GLAM/Newsletter/July 2011/Contents/UK report

By Leutha, Brian McNeil and Rock drum

Wikimedians join V&A for Web Weekend and National Museum of Scotland re-opens, Wikinews invited

V&A Wikilounge


July saw Wikimedia UK organising a "Wikilounge" at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Alongside a variety of other initiatives, experienced Wikimedians introduced around 15 members of the public to Wikipedia editing. About a dozen Wikimedians went in person to the Museum to participate in the V&A's Web Weekend, although many other editors participated online. Geonotices had been placed on user watch-lists across the UK and in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to publicise the event. The event also helped Wikimedia UK to develop its experience working with curators at a major international museum

Tipu's Tiger

One of the photos of the object donated by the V&A museum on the day.

Wikimedians also set about the task of improving the article Tipu's Tiger and coordinating its creation in other languages. The English article is now over 5 times as long as before and references were developed to include plenty of in-line citations with proper links. The value of the article was also greatly improved by 3 new high quality images donated on the day, by the V&A. The curators helped by supplying Wikimedians with photocopies of academic articles from the National Art Library, so participants had excellent source material to use. Before the event the article existed in four languages: English, Italian, French and German.

During the event the community pulled together to improve Wikipedia's content of the object. A Greek visitor to the museum and a group of Spanish school children worked to create translated versions of the article in Greek and Spanish, respectively.

Other Wikimedians also joined in online, over IRC and other mediums to create a Tamil version (which will feature on the DYK section of that wiki's main page in August), as well as versions in Dutch, Hindi, Catalan, Simple English, Portugese, Danish and Welsh. The English article is also currently a Good Article nominee.

AshLin, one of the virtual contributors, remarked:

The surprising thing we learnt in this collaboration that despite just being on the internet in India and never having been to England, much less the V&A Museum, it was possible for us to contribute in so many ways - from finding derivative works, and public domain images to adding facts and references. The reasons for this were primarily that thanks to Shyamal's knowledge of open resources we found historical material on the net and also to some plain old grunt work churning through page after page of search results in Google Web, Google Books, Google Scholar and Google Images.

Grand reopening of the National Museum of Scotland

View of the museum's Grand Gallery on opening day.
Display of Egyptian shabtis in the popular Egyptian Gallery.

Last Friday saw the grand reopening of Edinburgh's National Museum of Scotland; and, at very short notice, Wikinews Accredited Reporter Brian McNeil was invited along to Wednesday's press preview.

The main content result was an in-depth Wikinews article on the reopening and the renovation of the museum, penned by McNeil.

Curators at the museum were interested to hear that Wikimedia UK is in the process of finalising a partnership agreement with Museums and Galleries Scotland; reactions were very positive regarding the intent to have a "Wikimedian in Residence" for Scotland. McNeil noted that he "came away with the impression we'll easily be able to establish a good working relationship with the museum".

Additionally, as part of his background research for the article, he exchanged emails with Robin Urquhart, the Online Resources Archivist at the National Archives of Scotland. Whilst there is a fair deal of ground to cover, the comment "we'd be very receptive to the idea of a working relationship with a 'Wikimedian in Residence' and to a donation of images" is very encouraging. Meetings will be arranged for mid-late August to continue work on the partnership.

With press packs and numerous other reports available, John Byrne (Johnbod) merged the distinct articles on the museums in Edinburgh's Chambers Street and began expanding the content. Wikinews employs a license that would allow substantial sections from the news report to be directly incorporated into Wikipedia. That, of course, should wait until the article is archived.

+ Add a commentDiscuss this story
No comments yet. Yours could be the first!

Home About Archives Subscribe Suggestions Newsroom