In general, I was really happy with and engaged by the large number of people talking about the importance of cultural heritage for the movement. The growing consensus among our community leaders is that there needs to be a coordinated and systematic effort, beyond GLAM-Wiki or Wiki Loves Monuments, to align our collective impact on the cultural heritage space (as is broadly defined by organizations like UNESCO to include non-material heritage and natural heritage alongside our more traditional emphasis on GLAM). I found the conversation at the Wiki Loves Monuments and Connected Open Heritage meeting particularly useful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwkI7iNidXk . Well done John Andersson, Axel Pettersson, André Costa, Philip Kopetzky and Jean Fred Berthelot!
Hopefully, in the next year we can use my new position with the WMF to help provide an advocate for that conversation, and especially as we look to integrate it into the movement strategy conversations that Katherine Maher described as an important part of her new tenure as WMF Executive Director. Staff at the Foundation are increasingly looking for ways to think about GLAM and other programs. A big part of my job will be building awareness in those other teams, especially the technical teams, so that both volunteer and partner GLAM-Wiki stakeholders can benefit from WMF projects.
Their was also a meetup of GLAM-Wiki coordinators at Wikimania, and we talked about the shared needs of the GLAM-Wiki community at the moment. The conversation led to several very clear conclusions on next steps for my role at the WMF: we need to make sure that our communication and documentation channels are clear amongst GLAM-Wiki folks, and that we need to find ways of developing our shared support needs/requests as GLAM-Wiki coordinators (see the next section).
Other highlights for me include:
A lot of very interesting conversations about and desire to support WikiSource, and significant software improvements for WikiSource including integration of Visual Editor into the Proofread Page Extension. WikiSource is very important for our long-term GLAM-Wiki strategy: emerging communities or communities with small supplies of digital records need these source materials before they can participate in other parts of our communities.
Lots of interest and positive energy for structured data in general, but also structured data on Commons: I think almost every session I was at mentioned the need for structured data on Commons – and it's in the works (phabricator:T68108). If you have the energy or interest in helping the Wikidata team please reach out.
Emerging communities are communicating new and different approaches to working with cultural institutions and working with cultural heritage. I hope to help integrate those model projects more with the best practices developed in the early Europe-centered GLAM-Wiki documentation.
Starting Phabricator Projects for GLAM-Wiki
One of the conclusions of the GLAM-Wiki coordinator meetings at Wikimania, was a need for better communication about who needs what help in the GLAM-Wiki Community. Part of this will be overhauling the portal on Outreach to make it easier to find the best contact information and communication channels. I will be coordinating a documentation consultation in the coming months to help us find the best existing material, and identify what needs to be done to improve those materials and make them easier to access.
But there is also a broader need to share the problems we are facing as GLAM-Wiki outreach folks, and at the Wikimania GLAM Coordinators meetup we decided on trying an experiment: shared Phabricator projects for GLAM-Wiki support needs.
A General GLAM workboard, for tracking support needs related to GLAM program activities, documentation, communications support, or other kinds of non-technical skills
A GLAM-Tech workboard, for tracking technical needs related to GLAM, both in the core MediaWiki software, in external apps/tools used for GLAM-Wiki projects, or help with templates, Wikidata, or some other kind of more technical on-wiki skills.
How does this work?
How to make a Phabricator account
Phabricator is a task management system designed by engineers for both project management and bug management. In the Wikimedia community the system has largely been used by developers; however, in the last year, more and more other projects in the movement have started using Phabricator for non-technical task management. Among these non-software uses: the Wikipedia Education Collaborative has created their own Workboard to track shared projects that require collective experience beyond what one Education Coordinator can support. Education leaders submit tasks to the workboard, and then other Education leaders who are part of the Education Collaborative work on those tasks. This time on collective tasks is becoming part of how those Education Coordinators schedule their time.
To get a task in the GLAM-Wiki queues, create a new task in Phabricator (plus sign at the top right), and in the field labeled "Tags" add GLAM or GLAM-Tech. Once in the queues, other GLAM-Wiki coordinators and practitioners can sign up ("Claim") the task if they can commit to solving the problem; moreover the comment section of each task allows us to talk through complications or challenges with those tasks (see for example this recent conversation about the possible reuse cases for dynamic Maps outside of Wikimedia projects). This kind of collaborative task list allow GLAM-Wiki leaders to get support beyond local volunteer communities and personal contacts. This also helps folks who coordinate between communities, like myself as WMF GLAM-Wiki Strategist, to better learn about and coordinate support for GLAM program leaders who need mentoring, documentation, learning materials, or help from someone else in our community.
If you are unfamiliar with Phabricator, the Education Collab has created a great Introduction to Phabricator. Please give it a try: shared work queues only work if you both contribute needs and spend time working on tasks submitted by others.
During the Documentation overhaul, better instructions and use cases will be integrated into the outreach portal.
June WMF GLAM Highlights
Some quick highlights of the work I (Alex Stinson) have been doing as GLAM-Wiki Strategist at the Foundation:
Wrapping up responsibilities with the Wikipedia Library, including advocating for and supporting a number of relationships and partnerships.
IFLA: consulting on development of White Papers for IFLA World Congress in Columbus, August 2016
Corresponded with Ivan Martinez and Wikimedia Mexico for outreach to a university library
Met with Liam Wyatt about strategy with Europeana and European coordinators; regular correspondence with several European Coordinators
Wikimania consultations with dozens of people, including:
Parithi, Tamil Wikimedia work
Mounir Touzri of Wikimedia Tunisia
WIRs Jason Evans, Ewan McAndrews, and John Cummings
Mina Theofilatou of WikiTherapy
Andrea Zanni and Wikisource meetup group for WikiSource
with Dominic Byrd-McDevitt led program for GLAM-Wiki Bootcamp hosted by the National Archive of the United States. Documentation is at. Was invited to help teach the event, since in the United States and a short trip for me. Refined the 2013 curriculum to include better coverage of Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, and changes in different models being used to develop GLAM-Wiki partnerships. Consulted with 15 attendees and Wikimedia DC on GLAM work. Working over the next several months to internationalize for other contexts (initial discussions to do this in Tunisia) – if other communities are interested please reach out to astinsonwikimedia.org. I hope to help local communities pilot more GLAM-Wiki training around the world in the next several years.
Attended the Diversity Conference (https://wikidiversity.org/wiki/Main_Page ) since it coincided with the GLAM-Wiki Bootcamp. A number of interesting conversations about representing global and gender diversity in GLAM-Wiki, and how valuable the contributions of GLAM partners is to creating greater diversity. Because of the short timeline for planning the conference, attendance was very U.S.-focused.
Developed partnership request with WMF Strategic Partnerships for access to Googles OCR tools for WikiSource. Currently, Community Tech is evaluating the API for that tool for solving the Community Wishlist Ask https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T120788