The small Bulgarian town and municipal centre Botevgrad accepted the challenge and responsibility to become the first wikitown in Bulgaria. The innovative project is a result of a collaboration between the Botevgrad Municipality and a group of Bulgarian Wikimedians, and it aims at the improvement of the Wikipedia articles about the town and the region for the benefit of both its citizens and guests. More and well written and referenced information will appear onwiki for the notable cultural and natural sites, historical places and renowned people related to Botevgrad and the nearby villages.
Although "WikiBotevgrad" is the first project of its kind in Bulgaria, the practice of estabilishing wikitowns is not so new in the wiki world. The first wikitown was Monmouth in Wales in May 2012, and since then other towns like Gibraltar, Johannesburg, and Thessaloniki in CEE have implemented similar projects together with the local wiki communities. While it is an almost zero-cost project, volunteering unites the local communities, creates new relations and helps people build stronger connections between themselves and with their homeplaces. The newly created and improved articles in Wikipedia as a result turn into a reliable and curated source of information.
"I hope that we will serve as a positive example to other progressive municipalities in Bulgaria. The wikitown initiative requires the collaborative work of citizens and instituions, young and elder ones, professionals and enthusiasts. What unites us is the love to our home town, and I hope that as a result of this project we will have a stronger feeling of a healthier community," said Botevgrad's mayor, Mr. Ivan Gavalyugov.
The project of the first Bulgarian wikitown involves creation or improvement of about 150 articles, as well as adding freely licensed photos for illustration. Information plates with QR codes will be placed in relevant places, to forward the readers to the respective articles in Wikipedia in Bulgarian or English. Deeply involved in the organization are not only several Wikimedians, but also the staff of Botevgrad's GLAM institutions: the library and the museum, as well as librarians from the nearby villages in Botevgrad Municipality.
A series of events has been planned in the frames of the project "Botevgrad - the First Wikitown in Bulgaria". Two of them already took place on 11 and 18 October in the "Ivan Vazov" Town Library: a presentation of the project, and a practical training and editathon. One of the first created articles within the project was the article about the Historical Museum in Botevgrad, immediately illustrated with a photo that had existed in Wikimedia Commons for more than 4 years before that. The planned duration of the project is at least until May 2018.