June 28, 2012

Real communities go GLAMwiki... and beyond!!

The video was made with the help of
Castellers de Sabadell
We all know one of the most exciting and unanticipated results of GLAM-Wiki partnerships is the close community we have established as Wikipedians coordinating in various countries, and working together to support each other in our outreach. Now our connections as Wikipedians are creating a reciprocal effect of benefiting our organizations through unique side projects that may or may not be Wiki-focused, but can help in sharing our cultures across borders.

I'm very excited to share a simple but significant project started at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, a blog series called "Families Around the World", in which we highlight the unique traditions of children and families from our project partners around the globe. This stemmed from the fact that people were interested in learning more about the Catalan tradition of Castelling, and I piped up and said "Well hey - I have a close [Wikipedia] friend who lives in Barcelona!"  My colleagues were so impressed with Àlex's quick work getting video and writing up a fantastic blog post about Castelling. And it turned out amazing!

We are lucky enough to have a commited network of volunteers from all around the world. I'm always amazed by the surprising little gems of projects that crop up here and there that help illustrate that Wikipedia is not just an encyclopedia, but an impressive community of volunteers who all have the core goal of sharing knowledge (and culture!)

I hope you enjoy the video and blog and let me know if you're interested in this project as well!

NOTE: This is a guest post written by Lori Phillips

June 20, 2012

John Hopkins University Museum Students learning to Wiki...in Barcelona

Closing the gap with several new Wikipedians from the US in Barcelona! 

The National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC), the Museu Picasso, and Pompeu Fabra University have joined Johns Hopkins Museum Studies in planning and carrying out an onsite seminar in Barcelona during this June 2012. The seminar in Barcelona was addressing the theme “Museums in Changing Times.” where students had a chance to bring to life the many topics and issues they have been discussing and exploring in their classes, observing the latest and best in museum practice, including curatorial work, exhibition design ... and Wikipedia and glamwiki.

Their final project for the Barcelona seminar was to explore the various aspects and the importance of museum collaboration with Wikipedia projects. Students worked closely with local museums professionals to research and write relevant Wikipedia entries about the MNAC collection, while focusing on object-based learning and creation of digital strategy, as well as making connections and providing access within and beyond collections. So, during the last 2 weeks, "our" students got in touch with the free knowledge world of and the #glamwiki philosophy of the benefits of sharing knowledge, even doing one edit-a-thon at the MNAC's library.

As a GLAM Ambassador and as a Wikipedian in Residence at the museum, I found it very interesting to see how people from another country comes to your city/institution and helps you to value your assets. I also love when they discover new thing on one particular artwork while searching for references to improve their  Wikipedia article.

The last day the seminar, each student presented his Wikipedia article to the group, and comments were very interesting:

  • "Unlike books, work on Wikipedia never ends and that's part of the beauty of it"  @AlanaQuinn1
  • "The thing about Wikipedia is that each page is always a work in progress. This is both a blessing and a curse"
  • "Collections are at the heart of museums & Wikipedia is a great way to showcase them." @Neo_chichiri
  • "Teachers in my (UnderGraduate) Thesis said 'Do not go near Wikipedia, it's Unreliable". Now we know better."  @MSilverfin75
  •  "the hardest part about the wiki project is the feeling of ownership, when nobody "owns" any Wikipedia page."  @Margotkopera

They also commented that they loved to investigate a work of art just next to the museum exhibition and to see where it was created or the actual place where it was intended, such as one Gaudí's chair or a Ramon Casas Painting

I even had a present from them : a customized Wikipedia Userpage! I could not be happier when I received it!

You can view the page Wikiproject and the list of articles created and/or expanded here. Looking forward to next year's edition!

June 03, 2012

MuseumNext 2012 seen by a Wikipedian

Nancy Proctor during her keynote: Wikipedia was quoted several times at MuseumNext,  including 3of the 4 keynotes.
Note: This is a guest blogpost by Maarten Dammers, member of Wikimedia NL.

Last week we went to the MuseumNext conference in Barcelona. It was a very interesting conference and we met quite some nice people. The audience (and the speakers) were quite young compared to other museum conferences we've visited in the past. That might tie in with something else we noticed: Wikipedia, free and open is not scary any more. 

A couple of years ago, we spend most of our time convincing people to do something with Wikipedia, free knowledge and opening up. This conference was totally different. People were actually asking why we're not doing more, plenty of museums are switching to free licenses and API's are getting accepted as something every museum should have. As Lori Byrd Phillips says, "Wikipedia has become within the museum field: we are beyond the convincing, the "why," - we're now onto the "how."

Talking about the community. People talk a lot about "Crowdsourcing". Now some of them are finding out that the so useful looking "crowd" is sometimes more of a mob. The term "community sourcing" was used several times and I like that much more because I think it better covers what we're doing. We should spread it!

We also love museums!
Analytics was something that came up in several presentations. How to make analytics in a way that people can actually make decisions based on the numbers? We're also struggling with that problem. The Wikimedia Foundation's analytics team is really scaling up, in the GLAMwiki tool set project we're producing requirements, I hope to be setting up soon some statistics for Wiki Loves Monuments, so at least the struggle seems to be heading in the right direction. I like what Museum-Analytics is doing, the Victoria & Albert dashboard, and of course the dashboard of the IMA museum . A good way to measure how far you are seems to be the Web Analytics Maturity model.

Augmented Reality
Another hot topic was AR, or Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality is still in the "cool toy" phase. Not sure to where to place it exactly in the hype cycle. Some examples were shown. They work OK, but I'm under the impression that the technical part is getting pretty solid, but now everyone is wondering how the hell they can use it in a way that it's useful. How can we (the Wikimedia community) use AR? I think QRpedia is something that is going to be expanded or maybe replaced with some king of "ARpedia" over time. So instead of me having to scan a qr code next to a painting, I just point my phone at the actual painting and the phone will recognize it and give more info. That's just a matter of time.

Wikimedia is not the only organization working on mobile. A lot of museums have apps or are working on it. Some even have multiple apps (for example the MoMa). Next time you plan to visit a museum you might want to check your appstore ;-)

Wikipedia Lounge at MuseumNext
I think going to these kind of conferences is very useful and that we, the GLAMwiki community, should have a conference strategy: The GLAMwiki community should be at every relevant conference, either presenting or as attendee.

To do this properly we have to keep track of conferences. For a lot of conferences you need to submit a paper 6 months in advance of the conference to be able to present, that will require some planning from our side.