The past two months in Israel have been very eventful and GLAM has progressed quite a lot. Below is a review of the different collaborations and events we have had during November & December 2011, as well as some plans for 2012.
On November 8th, we had the first Edit-a-thon at the Israel Museum. Around 20 wikipedians, aged 12 to 70, came to the Information Center for Israeli Art at the museum, and worked together on expending articles about Israeli artists that are part of the IMJ GLAM project.
The Marathon was hosted by Dr. Allison Kupietzky, head of the Information Center, and her staff, who gave wikipedians access to the artist files at the Information Center. The files hold archival info such as catalogues, newspaper clippings, photos, videos and other such finds.
Since one of the project's goals was to welcome new wikipedians, the evening began at 17:00 with a one hour one-on-one tutoring about editing in wikipedia. By 18:00, the Information Center was buzzing with wikipedians, volunteers and staff. Experienced editors were working hand in hand with new wikipedians, going through the endless sea of information, sharing their findings and documenting them in the articles. Time flew very quickly, and the evening ended at 21:00, with a "taste for more" and an open invitation to the wiki community to come resume the work whenever we want.
On November 16th, we had the privilege of attending the 8th annual conference on the digitization of cultural heritage. The conference is probably the most professional & important one in Israel on the subject, so we were fortunate to have a two-hour session to present our projects.
The session, which was called "Wikipedia and GLAM Projects - How galleries, libraries, archives and museums work with Wikipedia & Wikimedia to share knowledge", was chaired by Dr. Allison Kupietzky, Collections Database Manager and Head of the Information Center for Israeli Art at the IMJ, and had 5 parts -
"How to change the world while still in your slippers - Wikipedia, Wikimedia and the free content movement" - A presentation by Tomer Ashur, Chairman of Wikimedia Israel. This presentation offered an intro to how wikipedia works, and presented the structure of Wikimedia as a free content movement and its synergy with various projects such as Wikipedia.
"Wikimedia's Outreach Projects - from Africa to GLAM" - A presentation by Shani Evenstine, GLAM Projects Coordinator, Wikimedia Israel. The lecture offered a general review of various outreach projects, focusing on GLAM projects around the world and presenting GLAM projects in Israel.
"Israeli Art on Wikipedia as part of the GLAM IMJ Project" - A presentation by Dr. Allison Kupietzky, Head of the Information Center for Israeli Art, IMJ & Yair Talmor, Wikipedian-in-Residence, IMJ Project. The lecture elaborated on how the joint project between Wikipedia and the museum has created a new interactive environment and resource for information on Israeli art.
"Working Together - The National Library and Wikipedia" - A presentation by Ido Ivri, Manager of Digital Programs, the National Library of Israel. The lecture described the National Library of Israel's initiative for providing access to a historic collection of 3,000 photographs, by making it accessible on Wikipedia, the benefits of the process to the general public, what the National Library gains and possible implications on the digitization and licensing processes.
A Q&A panel with the audience.
Dr. Allison Kupietzky
Dr. Allison Kupietzky and Tomer Ashur
The sessions was a huge success. It seemed that the audience, which included representatives from a variety of GLAMs in Israel, could not remained indifferent and reported that it was one of the most interesting sessions in the conference.
Personally, the most exciting & moving part was when reps. from top GLAMs in Israel approached us after the session, not only to say that it was intriguing and inspiring, but also to express their wish to have similar collaborations with WM-IL.
As reported before, part of the GLAM:IMJ project included a Wikipedian-in-Residence program. The first WIR, Yair Talmor, began his work at the Museum on Sep. 18th, and his residency ended on Nov. 30th.
Throughout his two months at the IMJ, Talmor worked in order to promote the goals set at the beginning of the project. This was no easy task - although an effort was made to have realistic and reachable milestones, the project was very ambitious and much energy was invested in it. Many challenges were faced as the first GLAM project in Israel.
As part of his residency, Talmor led editing sessions with Museum staff, promoted the relations between museum staff, volunteers of the Information Center and the Hebrew Wikipedia community, worked with the museum in order to release media files to Wiki Commons and cultivated a personal relationship with artists [and their families], who eventually donated info and media to the project.
Here are some of the milestones achieved throughout this short pilot -
58 Articles about Israeli Artists in Hebrew and English were started and edited. The basic info came from the artist files at the Information Center. Articles were then expended by volunteers and Wikipedians, with info from the Information center and the museum, as well as info that was received from artists themselves. Since the beginning of the project some articles have been translated into Chinese, Polish, Dutch, Russian, German, Spanish and lately - Swahili!
25 art pieces from the permanent collection at the museum now have an article as well.
Some articles have been proofed and edited by the main curator of the IMJ, as well as two other curators, who have learned to edit in Wikipedia.
The Copyright department at the museum has agreed to release media files owned by the museum to Wiki Commons. So far, 126 files of pieces from the collection have been uploaded, as well as 12 pieces from the Info Center, including the Tsafrir Collection and the Debel Gallery Collection.
The museum has consented to releasing the two collections mentioned above to Commons, and some of the material has already been used to research and edit articles.
As of today, there are more than 300 files in the project's category in Commons.
The Museum gave its permission to release audio files and clips from films about Israeli Art & Artists. Those files are in the process of begin digitized and loaded to commons.
A personal connection was made with a large portion of the artists participating in the pilot. A lot of formal and current information was received and artists were mostly happy for the opportunity to collaborate with Wikipedia and the Information Center and expose their work officially to a wider audience. The work with Artists is still in process.
Two events were held at the Museum: a "Behind the scenes tour" and an "Edit-a-thon". The project also participated in a conference and as a result of which new collaborations are now emerging.
A new Facebook group was opened in order to expose a wider audience to the project and its events.
Exposing the project in Wikipedia has resulted in 30 new editors and new volunteers world wide, including the 16 already involved when the project began.
Traffic to the Information Center and the Museum has grown. Statistics from October reveal that about 600 hits to the Museum's website came from Wikipedia, compared with 289 hits from Europeana and 72 from google.
Israel has become an active participant in the worldwide growing GLAM movement.
What's Next with the IMJ
Though the residency is over, the pilot is yet to be finished. We are still working on articles, on receiving info and permissions from artists and releasing more media files from the museum into Commons.
We are also in the process of producing a final event with the museum - a conference on "Israeli Art and digitized Information." This event will hopefully take place at the museum and will target gallery owners, artists, curators, art lecturers, art students, art lovers and of course -- wikipedians. The conference aims to expose the public to the results of the IMJ project, and encourage experts to contribute, share information and collaborate on promoting Israeli Art & Artists on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.
We hope that by the end of January, we will be able to finish the pilot and have more accurate statistics; but even now, the project has grown to be a success. The positive contact and collaboration with the IMJ will continue and we are hoping it will expend to other projects and other departments at the museum.
More details in the coming months.
It is with great pleasure that we announce the beginning of the second big GLAM project in Israel - a collaboration with the National Library of Israel. This project also hosts a Wikipedian-in-Residence, Daniel Tzvi Framowitz, who will work at the NLI once-twice a week, in the coming six months. The project was initiated by Ido Ivri, Manager of Digital Programs at the NLI, and a new wikipedian.
We wish them success and will report further on that project next month!
At the beginning of December two Israelis participated in GLAMcamp Amsterdam - Deror Lin and myself. As the new coordinator of all GLAM projects and initiatives in Israel, I came to Amsterdam with an agenda - first, it was really important for me to get to know the people who are doing GLAM worldwide. I wanted to learn about what else is going on around the world, get inspiration and new ideas. I also wanted to share with other GLAMers the work that has been done in Israel, not only to get feedback, but also to inspire back [as I do think that as a small country that has recently joined GLAM efforts, we've been doing great, in a relatively short time]. And finally - it was an opportunity to work on some technical statistics tool that we really need for GLAM projects.
All in all, it was a very enriching experience. The event held multiple, simultaneous sessions, most of which I found very interesting - from learning about the collaboration with Europeana at the public session and Wiki Loves Monuments to QRpedia and more technical wiki-stuff. To me, one of the most practical and important sessions was the Statistics & Metrics session, as I believe the work started there will result in tools used in GLAM projects worldwide. It was all thought provoking, and I couldn't wait to get back to Israel, so that I can spread the word and start implementing some of the things I've learnt.
On the personal level, I simply enjoyed getting to know the people behind the names and despite the cold weather [and the botel ;)], I really enjoyed Amsterdam. I'll particularly remember the "behind the scene" tours we had at the museums, especially the Amsterdam Museum, which I found inspiring.
On that note, I'd like to thank again WM-NL for hosting all of us and making this an unforgettable experience!
New Year's Resolutions
On December 18th, WM-IL had its 'General Assembly'. The evening began with financial reports, went on to review existing projects in Israel and finally discussed the projects [and budget] for 2012.
After giving the assembly a brief about GLAM activities, I'm happy to say that not only does GLAM has the support of the board, wikimedians and the Hebrew wikipedia community, but it was also decided that on 2012 -
Israel will join the international "Wiki Loves Monuments" contest
A new QR codes project will be initiated in Tel-Aviv.
No doubt, it's going to be an interesting & exciting year!