Recently I saw a documentary about new developments on the internet. The internet is used more and more for collaboration projects in all kinds and sizes. Everyone can participate in the subjects they like. A regular housewife who was interested in stars and the universe took part with many others in a project to classify stars and other objects in the sky. A university had developed a program in what a large set of images of objects in the sky was shown to random people who participated in what they had to identify based on multiple choice visual suggestions (Does it look like... A, B or C). Based on the program she discovered a new object in the sky which later was named after her. Another example is about a schoolboy who came up with a scientific invention based on information on the internet and got awarded for it. Worldwide thousands of projects have been set up in what people can participate to enlarge the knowledge of the world and to make the world a better place. Internet is just a tool, how well it works depends on what we do with it. The documentary ended with saying that all these project are part of a new way of working, they called it the Wikipedia effect.
In their eyes we started this changing way of working and they went further with it. What I can't describe is the feeling they extra give in the way they work, but I think we can learn from them. We are certainly not with empty hands in the new way of working, but we should realize we need more tools to make tasks easier to do. We already have for example, or are working on, the GLAMwiki toolset, QRpedia, Wiki Loves Monuments App, VisualEditor, Wikidata, all relative new ways but all changing the way people work on/with the Wikimedia projects. They make it easier to contribute, each in their own way, all handy tools that we need in our future developments, to move forward. Also with GLAM I think we should try to open it up more, making tasks better visible so that more people can participate and easier can join in.
Our role as GLAM organisers and volunteers is to reach out to GLAMs to help them open up. We communicate with them and to the communities so that they can pick up the works we make available for re-use, as we preserve the world's knowledge. Also we need to show what we do so that this stimulates others to participate as well.
To get your image somewhere up there [ in the first three suggestions when searching for an image with Google ] so that people know that we have this picture in our museum, that is why we put all our best images online. If school children write a report, we want them to use our image, we prefer them to download ours, instead of getting it somewhere else.
The GLAM-WIKI conference was great! All the present people from Wikimedia work with GLAMs to enrich the Wikimedia projects and all the GLAM people work or want to work with Wikimedians and aim to spread information around the world. An inspiring environment which promises a lot for the future.
If a Wikipedian asks you a question, you only need to answer that question once.
I had no time to see the documentary again, and I just did, some things:
The documentary was on the Dutch tv (VPRO) on 1 April 2013: and was named plenty (overvloed in Dutch) with a link here
Remarkable phrases are (translated):
"on the moment we have the Wikipedia effect, that everyone can contribute to that what is available for everyone, will become available as well for the fysical world" (cheap solar cells, 3D printer, more...)
"Technology makes resources available for us. Scarcity becomes plenty. This you see with energy, or the access to knowledge and information. Before was the access to knowledge and information scarce."
The "housewife" was in fact a teacher and her name was Hanny who discovered Hanny's Voorwerp.
The schoolboy was 15 years old, won the Science & Engeneering fair 2012, a prize for young scientists, has as name Jack Andraka, and he invented a cancer test to detect cancers much quicker and cheaper. He used only knowledge from the internet with Google and Wikipedia. He ended with saying: "If I can do this myself, imagine what you can do..."