For Wikimedia Australia, February 2016 was all about Wikidata in GLAM. Andy Mabbett spent three weeks touring Australia, talking about Wikidata and about his GLAM activities.
Andy Mabbett was Wikipedian-in-Residence at VALA 2016, Australia's technology in libraries conference, held in Melbourne on 9–11 February 2016. Andy presented Bootcamps, and P-plate sessions on Wikidata and GLAM initiatives. We also held discussions with many speakers, delegates and exhibitors, about potential collaborations. Wikimedia Australia fielded interest from public, academic and community libraries at their booth in the exhibition hall. It was an excellent awareness-raising activity and an opportunity to connect with international presenters as well as publishers. Leigh Blackall from RMIT University organised a very well-attended Melbourne Meetup with participants from the GLAM, education, arts and the data sectors, at which Andy gave a presentation on Wikidata.
Wikimedia Australia would like to express our thanks to State Library of NSW for their help in Sydney, as well as that of the Trove and Libraries Australia teams at the National Library, and to ORCID.
In Perth, Wikimedia Australia held a public mini-conference that was well attended and received. Noongar elders welcomed Andy to country asking that elders past recognise the importance of the yarns Andy would be sharing. People from the State Library of Western Australia, WA Museum, City and Shire councils, the major universities and community cultural organisations attended the event. This was followed by a public workshop on Wikidata at the State Library, and personalised workshops for GLAM organisations who have ongoing active projects. Andy and Gideon also addressed a meeting of the WA branch of ALIA, the Australian Library and Information Association, which was covered in an ALIA-WA blog post. Andy also got to indulge in his love of birds, as well as view first-hand the only two Australian WikiTown projects in Fremantle and Toodyay.
This 'tour by an expert' initiative was a strategy identified by Wikimedia Australia in response to a request for expertise we could not provide locally, and is in part a response to Australia's dispersed geography. There is general agreement that it has been a useful model in terms of providing editors with new knowledge and skills. It also provided a focus for local meetups and increased engagement with the professional GLAM community in a number of locations. Several Australian Wikimedians are now confident to present Wikidata workshops. WMAU plans to partner with GLAM organisations with a multi-city program in the future. From Perth, Andy headed over to Jakarta and did presentations for Wikimedia Indonesia. By moving one person around the country, we reached more people at less cost than if we had planned for Australian Wikimedians to all travel to the same venue.
Of course this requires a very special kind of presenter, one with expert knowledge, cultural sensitivity and an ability to get on with a wide range of people - even while jet-lagged. Wikimedia Australia would like to express our thanks to Andy Mabbett for his work, his insights and his patience in helping WMAU and Australian GLAM communities get a better understanding of Wikidata.
advise and assist staff and volunteers at the State Library of Queensland and their affiliated GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) and heritage organisations to contribute content to Wikipedia relating to Queensland in WW1 drawing on the material in their collections as sources
personally contribute content to Wikipedia in relation to Queensland in WW1 drawing on those same collections as sources
The role has been designed to align with the Wikimedia Foundation's strategic plan to "improve quality ... via partnerships with universities, cultural institutions and other groups who align with our mission".
The State Library of Queensland understand the concerns about paid editing and conflict of interest on Wikipedia. I will not be expected to edit content relating to the State Library of Queensland or any topic that I believe would constitute a conflict of interest. The State Library of Queensland has a long history of being a supporter of Wikipedia, having contributed tens of thousands of out-of-copyright images to Wikimedia Commons and collaborated with Wikimedia Australia on providing Wikipedia edit training throughout Queensland. I will be the first Wikipedian in Residence at the State Library of Queensland with others to follow later in 2016.
Note, outside of my role with the State Library of Queensland, I will be continuing to edit as a volunteer, pursuing my usual interests of the Queensland Heritage Register and the history, geography and biography of Queensland.
I attended Andy's sessions at VALA and they were inspiring! I enjoyed hearing why the other attendees were there and it started the wheels going in my brain about ways to harness Wikidata in the increasingly needed public contributions to the work that my colleagues and I do in the area of women's history in Australia through the Australian Women's Register (and of course ways that we can contribute and share). I've been in touch with another attendee at the workshop subsequently to start the process of working together via Wikidata, even applied internally in my organisation to see whether we can rustle up money for a Wikipedian-in-Residence! Also joined the Wikidata and Gendergap lists. A lot of personal pronouns here I know, but wanted you to know that Wikidata really resonated with me and I think the tour was a great strategy. Thanks to all involved.