Just For The Record is a project addressing how gender is represented in new media and writing/publishing tools like Wikipedia, and what influence this has on the way history is recorded. With the importance that such platforms as Wikipedia have gained in our society, and the new writing and publishing tools they propose, it is becoming clear that history is being written down once again. Therefore it is of great concern when studies reveal that only 8.5 to 22.7% of Wikipedia’s contributors are women. This problem was identified by the community itself as Gender Bias. Despite their efforts to come up with solutions to live up to their motto “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit”, Wikipedia’s contributors are still predominantly male. Moreover, the contents published also show partial gender representations. As a symbolic example, the article “Heroines” is automatically redirected to the article “hero”, and its emblematic figures are mostly male. Next to the issues of authorship and subject matters, the writing style and structure can often be problematic. A classic example of this is the amount of articles about women that starts with “this woman was the sister/wife of this famous man” in their first or second sentence.
To address these issues Just for the record organises a series of events in Brussels starting in January 2016. The topic of the first event was Heroines. During Heroines, these observations were taken as the point of departure for lectures and discussions, and intervention—the day includes a crash course in Wikipedia editing. The event included a presentation by Catherine Lenoble on ‘Heroines (disambiguation)’ and an intervention by Clara Thomine.
The next event will be organised on 27 February 2016.
On 25 January 2016 the Public Domain Day Celebration lunch was organised by COMMUNIA, hosted by MEP Julia Reda in the European Parliament in Brussels. The event started with a talk by Julia Reda. After the host multiple people followed, who spoke about their experiences with copyright, afterwards followed by an opportunity to talk and discuss.
The western face of European Parliament after the completion of its latest extension towards Luxembourg square.
Wikidata meeting & workshop
On 29 January 2016 a second meeting was organised about Linked Open Data via Wikidata, the Wikidata project organised in collaboration with Flemish cultural institutions. (See previous report about the project)
During the first part of the day the project results were shared with the participating organisations. In the second part of the day a hands on Wikidata workshop was given to these institutions. The participants learned how they can edit Wikidata, how to add their own information, what information can be added, and more.
In the last weekend from January the annual conference for free and open-source software development, FOSDEM, was organised again in Brussels. Wikimedia had a stand at the conference, organised by Wikimedia Belgium, Wikimedia Deutschland and the Wikimedia Foundation. At the stand we had various materials from the Wikimedia movement and the focus of this year's stand was mainly on informing the public about Wikidata and its possibilities. The organising team was especially strengthened by some great WMDE staff that supplied information materials and more, as well as their great presence at the stand.
During the conference multiple presentations were given about certain topics in the Wikimedia movement, including about the Wikidata article placeholder, and about the Free Knowledge Game Jam.
From Wikipedia/Wikidata/Wikimedia/MediaWiki in total more than 15 people were present during the conference, coming from Albania, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US and all together we had a great conference with good talks.
FOSDEM shows that it is important for the Wikimedia movement to reach out to all kinds of parties and inform them about the many possibilities there are in the Wikimedia movement, with MediaWiki, Wikidata, Wikipedia and more. With this conference the app makers and other software developers.
With the conference, also the presence on Wikidata of FOSDEM itself has been expanded.