In this issue we highlight the #1Lib1Ref campaign, the 2017 Wikimedia Conference, developments to the Wikipedia Library Card Platform, a new User Group for Wikipedia & Libraries and, as always, a roundup of news and community items related to libraries and digital knowledge.
Year two of #1lib1ref was three times as large as last year! It ran in over 18 languages, with 4,171 hashtagged edits from 741 contributors to 2,588 pages. The longer campaign this year – 3 weeks in total – saw an increase in the number of workshops at libraries around the world. Looking forward to seeing even greater success in 2018 – if you are interested in supporting it in your language or context, make sure to join the Wikipedia + Libraries Facebook group, now up to 468 members!
The three-week approach appears to have strengthened the scalability of the campaign – allowing more time for folks to participate, without a decline in the amount of social media energy – and we actually saw increased energy towards the end of the campaign, as folks hosted events after learning about the campaign during the first week. We believe the three-week format, paired with the Coffee-Hour kit, allowed for more librarian-to-librarian exchange events – which provides more precedent and experience among librarians for other kinds of campaigns.
Participants continued to use the #hashtag in their edit summaries, but some found a new trick. With two hashtags, like #1lib1ref and #UNClib, they were able to track both their general contributions to the campaign and their group's specific achievements – in this case the University of North Carolina Library. This paired extremely well with another new and exciting development: goals and pledges. Several groups set ambitious targets for their institution or themselves, and by using two hashtags (one for the campaign and one for their group), they were able to easily track their specific impact within the broader campaign.
The story that travels
Year two of #1lib1ref reinforced a number of the learnings that we had from last year: that decentralized engagement, with a number of different communities and languages, helps strengthen the conversation and empower libraries. What we didn't quite expect was how more communities would find ways to strengthen this storytelling:
Like in 2016, we worked closely with IFLA to introduce broader messaging to the international library community. IFLA greatly amplified the campaign's reach, in particular with their viral blog post Alternative facts and fake news
In a show of phenomenal teamwork and dedication, at the State Library of Queensland the library staff dared themselves to add 1000 citations for the campaign. And they did!
One of the most historic and tense sports rivalries in United States history, the basketball feud between University of North Carolina and Duke University, spilled over onto the #1lib1ref court. The hashtag #UNCvsDuke showed off another idea for encouraging participation through friendly competition. We love all 1lib1ref participants, but we have to say that this year UNC trounced Duke in added citations and Duke humbly acknowledged their loss. Congrats to both and good luck next year!
Bioheritage Diversity Library also provided strong communications support for the campaign this year
Barbara Fischer at Wikimedia Deutschland was a big booster for the campaign across social media
Catalan Wikipedia again made a very strong showing with lots of energy and involvement online
The campaign's top Tweet encapsulates the most compelling message for participants: "Librarians all over the world are giving Wikipedia the gift of a citation. Because #factsmatter."
Recent political developments and the public climate of questioning the reliability of sources of information (see fake news) helped the campaign maintain momentum relevance and momentum. The idea that Wikipedia is not only becoming more complete but also more factual and more reliable makes for a powerful story in times of information uncertainty. This is an area where Wikipedia can transform doubts about its credibility to a surprising faith in its neutrality and standards for citation. #1lib1ref is the perfect vehicle for sharing that broader message.
More decentralized outreach, more targeted local impact
Another component of this year's campaign was better preparation among affiliates for the campaign. Following the model of the campaign in the first year, we saw deliberate engagement and outreach as part of broader GLAM initiatives reported in nine affiliate regions, and support from several communities that didn't report in this month in GLAM. Here are a few highlights from the regional communities:
Wikimedia Deutschland was able to do targeted outreach with a couple of local library networks and prepared several videos and communications tools that helped spread the conversation about references on Wikipedia: read the report
Wikimedia Netherlands got a chance to work with the National Library to expand the broad engagement in the campaign, read the report
Wikimedia Côte d’Ivoire was able to share their Gender Gap focused contribution campaigns with the library community there, read the report
Though raw numbers of impact in languages other than English were not massive (and a couple of coordinators expressed disappointment at the spread of the campaign on Twitter and measurable hashtagged edits), almost every community found the communications effort valuable: the simple and focused message of the campaign allowed for lower energy targeted outreach. When talking with GLAM-Wiki coordinators at chapters who participated in #1lib1ref this year at the European GLAM Coordinators meeting, each organization found it a valuable tool for engaging organizations they hadn't engaged recently.
Though this year's campaign greatly expanded and diversified the impact, to provide a broader conversation about the role of Wikimedia citations in the library-verse, at times there wasn't sufficient staff and peer-to-peer support among folks hoping to bolster #1lib1ref in their particular context. Next year, we hope to engage a broader organizing community through the soon to be affiliate, the User Group (more on that below!). We also found the Wikipedia + Libraries Facebook group (which formed shortly before the campaign) enabled more of peer-to-peer support that was missing from a Twitter-centric campaign. By investing energy developing both these communities, we hope to have better infrastructure for the decentralized network to learn from itself, while also providing targeted WMF support to community leaders that allows for consistent and steady messaging and endorsement of their efforts.
The Wikipedia Library team has been supporting the formation of an independent Wikipedia Library User Group, to help expand the impact of broader library-focused outreach in the Wikimedia community. The user group interest page can be found on Meta.
At the time of writing, nearly 100 community members had already signed interest for the group. No formal application has been made to AffCom just yet, but this show of support is a fantastic start. After official recognition, the next step will be forming a 'steering committee' to kick off activities and organize the first year's efforts. We hope that the group provides a more community oriented forum for hosting #1lib1ref, developing the global story and collaboration about the importance of Wikimedia projects in the library space, and facilitates other unidentified opportunities for broad collaboration between librarians and the Wikimedia community. Moreover, we hope the user group provides a platform for library needs from the Wikimedia community to be expressed across the movement.
Share the group with your library advocates and sign up! This user group is not run by WMF Programs, although we hope to facilitate its development with service and support. The libraries + Wikipedia movement is too big, broad, diverse, global and powerful to be constrained in its potential – leadership needs to emerge from many quarters to thrive.
Wikimedia Conference 2017
At this year's Wikimedia Conference 2017, alongside the usual meetings of chapters and affiliates, a group of invited Wikimedia community members gathered to discuss the future of the movement, proposing and debating directions and priorities for the movement over the next 15 years, in an effort to answer the question "What do we want to build or achieve together by 2030?" One such discussion centered around the topic of Wikipedia + Libraries; participants discussed the role of librarians within the Wikimedia movement over the coming years, how to explain to librarians the importance of engaging with Wikimedia projects, methods for encouraging the community to use libraries, and working with Wikimedia chapters to connect Wikimedians and their local libraries, among other topics. Merrilee summarised the discussion as:
Librarians are “offline Wikipedians” who already have the skills to make them successful Wikimedians. It is our job to give them the confidence to succeed. Libraries hold important resources that will help make articles stronger and more credible, yet Wikipedians are unaware. By 2030, these gaps will have been closed by actions that will bring librarians and Wikipedians closer together.
This discussion fed into broader proposals for thematic statements (the eventual outcome of the movement strategy track), where statements such as "By 2030, Wikimedia should lead an ecosystem of key players in the knowledge commons movement to improve quantity, quality, and reach of free content, to extend the credibility of the knowledge commons and to increase its resilience without compromising our independence or values" were directly influenced.
The Wikimedia Conference was also a good opportunity for a Wikimedia + Libraries meetup, where interested participants discussed their successes and challenges over the past year, plans and opportunities for the coming year, and the upcoming user group. The conversation highlighted the need for a user group where such discussions can happen more regularly, where participants can support and provide advice to each other, and where broader initiatives can be communally supported.
While an enormous amount of content is available through The Wikipedia Library, our current distribution and access processes leave a lot of room for improvement. Signing up for partners is currently done individually and on a per-partner basis, resulting in a slow turnaround on approval and distribution of access, taking on average three weeks from application to access, which is far too long. We've been limited in the number of accounts we can give out for most publishers and accounts are generally granted for exactly one year at a time, whether editors need longer perpetual access, or worse if they only want to grab a couple of references. Lastly, there hasn't been a way to search through the vast content across all our separate partners.
At the center of our plans for increasing and improving access is the Wikipedia Library Card platform. We rolled out phase one last quarter, addressing the slow signup and approval challenges while beta testing and improving it with our latest new partners. Already delivering access, it should improve signup speed from three weeks on average to closer to one week, won't require editors to provide all their details every time they sign up for a new resource, and will be translated into as many languages as possible. By the end of March, we plan to move all partner signups over to the platform.
Our next step (phase two), is to integrate a proxy authentication method, which will allow users to use their single Wikipedia login for direct access to partners who can accept authentication through the Library Card. This will greatly improve the ease of access for editors, should reduce the workload for us and our partners, and will hopefully translate to increased usage and citation of available resources. We are aiming to have this ready in approximately 6 months.
An addition to our signup model, currently dependent on per-user approvals by volunteer coordinators, will be the Wikipedia Library Bundle. It would give any editor who meets account age, edit count, and recent activity criteria automatic access through the platform to a certain set of TWL partners, effectively replacing the account coordinator approval step, and covering approximately 25,000 editors across all language Wikipedias. The Library Bundle will provide immediate access to participating partner resources for eligible Wikipedians, without having to sign up and with no need to worry about only using their access for a handful of sources at a time. We're really excited about the opportunities and accessibility this access method will provide.
Phase three of the Library Card Platform will seek to solve the issue of editors needing to browse partner-by-partner for needed resources. We will be implementing an integrated search tool which will index partner resources and provide search via a single interface. Not only will editors not need to log in separately to each of TWL's partners' websites, they will be able to search all their content from one place too.