GLAM/Newsletter/August 2011/Contents/USA report

By HstryQT and SarahStierch

Three Backstage Passes at GLAMs bring together staff with Wikipedians; brief news

Backstage Pass & Edit-a-Thon at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Exploring the stores during the Backstage Pass at the Children's Museum.

On Saturday, August 20 The Children's Museum of Indianapolis hosted Wikipedians at the museum's second Backstage Pass event, following the first Backstage Pass in November 2010 [See Signpost coverage]. This Backstage Pass was unique in that it was made up of three components: The actual "Backstage Pass" tour of collections, an Edit-a-Thon with on-site curators and in-person Wikipedian attendees (and online volunteers), and a Translate-a-Thon that occurred live via Skype with student members in the ITESM-CCM Wikipedia Club in Mexico City.

The focus of the day was on the Caplan Collection, a significant portion of the museum's collection that is made up of folk art and toys. Children's museum curators and archivists gathered and digitized a large amount of resources that were used by Wikipedians during the Edit-a-Thon. Additionally, on hand to answer questions was the former registrar who had managed the acquisition of the Caplan Collection. At the end of the day, four new articles related to the Caplan Collection were created or improved, and dozens of objects from the Caplan Collection had been professionally photographed. (See some of the first images uploaded to the new Creative Playthings category.)

More photographs of the participants in Indianapolis can be seen on Commons. Lori Philips - the Wikipedian in Residence, and organizer of the event - also penned a blogpost for the Children's Museum's blog, providing further information and insider's comments.

Archives of American Art hosts first Smithsonian Backstage Pass


On July 29 the Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C., hosted the Smithsonian Institution's first Wikipedia Backstage Pass and Edit-A-Thon. The event hosted 11 Wikipedians from as far as Philadelphia and Newport News, VA, with interests in American art history and archival procedure.

Backstage Pass attendees smile for the camera at the Little Photos Big Lives exhibition.

The day opened with a welcome from Archives of American Art Director John Smith, praising the work of Wikipedians and the importance of partnerships between GLAMs and Wikipedia. Jason Stieber, Collections Specialist for the United States, presented on his experiences and role as archives collector. Stieber shared his experiences with working with artists to bring their collections to AAA and touched on intellectual property, what exactly the Archives collections, and shared amazing photographs from his experiences. Following Stieber, was Archivist Jean Fitzgerald, a long time employee of the Archives and a source of endless knowledge of the collections. Fitzgerald taught Wikipedians about the archival process, and provided a rare look at fragile objects within the collection, including the sketchbook of legendary caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. After Fitzgerald's presentation, Archives staff gave Wikipedians a tour of the archives, collections and offices.

After lunch, an Edit-a-Thon took place focusing around the 2013 anniversary of the Armory Show, an art exhibition that changed the face of the art world. The Archives provided reference materials online and offline that allowed Wikipedians to create and expand on the articles of 14 artists. The Edit-a-Thon was followed by a tour of AAA's exhibition Little Pictures Big Lives at the The Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. The day ended with a GLAM-WIKI happy hour at a local BBQ bar and restaurant.

The Edit-a-Thon was documented by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, showcasing the opportunity for Wikipedians to work together with Archives staff, and the importance of the event. Several attendees were interviewed and a short video about the event was produced. Both the article and the video can be viewed on the newsletter's website. The event also received coverage in the Smithsonian's own publication, The Torch. The article can be read here. Photographs from the day can be found on Commons.

National Archives and Records Administration hosts Backstage Pass and Scan-a-thon

Wikipedians on the tour at NARA.

Saturday, August 6, the National Archives and Records Administration opened their doors to their College Park, Maryland unit to more than a dozen Wikipedians. The event opened with Kristen Albrittain, of NARA's social media team, welcoming the group and expressing the importance of NARA's partnership with Wikimedia, followed by remarks from Wikipedian-in-Residence Dominic, discussing projects currently taking place involving various Wikimedia projects and NARA. After lunch, Dr. Kenneth Heger, Senior Supervisory Archivist, led Wikipedians on a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility. Heger showed Wikipedians unique holdings such as documents wrapped in red tape and historic documents.

After the tour, NARA staff presented Wikipedians with documents that had been pulled in advance for Wikipedians to explore and scan, including documents that were requested by Wikipedians. Working together, Wikipedians scanned a large group of never before scanned images, all which have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, which you can view here. Images include content from the US Treasury Department, US Navy, Bureau of Ships and the Signal Corps. This event is one of the first of many to be held by NARA. You can read more about the event at the official blog of the National Archives, NARAations.


Wikipedians meet with GLAM staff at GLAM Baltimore 2011
  • Walters Art Museum & Baltimore Heritage hosts GLAM Baltimore 2011: Baltimore Heritage and the Walters Art Museum hosted a two-day series of events to bring awareness to opportunities in GLAM partnerships with Wikipedia. Friday evening SarahStierch spoke at the Young Preservationists Happy Hour, giving the history of GLAM WIKI to a crowd of enthusiastic architectural preservationists with Natty Boh's (a local beer) in hand. The following day the Walters Art Museum hosted Wikipedians and GLAM professionals from throughout the region where Stierch, Katie Filbert and Dylan Kinnett, manager of Web and Social Media at the Walters, spoke about opportunities in partnerships. After a successful meeting, plans are in the works for the first Wikipedia Takes Baltimore and a possible content donation by the Walters Art Museum.
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art becomes a "Good article" on English Wikipedia: After working with E-Volunteers to develop a neutral, quality, conflict of interest-free Wikipedia article, we're happy to report that the Indianapolis Museum of Art article is now a good article on Wikipedia. Out of over 3.7 million Wikipedia articles, only 12,710 are of good article quality. This article was the basis for the informative and influential case study written by Lori Byrd Phillips about GLAMs working with Wikipedians to create/expand articles about their institutions.
  • City University of New York begins History of Design and Digital Media class with Wikipedia: CUNY has begun to partner with Campus Ambassador to develop what is believed to be the first art history class utilizing Wikipedia. This Fall, the class, taught by Michael Mandiberg, will teach students Wikipedia competency combined with the history of design and digital media, students will expand on and create new articles related to their class topic, improving arts coverage on English Wikipedia. The class will also with Pharos, Wikipedian-in-Residence at the Museum of Modern Art, touring the museums upcoming exhibition "Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects" and participating in a workshop relating to the exhibit and Wikipedia. Learn more about the class here.
  • National Archives begins 10,000+ image contribution to Wikimedia Commons: In late July the National Archives and Records Administration began the process of contributing over 10,000 high resolution images to Wikimedia Commons. Images include historical portraits of African American figures such as Frederick Douglass, historical documents related to late 19th-century Native America, and other subjects such as World War I, World War II, the American Civil War, civil and human rights, rare documents, and the Presidents of the United States. NARA can use your help to organize these images, learn more about participating here.
  • Wikipedian-in-Residence at NARA will stay through the Fall: Dominic, Wikipedian-in-Residence at the National Archives and Records Administration, has had his contract extended into the Fall. Taking leave from his studies at Simmons College, Dominic will work towards making NARA's relationship with Wikipedia self-reliant. Dominic's work "laid the groundwork" for the project, which he fears would go dormant upon his departure. Like many GLAM partnerships, the goal is to allow the resident's GLAM to become self-sufficient in their Wiki-proficiency, not having to rely on a resident, and Dominic hopes that can be the end result: "The plan for the next few months is to try to make myself unnecessary, both by making the projects on Wikimedia viable and self-organizing, and by leaving the NARA staff with enough Wikimedia skills to do some things themselves." Congratulations Dominic!
The Kennedy family on vacation, with the family dogs, August 14, 1963. One of the many photos released to Commons from NARA.
  • Wiki Society of Washington DC teams up with the DC Public Library for "Library Lab": The Wiki Society of Washington DC has partnered with the DC Public Library system to create a "hackspace for knowledge" which will serve as a "community center for annotation, classification, creation, curation, digitization; education and publication, reading and writing and media production." The space will open in September and run through December, serving as a prototype for a national program. Activities will include classes in technology proficiency, Wikipedia contributing, hackathons, and other events that will tie into cultural heritage and arts in a digital age. Learn more about Library Labs here.
  • Wikipedia Loves Libraries seeking participants: October 2011 will serve as the first Wikipedia Loves Libraries event. Modeled on the success of the Great American Wiknic and the recent Edit-a-thon with the British Library, WLL will bring Wikipedians and librarians together to serve as a "living reference section," and to build article content related to library holdings. Events are scheduled to take place throughout the United States, and perhaps beyond! Learn how you can participate here.
  • GLAM Wikipedians to participate in Museum Computer Network 2011 annual conference in Atlanta: GLAM Wikipedians Lori Byrd Phillips, Sarah Stierch, and Katie Filbert will be participating in this year's MCN conference in Atlanta, Georgia this November. Phillips, Wikipedian-in-Residence at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, will co-present with Angie McNew, Director of Information and Interactive Technology, a talk called "Sharing Resources with a Global Audience: Practical Methods for Collaborating with Wikipedia". Stierch, Wikipedian-in-Residence at the Archives of American Art and recipient of a Wikimedia Foundation grant to attend MCN, will give two talks: "WikiProject:Public Art" and "Wikimedia & Indigenous Peoples: Pros, Cons and Community". Filbert, President of the Wiki Society of DC and recipient of THATcamp award from the Kress Foundation, will present "Collaborative Mapping & Documenting Cultural Places". Learn more about attending MCN here.

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