New Zealand now has an official Wikimedia User Group: Wikimedia Aotearoa New Zealand Inc, known as WANZ or Wikimedia Aotearoa for short (Aotearoa is the Māori name of New Zealand, and how it's commonly referred to in New Zealand English). The group is now an incorporated society, and is applying for charitable status.
At its first general meeting on 17 March, the following appointments were made, interim until elections at the society's first Annual General Meeting.
This marks a new stage in the growth of the Wikimedia movement in Aotearoa. Ten years ago there had been no organised Wikimedia events in the country, except for half a dozen small meetups in Auckland and one in Wellington. Several edit-a-thons were organised over 2015–2017, and a project-grant-funded Wikipedian at Large over 2018–2019. A monthly Wellington Wiki Meetup began in 2019, and a national online monthly meetup in 2020. Christchurch began regular meetups in 2020, and there were Wikipedia conferences in Hokitika (March 2021) and Auckland (July 2021). Auckland launched its first regular meetup in April this year.
Wikimedia Aotearoa's first tasks are to apply for a grant from the Community Fund to support meetups and a conference over the next year, and organise a strategy workshop in Wellington where the committee can work on the group's roles, kaupapa (philosophy), and strategic plan. Then there's the normal business of a society: setting up a website and mailing list, planning meetups and edit-a-thons, and determining projects to support for 2022 like the Theses Wikidata Project (see below). For the moment the society's information is on its Meta page, and it can be contacted via secretarywikimedia.nz.
Aotearoa New Zealand Academic Theses Wikidata Project: Progress is being made!
This project came about while Mike Dickison was a Wikipedian in Residence at Lincoln University. During that short residency, librarian Deborah Fitchett raised the possibility of adding Lincoln University’s theses to Wikidata. She had an opportunity to present on to her academic librarian colleagues at the online conference Aotearoa Institutional Repositories Community Days 30 September - 1 October 2021 on adding thesis metadata into Wikidata. In preparation for this presentation she reached out to Mike Dickison who in turn invited Siobhan Leachman and Tamsin Braisher to join in the discussion. This group met several times to discuss the proposal of uploading all New Zealand academic theses into Wikidata and to prepare for the presentation at the conference.
The four contributors worked together to produce both slides and a presentation attempting to encourage discussion amongst the academic library community and to also attempt to convince all the academic libraries across New Zealand to release this metadata to be uploaded into Wikidata. In preparation for the presentation Deborah Fitchett also sent a small dataset of the metadata to Tamsin Braisher to test the possible data clean up workflow and upload into Wikidata. In preparation for the presentation Tamsin Braisher produced a document giving a proposed workflow and raised potential issues concerning the mapping of doctoral theses to Wikidata. At the same time Siobhan Leachman worked on a potential schema for mapping the citation data into Wikidata. This proposed schema was discussed by the group and the issues were thought through and documented. This proposed schema was then placed into the Wikidata Cradle tool to assist with visualisation and aid discussion during the presentation. Although a cradle form was generated it was recognised by all participants that this ontology was likely to be edited in the course of this project.
The presentation to the Aotearoa Institutional Repositories Community Days was well received by the attending academic librarians and a hackathon was subsequently arranged to be held on the 6th of December 2021. The aim of the hackathon was to determine the data fields/format required for the thesis record data that the libraries intended to extract from their repositories. Again this hackathon was successful and by February Deborah Fitchett had received multiple datasets from multiple academic libraries on the theses held by those institutions. Deborah Fitchett undertook significant work collating and aggregating the data and was able to pass the dataset onto Tamsin Braisher in the beginning of March. Tamsin Braisher then spent time exploring the dataset and began a small trial upload of theses into Wikidata both to test the proposed workflow and the schema that had been previously created. On the 25 March 2022, Tamsin Braisher presented her findings to the Project participants and contributors and requested feedback from the contributing libraries on issues this trial upload raised.
Feedback is in the process of being gathered from the participating institutions and Tamsin Braisher is continuing to work on the dataset preparing it for upload to Wikidata. It is anticipated that the upload of a core set of statements for the full theses dataset will be complete in May. After this, the Wiki editors involved are anticipating holding further workshops with the academic librarians to teach them how to then disambiguate the author name strings, and how to link author items to their supervisor or affiliated institution items. It is also anticipated that librarians will be taught how to contribute to the #1Lib1Ref 2022 event by adding theses citations to the publications section of appropriate author Wikipedia articles. We also anticipate adding a further set of statements to the thesis items later, including licensing and access, degree programme, and main subject statements. Deborah Fitchett and Tamsin Braisher have been working with some Australian editors to improve the mapping of ANZSRC controlled vocabulary codes to Wikidata as it would be helpful to have this completed prior to adding main subjects to the theses. Similarly, Tamsin Braisher is exploring obtaining a list of approved degree programmes for New Zealand for upload to Wikidata.