Our member Susanna Ånäs has been actively promoting Wikimaps, a new project to collect and enrich old map files online. Its main goal is georeferencing and interlinking old maps so that they are connected not only by space but by time. The total amount of public domain historical map material is vast. By giving them spatial and temporal references, they can be brought together and used to illustrate and explore historical topics. Every event has a place associated with it, and chances are there's a contemporary map showing the neighborhood of that place at the relevant time. Making maps available and building connections between them is a mammoth task, but a wiki framework will lower the threshold of participation, so getting more brains to participate should be easier.
Wiki Loves Public Art
May was also the month for Wiki Loves Public Art, a photography competition where participants take photos of public artworks. To my pleasant surprise, we got participants from outside the Helsinki area. Ten of the photos will be selected to take part in the international contest.
Finland is a relative newcomer to the club of urbanized nations. Most works of public art fall within the scope of URAA limitations and as such are not accepted on Commons. These include all recent and interesting works as well as some iconic landmarks of cities. This caused some protest that I found reasonable: whose rights are infringed upon if someone shares their photo of the Three Smiths Statue on Commons? The artist passed away in 1940, so the only limiting factor is US copyright law. Despite situations like this, all Wikimedia projects must follow the law. I have no easy solutions in mind, but it would be wonderful if copyright policies had a little more common sense in them.
Workshops and Study Material
Wiki-related workshops are a great way to coordinate efforts on wikiprojects and to share knowledge of Wikipedia to new people. I find that successful outreach activities can take many forms, from regular small gatherings to massive edit-a-thons. Kiasma's Wiki School is one of the former. The scope is contemporary art, especially by artists whose work is exhibited by Kiasma. Having access to material in the museum's library makes it easier to expand articles. It's often the case with art books and catalogues that their print runs are tiny and copies cost a fortune, so finding sources would be very difficult without the library's help.
Outreach is most rewarding and effective when done in person, but sometimes it's useful to target a wider audience. We printed some leaflets with the help of a grant from WMF. They contain the basics of expanding or starting a Wiki article as well as some knowledge of Wiki culture. There's also a cheat sheet of sorts to help people unfamiliar with Wiki markup. These will hopefully come in handy.