different things in museums so i'll try to address that.

Could someone also put a "draft" sticker icon across the top or something that indicates that the page, once it gets moved across, is still in a state of being put together and we're looking for feedback? Perhaps a quite visible "please give feedback about this page/did you find this useful?" banner somewhere?. I expect to have this done before the end of the weekend.

Best, Witty Lama 14:47, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

At the moment the page directs queries to:
  1. talk page of relevant article
  2. relevant Wikiproject talk
  3. talk page here
  4. Wikimedia chapter

I wonder if it would not be better to suggest that all queries are at least copied here, firstly so the overall level of issues can be kept track of, and secondly so they are dealt with by people at least aware of this page, which for a long time most editors in article & project talk pages probably won't be? Johnbod (talk) 03:15, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

I agree with this point. It seems to me that the feedback from people who watchlist this page would be far more likely to be useful and understanding of newbie MLA editors, than what they are likely to find in most other venues.--Pharos (talk) 04:15, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Good idea. There might be a risk of bloating the page, but I think some of the suggestions should include wikitext examples (perhaps, eventually, a subpage could hold all the examples and the article would just have a link). The example for adding to this talk page would include "click new section", and show a sensible heading, and how to link to the other article, and sign.
I have some other thoughts (no problem if they are not addressed before release). First, there should be a mention of WP:ENGVAR somewhere (don't "correct" spelling in existing articles; new text should be consistent). Second, the lead includes "Please be understanding ... we are all volunteers..." which has slightly the wrong emphasis. I may know nothing about the topic added to an article, but I can still tell the contributor that their edit is completely misguided: we don't do external links like that; the words are too promotional, POV, unsourced, wrong place, etc. I have been unable to think of a brief and friendly way to mention that subject expertise does not give contributors a special green light. I would want to say that an edit might be reverted with a blunt edit summary, and that might seem silly or offensive, but it is possible that there is a very good reason which would become clear if the new contributor were to ask, for example, here. Johnuniq (talk) 04:09, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Sure thing, I'll adjust the page to suit this. Witty Lama 06:12, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
Shortcuts MLA, GLAM, LAM are defined, but "LAM" does not appear in the article, and "GLAM" only appears at the third item in "In real life" (note that I changed the meta link). If Witty Lama wants to retain "GLAM", by all means let's keep it, but for simplicity, remove "LAM" altogether (it's confusing; more choices = less certainty), and WP:LAM already has a (failed) meaning. If "GLAM" is not required, remove it too. Problem: "MLA" is used but not explained. It probably should be at the top of the page. Johnuniq (talk) 10:01, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
It seems we'll never find a neat acronym that everyone uses. We've been using "GLAM" within many Wikimedia things and it is fairly widely understood. "LAM" is used by some people[4] and "MLA" is used by others[5]. I would personally like to keep using "GLAM" in my own essays/blogs etc. (including conferences such as "GLAM-WIKI"!) but that is just me. I think that if these three are in use in various places then it doesn't hurt to have all three as redirects. However, we should keep consistent in this page. Personally I would vote we use GLAM but for universality's sake perhaps we should just stick to "public cultural institutions" or "cultural collecting organisations" (or similar) when in prose). Witty Lama 06:12, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
Good, however: (1) WP:LAM already exists (although I suppose we could edit the redirect here since it appears to be obsolete). (2) I thought you hit a hurdle where "galleries" is not acceptable in some areas (without a lot of tedious qualification), so "GLAM" might not be suitable for the text (whereas the shortcut is fine)? (3) "MLA" is used six times in the body text (plus a couple more in links) so "public cultural institutions" might be a bit tedious. Hmmm – I suppose I should just try it and see how it looks. Johnuniq (talk) 09:47, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

two minute guide[edit]

Although I do certainly recognise that GLAMs are really useful to our goals, unfortunately I do strongly disagree with giving them a complete carte blanche to add links etc. I have also pointed that out on the COI guideline talkpage. Yes, we have many good examples, and there are many who help us greatly forward, but I do have problems with stating it like this! And unfortunately, I have seen the opposite a couple of times (one being a huge organisation spanning many countries, and I still believe that the people from the organisation were not here to improve Wikipedia as their main goal!). We have to assume good faith on their edits, but unfortunately we have had major organisations like this who were not here to improve Wikipedia, but to improve linking to their website, promoting their organisation, tunnelling people away. We should certainly welcome them, but I would really suggest to be more guiding, as, while many are non-profit organisations, they still need visitors and/or money, or parts of them do need money. I do think that we have to be careful with that. --Dirk Beetstra T C 10:13, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

This page is adressed to curatorial staff, & we do say near the bottom that marketing/press people should not be editing WP; nearly all the trouble comes from them & their interns, I'm sure. I don't know if this injunction will be enough to keep the marketing people away - probably not! We still have the ability to remove promotional links, so I don't think we are any worse off than now - let's see what effect the page has. One of its purposes is to explain the educative process we had to do with the V&A (in fact a marketing editor, I'm sure) "manually". Types of acceptable & unacceptable links are described in specific details for MLAs, so I don't think its right to call it "carte blanche". Johnbod (talk) 10:59, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Oh, I am sure that it will not keep them away, and indeed, it are often the marketing or related people who 'are the trouble'. But I don't think that giving statements that they 'are free to mass-add links' is good. Also for the curatorial staff there may be problems with promoting themselves, their organisation or something like that. I don't think that the message 'oh, it is fine, you're a curator' is OK, I think it is better to be a bit stronger on 'go into discussion; be bold but when challenged, it is best to listen and take a step back; know your intentions' .. --Dirk Beetstra T C 11:06, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Well, I think all that is pretty much in there, although I agree with the point made in the section above here by Johnuniq. The V&A case was one where they ended up "promoting" their museum by the adding of useful information, articles & links, that helped our aims too. As an editor of visual arts articles, I add links to museum sites all the time, as we all do; one of the purposes here is explaining what are useful links & what are not. Johnbod (talk) 11:14, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

It is in the intentions of the editor. If they are only here to provide links or copy pages from their site to ours (while they are often very knowledgeable on the subject) then that is not correct. And that is what somewhat gets suggested, IMHO. VAWebteam is providing more, images, text, references ánd external links, but not all cases are like that, though they would not 'violate' this guide/essay (or the new version of WP:COI, for that matter). Remember also that we do not always know if the editor is a curator, a webmaster or one of the marketing/press people, as long as we don't know, it is either an uninvolved editor, or the curator .., so it would all be fine. I suggest here to keep the language a bit stricter, and not to say 'it is fine to add links only'. --Dirk Beetstra T C 11:27, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

So you are especially unhappy with the 2 minute guide, rather than the sections below specifically on links? Johnbod (talk) 11:33, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Dirk Beetstra that the two minute guide gives the wrong impression. It essentially says, "oh my, we have a lot of rules, but you can ignore them because you are a culture section professional; add as many links to promote items in your collection as you like". I'm not sure how to fix it without a lot of ponderous bureaucratic detail ("in your contributions, the ratio of useful, substantive information to promotional links must exceed 70%, averaged over any seven-day period"). Johnuniq (talk) 11:43, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Well we have a lot of detail below, which (as I have just been posting there) is a lot tighter than the current COI policy. I will add some "see below for more details" for a start. Johnbod (talk) 11:46, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Done - does that help? Johnbod (talk) 11:50, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Re COI non-controversial edits#7: As I just mentioned at WT:COI, I think that #7 needs to be deleted (or drastically fixed). Re this article: yes, your edit is a good idea, although I haven't yet absorbed the full impact. Hope to return later. Johnuniq (talk) 23:45, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
I've strengthened the anti-spam section of the 2 minute guide and also moved it to the top. Personally I do not believe we will see bad-faith spam from cultural institutions as a result of this page or the CoI exception even though some people might falsely claim that they are archives in order to take advantage of the exception (which is not a fault of the exception but them undermining the spirit of the rule). I hope this is more satisfactory. Witty Lama 13:20, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
No, I don't think that this page, or the guideline will induce 'spamming', or that they will start 'spamming' after reading this page. Most 'good faith link adders' first start 'spamming', are thén pointed towards the policies and guidelines (WP:SPAM, WP:EL, WP:COI), and then, as they are not adding blatantly commercial pages, they all consider that (all) their links are appropriate, and that the one reverting them is on a witchhunt. Having that statement in WP:COI and here strengthens that position.
In my experience, when a 'newby' comes and starts adding 20-30 external links, numerous violate 'does not add anything more then what is already in the document', ', 'this link adds to a linkfarm', 'subject of page linked to does not match the subject of the page the link is added to', and even some have problems with not being available to a large number of people (restricted to a certain continent, or even, only work in one or two specific browsers, others crash or are redirected to a 'not supported browser' page). And then those are really good organisations linked to, and they do have great information.
The sequence should be:
  1. Try to add content and use your site (or the documents you have access to, not even linked to your site!) as a reference
  2. Try to use your site as a reference to replace a {{fact}}
  3. If 1 and 2 fail, consider if your site adds something that is not in the document, etc. etc, and if there are not too many links already (of which some already cover the same info as you) and if so, add it as an external link
  4. Or, if 1 and 2 fail, and it is not suitable as an external link, consider if you could write a new article from the information
  5. And if none of that is the case, then maybe just move on to another document
(And if you are unsure, go to the talkpage, or a wikiproject, but not add the link 'just in case')
And hence not:
  1. Add your site as an external link, and let others see what they want to do with it
I find the language in WP:COI and here now more suggesting the second scenario, and I completely disagree with that sequence. Thát is not the way forward, and though one can argue that it improves the encyclopedia, the first scenario is improving it WAY more, avoids that we have to walk behind them and improve it ourselves, or cleanup when it is inappropriate, it avoids the possibility of impropriety of the link-additions (which may have negative effects on the name of the institution ..), &c. &c.
.. but maybe I am just seeing this completely wrong. --Dirk Beetstra T C 15:33, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

ok. it's time to launch.[edit]

I'm going to place this at Wikipedia:advice for the cultural sector now. Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far and please help maintain/improve the article in its new home. Witty Lama 14:33, 31 October 2009 (UTC)