The Wikipedian-in-Residence project aimed to identify gaps in information and provide training to create content, learn about Wikipedia platforms and connect with future possibilities of promoting and celebrating Pacific Island artists from dance, music, fine arts and theatre through Wikipedia platforms. The project addressed that although Pacific arts is a prominent feature of the arts landscape in Aotearoa, the number of notable artists, events, companies and creators with articles in Wikipedia is very low. The Arts Pacifika Awards (run by CNZ) started in 2002 but only 42% of winners had Wikipedia articles. Expanded articles about Pacific arts helps create an enriched network of interlinked information painting a picture of Pacific Island creativity, investment in community and innovation that is globally searchable and an important springboard for further research and connections.
The overall purpose of the residency was to provide training to Pasifika editors and to expand knowledge about Wikipedia to Pasifika people in the arts. There were three Wikipedian-in-Residents that took part in the programme Kowhaiarewhana, Friagatewayfinder and NEOLANI2022, and each had a target for outreach conversations about what they were doing within their own networks or areas of interest. Often they reached out to the subjects of their articles for 'talanoa' or conversation, where sometimes they were able to hear first hand how people spoke about their work. This guided the research of the editors with clues about where to find citable sources. Although this is not perhaps the way many Wikipedia editors approach writing biographies of living people, in this context it endorsed the use of Wikipedia as a place for information about Pacific Island art and artists, as all who were approached were positive about the idea.
The residency contributes to Creative New Zealand’s work to develop ‘Tagata’ arts leadership, a strategic focus of its Pacific Arts Strategy 2018-2023, and is part of its #DigitalMoana response to the impacts of COVID-19.
Outcomes of the residency
The Creative New Zealand residency created 20 new articles with ten of these being created beyond start class by the three editors new to Wikipedia. The three residents also improved 13 Wikipedia articles, created and expanded 19 Wikidata items and uploaded 4 images to Wikimedia Commons.
The three new editors attended a number of New Zealand-based Wikipedia group meetings and one secured a sponsored place to New Zealand's National Digital Forum conference.
Each resident spoke to practitioners within the Pacific Arts community in Aotearoa about their learning and the goals of the project and their work was covered in this blog on the Creative New Zealand website.
Some reflections from the editors as outlined in the Creative New Zealand blog post covering this project include:
Looking deeper into the future I hope we begin to build frameworks outside of Wikipedia, a database that best reflects our lens and cultural practices that is true to the way we catalogue information from our ancestral practices deeply rooted in oratory.
I am an avid user of Wikipedia, and most of my reading has been through music and film deep dives over the years so it's nice to experience Wikipedia from this perspective as a contributor.
Auckland Museum: Wikipedia and the Aotearoa New Zealand History Curriculum Exploratory Study
Auckland Museum recently reported back on a WMF project grant used to complete a literature review and run an exploratory study to investigate New Zealand secondary social studies/history teachers' attitudes to using Wikipedia as a resource for teaching the Aotearoa New Zealand Histories (ANZH) curriculum. Data was gathered by a survey/questionnaire and interviews (n=90).
New Zealand is introducing the new histories curriculum in 2023. The new curriculum content will be developed by local schools and kura (Māori language schools) and these schools will decide which historic events and sites, people and local contexts will be explored as part of the classroom learning programme. Auckland Museum staff are aware that the introduction of the new curriculum will prompt multiple research requests from local teachers and students that will require servicing. Staff are looking to develop information and resource lists specific to the local Auckland suburb area to meet this demand. This study was the first step in Auckland Museum's strategy to investigate whether Wikipedia could be the platform where Auckland Museum could proactively work to improve local history articles and assemble resources and useful references for the teaching community.
The study found:
Most participants saw Wikipedia as a reliable resource for national Aotearoa New Zealand history content and valuable to both inform their teaching and for their students to access information for enquiry-based studies. The prevailing view was that Wikipedia was as reliable as any encyclopedia and that it provided a worthwhile starting point in the research process.
The question of reliability was a concern when it came to accessing local histories on Wikipedia. The encyclopedia was not generally seen as an accurate source of information in this area. The reasons for this are not evident from the survey but drawing on the interviews, this may indicate that some teachers do not see a diverse range of experiences reflected in local history Wikipedia articles. For example, mātauranga Māori perspectives, the increasingly diverse demographic changes in Auckland over the last 40 years as well as more recent historical interpretations that reflect contemporary scholarship.
Teachers overwhelmingly trusted the information on local history sourced from Auckland Museum as reliable and accurate. Considering this, there is an opportunity for the museum to work with Wikipedia to support teachers by providing resources that enhance articles on Auckland areas that reflect the diverse range of experiences in the region.
Teachers saw Wikipedia as having the potential to contribute to how students learn to think critically about sources and develop the skills to differentiate between knowledge that is supported by reliable evidence and unverified narratives. Teachers will require support if they are to use Wikipedia in the classroom for this purpose. Few have edited articles or have an in-depth understanding of how Wikipedia operates. Supporting teachers to develop these skills is closely aligned with Auckland Museums’s Wikimedia strategy. The museum has hosted edit-a-thons and is equipped to deliver the Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom program. There is the opportunity in this area for Auckland Museum to increase teachers' digital literacy skills in using the encyclopaedia, with the ‘flow-on’ effect that, as teachers develop expertise as editors, they could teach their students to contribute to local articles as creators of content.
While a substantial number of participants thought articles were well written and accessible, there were some who indicated their students found the reading level of the articles too advanced. The extent to which this is an issue was not evident from the data, but considering almost 43% were neutral on this question, this area would benefit from further investigation.
Auckland Museum believe the results of the study are promising and that, with support from Auckland Museum staff and other Auckland GLAM institutions, teachers would successfully use Wikipedia as an information source to deliver to the new history curriculum. Auckland Museum staff have discussed the overall strategy with members of the Wikimedia User Group of Aotearoa New Zealand and local Auckland Wikipedia editors and have received feedback on and support for their approach. Articles on each of the Auckland suburbs and major sub-regions of the Auckland region have been identified for improvement by Auckland Museum including enhancing information on Māori settlement and occupation of those areas, the colonial period and later developments of 20th century, upload and reuse of openly licensed images from Auckland Museum collections and citations to other useful and authoritive print and digital resources. While a recent WMF funding application for an editing project to accelerate this work was declined, Auckland Museum remain committed to continuing with implementing their Wikipedia strategy.
Aotearoa New Zealand Wikimedia Inc report on #1Lib1Ref Events
In 2022, like in 2021, Wikimedia Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand Wikimedia Inc joined forces to offer librarians across our region online support to participate in #1Lib1Ref. See the landing page for this effort.
We collaborated to provide 6 virtual drop in sessions offered during the campaign dates of Sunday 15 May to Sunday 5 June 2022. Of the two #1Lib1Ref campaigns per year, this is the more productive of the two for New Zealand and Australia, as unlike the January/February campaign, it is not held during our holiday period.
The 6 two hour zoom meetings were productive with a handful of new editors being tutored at each session. We also had a couple of repeat attendees wanting to expand their knowledge after attending their first session during this campaign. The use of Eventbrite for sending logins and the Zoom platform worked well and we did not have a repeat of the zoombombing that occurred last year.
The run sheet for the session also worked well. Tenniscourtisland from Wikimedia Australia would do a general introduction explaining about the #1Lib1Ref campaign, we then would complete a round table of short introductions both to introduce experienced editors and to gauge the needs of the attendees.
One of the experienced wikipedians attending would then share their screen and complete a 5-10 min demonstration of how to add citations to Wikipedia. The Wikipedian who demonstrated had prepared for the meeting by adding unreferenced statements to a Wikipedia article and then used the citoid tool and visual editor to add citations.
Because the focus of the meeting was to get the participants adding citations to Wikipedia as soon as possible, we would then point the participants to three ways they could find articles to add references to. The first was a pre-prepared Google document listing suggested articles and proposed references. The second was the Wikiproject cleanup listings and the third was the citation hunt tool.
Sometimes an editor was attending to refresh their skills obtained from earlier 1Lib1Ref campaigns or alternatively expressed an interest in adding content to Wikipedia as well as references. In those cases we would encourage the participant to find a quality nonfiction book or scholarly article on a subject and then explore if any information contained in that publication could be added to Wikipedia and the source cited.
Every participant that attended the sessions left the meeting having created a Wikipedia account and added at least one reference to Wikipedia. Where the new editor was comfortable for us to do so, we collected their user names and added them to the event dashboard. They also left with contact email addresses should they need support in editing in the future.
What could improve
Although we had attendees in each of the sessions and were productive ourselves during the two hour blocks we could have easily handled more participants. Also, very few New Zealand based librarians attended the sessions. More direct outreach prior to the next #1Lib1Ref campaign may help encourage librarians to attend sessions. Although the New Zealand organisers undertook publicity of these sessions over Facebook and twitter, including outreach on these platforms to local libraries and to library organisations this didn’t elicit much engagement from the New Zealand library community. The New Zealand based organisers will in future consider directly emailing libraries around the country prior to the next campaign and encouraging librarians to participate as part of their professional development.
It was suggested to one of the organisers that the last minute sharing of the zoom link was an issue for some of the participants. After explaining the reasoning for this late link - that is to ensure organisers were able to contact those who registered last minute - the participant suggested perhaps a two email strategy may work better. i.e. an email two days before and then an email two hours before the session started. This suggestion will definitely be considered for next years campaign.
There was an issue during one zoom session where the Zoom account being used for the session was unavailable at the start time due to another meeting running over time. The New Zealand participants suggested that the Aotearoa New Zealand Wikimedia Inc should have its own zoom account. This could then be used as a backup to help avoid a repeat of this situation. This has been raised with the board of Aotearoa New Zealand Wikimedia Inc and will be actioned as soon as possible. The obtaining of an organisation run zoom account for events was already in the planning.
It is anticipated that this joint campaign will again be held next year as the organisers from both Australia and New Zealand believe it works well and although numbers at each session are small, the repeat of this event this year saw a number of returning librarians gaining a refresh in skills as well as new editors who quickly became efficient and continued to enthusiastically contribute during the campaign.
Wikimedia Aotearoa New Zealand's first planning workshop
Over 28 and 29 May the committee of Wikimedia Aotearoa New Zealand (WANZ) met in Wellington for its first strategic planning meeting. WANZ has created a constitution and is an incorporated society seeking charitable status; we have just received general support funding from the WMF to set up a website, purchase software, fund some work on the NZ Thesis Project mentioned in the March 2022 report, and run meetups and the next WikiCon. The process was greatly helped by having a professional meeting facilitator—who took our group portraits, and so was set up with a Wikimedia account on the spot, so she could learn how to upload to Commons (and later use VRT to licence her work).