GLAM:NLI Edit-a-thon; Two Wikipedian-in-Residence positions
GLAM:NLI Project - An Edit-a-thon at the National Library of Israel
On Wednesday, March 28th, some 60 people arrived at the National Library of Israel to attend a 4-hours Edit-a-thon. As in previous GLAM-IL events, our GLAM team has extended the invitation to not only Wikipedians, but also to people from sister open-source projects and the general public interested in Wikipedia, the library or both.
"If You Build it -- They Will Come"
About 80 people signed up to the marathon [20 Wikipedians and 60 from the public], among other things, due to a central notice that was visible in every page in the Hebrew wikipedia four days prior to the event. The central notice was linked to an informative "landing page", that was friendly enough to non-wiki users. Besides those 80 people who actually signed up, our GLAM-IL mailing box received numerous additional emails from people who were very much interested in attending such an event, but could not do so, and asked to be informed of and included in future events. This is the first time we were able to offer the public a direct and simple line of communication with us, and it was exciting to get this much responses and feedback from the public. This in itself has exceeded our expectations and that was before the evening even began.
"What's on the GLAM-Menu, Please?"
We gathered at 17:00 and, after a short on-site sign up, all the newcomers gathered in the National Library's Music Hall. After greetings from Oren Weinberg, Director General of the Library, Ido Ivri, the Digital Programs Manager and the GLAM:NLI contact person, and yours truly, the evening officially opened with a basic lecture about how to edit in wikipedia by our Wikipedian-in-Residence, Daniel-Tzvi Framowitz.
At about 18:15 the Edit-a-thon itself began. First, we've divided the crowd into small groups - one-two newcomers with an experienced Wikipedian, and each group chose a task from a list. About 25 new wiki-accounts were created and each team began working on its chosen task - some edited existing articles and some created new articles. The articles were all in the scope of the project - mostly from the Schwadron portrait collection, but also from the Eran Laor Map collection and the National Library's Manuscripts collection. NLI librarians and staff members joined us in order to assist Wikipedians with access to the Library's various resources needed to expand the chosen articles.
Courtesy of our welcoming hosts at the National Library, at about 19:30 hot pizzas & soft drinks arrived. Everyone was so wrapped up editing articles that it took a few minutes to convince everyone to leave their computers and take a short break. Finally, everyone came around and we all enjoyed a few minutes of break, hot pizzas and a joy of being together on a GLAM mission. :)
By 20:00, everyone was back at their computers, working incessantly on their articles. We were also pleased to host Julia, a visiting Wikipedian from Poland, who was able to join us and even contributed a translation of one or two articles into Polish!
At about 21:00 the edit-a-thon ended, and we left the library with a taste for more and an official invitation to come back whenever we can.
After the Event
About a week after the event, we have used our new and expanding GLAM-IL mailing list and WM-IL blog and posted a report [in addition to posting in the community], inviting people to share their experiences and thoughts about the event. It was a good way of keeping in touch specifically with new Wikipedians from the public, as well as share the results of the evening with those who could not make it to this specific event. We have taken the opportunity to thank those who came and help make the event a success --
It was also a good opportunity to thank the people who helped this event come to life. Here are some of them --
Thoughts and ideas for future events [especially events with multiple participants]
- Have a special page for the marathon with a clear and short list of articles [20-25 items] to focus on during the marathon.
- Encourage Wikipedians to offer topics to focus on, and invite participants to choose their topic(s) in advance.
- Have certain basic resources available at the beginning, instead of waiting for participants to ask for the resources they need - it will save valuable time and is possible if previous points are done.
- Instruct all experienced Wikipedians to do a few things with newcomers, such as --
- make sure each one opens an account and experience editing first-hand.
- make sure they introduce themselves in their user pages, maybe even saying the user has been opened during a GLAM event. It will encourage them to edit their user page later and help the community get to know who they are.
- make sure each group signs up on the list of articles marathon page - writing the name and username besides the article you work on - that way you'll know who the users are and which article were edited during the marathon.
- instruct newcomers to use a categories & templates related to your project. It will be easier to follow the work being done throughout the project and get statistics.
- make sure newcomers leave the marathon having a contact info of a real person to talk to, if they have questions [they will :)].
- make sure you follow-up - use a special barn-star for the event, add people to a national mailing list and send a report with pictures [it's nice to have pics to remember the event].
Two new Wikipedian-in-Residence Positions
Two new GLAM-IL projects are coming together these days - one with the Israel State Archive and the second with the University of Haifa's academic library. Both projects will offer a Wikipedian-in-Residence position for about 6 months. As GLAM is expanding in Israel, we have decided that in accordance with the spirit of wiki-transparency, these positions will be opened for all members of the community to apply. WM-IL does not have any employees and does not usually hire Wikipedians. Though WM-IL has already had two WIR positions in the past, this would be the first time a paid position is offered to all community members openly, and so the two job description will be available at the WM-IL blog at the beginning of May. Hopefully, by the next report we would be able to give a brief report presenting the two new projects as well as announce the two new WIRs.