Sunday, 9 October 2011

#libcampuk11 session 4: Wikipedia and Libraries

Have I hit the blogging wall yet? I don't think so! Let's keep going...

Session 4 was led by Andy Mabbett, who also had the job of shouting instructions above the hubbub of librarians throughout the day as he had the loudest voice! Andy is a Wikimedia Foundation volunteer, who has been involved in the GLAM outreach project (GLAM = galleries, libraries, archives and museums) which encourages organisations to release their content with Creative Commons licenses and get users to write articles about their objects.

Andy gave the example of Derby Museum, which gave a backstage pass to volunteer Wikipedia editors, including tours and talks by curators.  Curators prepared lists of museum objects that were worthy of a Wikipedia entry but hadn't already got one or that only had a stub. The museum also provided references for citations. Wikipedia volunteers wrote entries then and there, then the articles were translated. 1200 new articles were added to Wikipedia due to that event (including the translations).

While objects need to be worthy to get an article of their own, text and images from museums and libraries can be released under open access and used to illustrate other articles. As everything is attributed, all of this can increase traffic to the organisation's website. The only cost is the small amount of time required by curators etc. when the volunteers are there, and the volunteers feel valued as they get to access areas of the museum that are usually closed to the public.

Libraries sometimes have image collections with no metadata, and they can upload the collection to Wikimedia to crowdsource tags and descriptions. This makes something that usually isn't seen or used into something useful and more valuable. It also means people might use the images etc. in their own blogs which then must attribute to you. This also outsources the web hosting. The metadata is kept up to date and curated by other people.

We then moved on to talking about some other Wikimedia projects. The Wikimedia Foundation is the parent of Wikipedia and about a dozen other projects, including:
  • Wikimedia Commons - originally a place to put images for Wikipedia but it is now the biggest repository for freely usable material, mostly images.
  •  QRpedia - encodes URL of Wikipedia articles, but returns the translated version depending on the language your phone is set to, in a mobile friendly form of course. Use in museums/libraries to provide captions etc in multiple languages. Could also be useful in a library with minority group users.
  •  Simple English Wikipedia - for people with poor literacy skills or who are learning English.
Homework for this session!
Sign up for a Wikipedia account and fix an error, or convert a standard Wikipedia article into a Simple English article.

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