Wikimedia blog

News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Edit-a-thons

Europeana Fashion Handbook to Bring Wiki and GLAMs Together

In an effort to improve fashion knowledge on the web, Europeana Fashion has organized a series of edit-a-thons with Wikimedia volunteers and fashion institutions around Europe. The experience and knowledge gained from these events are now compiled in one handbook, The Europeana Fashion Edit-a-thon Handbook for GLAMs.

Fashion Edit-a-thon Logo.png

What is fashion? Fashion is vanity, fashion is business, fashion is art. Fashion can mean many things to many people, but what is certain, is that it has enormous cultural significance. Every item of clothing has its roots in history and carries a symbolic meaning in the present.

2013-05-13 Europeana Fashion Editathon, Centraal Museum Utrecht 39.jpg

An edit-a-thon around fashion in collaboration with Wikimedia Netherlands and Fashion Muse. May 13, 2013. 

Take, for example, the most basic of garments, the T-shirt. It was originally designed as an undergarment in the American army in the early 20th century. In the 1950s it became part of the uniform of rebellious youth culture and was seen on the likes of Marlon Brando and James Dean. Nowadays, the T-shirt is worn everywhere with everything, even under a suit. From underwear, to act of rebellion to formal, fashion objects can be considered artifacts of past and present.

That is why there are public and private institutions collecting fashion. Europeana Fashion aims to bring all these collections together in one online portal and improve knowledge around these collections.

The best way to improve knowledge online is through Wikipedia. It’s open, free and one of the most visited websites. In an effort to get communities and institutions involved, Europeana Fashion hosted multiple Wiki edit-a-thons.

Badge Fashion Editathon.jpg

Fashion badge Edit-a-thon Europeana. Museum of Decorative Arts (Paris), March 22, 2014. 

After setting up seven edit-a-thons in five countries in one year’s time, the project bundled its experiences in a handbook for organizing fashion edit-a-thons. It is directed towards galleries, libraries, archives and museums, or in short: GLAMs. The handbook is available online and open to improvement from the community.

Engaging Fashionistas

Fashion carries with it very relevant cultural, historical and symbolic meaning. However, despite its social significance, fashion’s presence on Wikipedia is not as comprehensive as it should be. This encouraged Europeana Fashion to partner with Wikimedia volunteers in an effort increase fashion knowledge and open multimedia in the Wiki world.

Twenty-two partners from twelve European countries work together on the Europeana Fashion portal. Together, these institutions collect and make available thousands of historical dresses, accessories, photographs, posters, drawings, sketches, videos and fashion catalogues. At the same time, it makes these items findable through Europe’s online cultural hub Europeana. Europeana Fashion invited its partners to make available their collections on Wikimedia Commons and welcomed users to write about their collections. The aim: to enrich and share the knowledge about these objects and improve the existing knowledge about fashion’s history, origins and trajectory on Wikipedia.
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Celebrating women and change in IP

Picture of presenters and the audience at WIPLA’s IP Year in Review: Trends and Developments of 2013 conference.

An official holiday in over 25 countries, International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8th with Wikipedia edit-a-thons focused on expanding articles on women, statements from United Nations organizations, conferences and even a Google Doodle.

In conjunction with the holiday, The Women’s Intellectual Property Lawyers Association (“WIPLA”) hosted a timely panel of impressive female attorneys from some of the most influential organizations in Silicon Valley to discuss the latest developments in intellectual property law. WIPLA’s mission is aligned with the goals of International Women’s Day as the organization focuses on supporting and empowering female lawyers within the often male-dominated intellectual property field, [1]

Intellectual property law is a dynamic field that is constantly changing as courts and lawmakers work their way around new technologies and scientific breakthroughs. The panel discussed an array of the most significant topics in the areas of trademark law, patent law and trade secrets law. One of the women on the panel was Wikimedia’s Legal Counsel, Yana Welinder, who presented on trademark developments. Below are some highlights from the panel’s presentations.

Recent Developments in Trademark Law: ICANN releases new top level domains

Trademark holders are facing new challenges with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) approval of new top level domains. [2] So now, instead of being restricted to only 22 generic top-level domains (gTLDs) like .org or .com, you will be able to register your site with up to an additional 1400 gTLDs like .book, or .ninja, once they are issued. ICANN hopes to enhance competition and communication on the Internet with the introduction of these new gTLDs. But the introduction of 1400 new gTLDs brings with it a greater potential of cybersquatting, forcing trademark holders to buy the gTLDs related to their trademarks, regardless of whether they ever plan to use them.

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Celebrating Women’s Day, the Wiki way

Participants editing articles about women in science.

How many Indian women scientists can you name? Go on! Think about this one. Think really hard. How many can you name, now? One? Two? Three?

I wrote this blog post at a co-working space for tech startups in the Southern Indian city of Kochi. I was surrounded by science students. None of them could think of a single woman scientist from India. Pretty shameful, isn’t it? And, there was nobody to burst our sexist bubble, except, Wikipedia. This page lists 15 women scientists from India. While I am grateful for this archive, it is hardly comprehensive. 15 women scientists from a country of 1.2 billion people.

India is currently Asia’s third largest economy and it prides itself on making many ancient discoveries. Given this context, it is unbefitting for us to come up with such a tiny list. (By the way, If you know of a more detailed website on this subject, please send me the link on Twitter – which you can find at the bottom of this page). Could there be women whose contribution to science have slipped out of popular culture?

Wikipedia has organized edit-a-thons for the entire month of March to address these glaring gaps in our knowledge. The goal of these edit-a-thons is to celebrate International’s Women’s Day that fell on March 8. During this month, we would like to enhance the quantity and quality of Wikipedia articles on gender and sexuality and translate English articles into other Indic languages. Anyone can join the celebrations as editors, translators, bloggers, event managers or enthusiasts.

We encourage more South Asian women to use this opportunity- right now 9 out of 10 Wikipedians are men. There are many subjects that may be of interest or value to women that are not covered in traditional encyclopaedias because the majority of knowledge-producers are men. Let us make sure that Wikipedia is diverse and voices from all sections of  society are represented.

We have kick-started the event with weekend edit-a-thons. We will provide specific topics and links to editors to write or expand upon. This month the focus is on women parliamentarians and scientists.

So come on over, put your editing skills to use, make some new friends and last but not the least, learn more about women scientist from India!

- Diksha Madhok, Wikipedian

Viquiprojecte Unió Europea: know your own backyard

Catalan Atlas from 1375

One of the great things about Wikipedia is getting to know people with a variety of academic interests. In the geography department, this means working side-by-side with Wikipedians who know the map of Ancient India like the backs of their hands, others who spend hours creating categories about rivers and lakes in Kazakhstan and those who seem determined to write articles about every single nook and cranny in Uruguay.

Although information on all these far-flung and exotic (from the Catalan perspective) places is a huge asset to Wikipedia, knowing our own geopolitical backyard remains as important as ever. While there is a lot of information on the Catalan Wikipedia for some European countries (like Spain, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands), in many other cases information on European countries is conspicuous for its absence. In an effort to address this issue the European Union Wikiproject was launched on the Catalan Wikipedia.

The aim of the Wikiproject is threefold. First, we seek to create and expand articles on the culture, history, economy and traditions of the EU Member States. Second, we aim to write about the European institutions themselves. Thirdly, we organize and participate in related free knowledge and free data projects. These project often include Wikipedia edit-a-thons on European topics, as well as interviews and photography of European politicians and officials for Commons. Editors were are also sent to take part in the Wiki Loves Parliaments visit to the European Parliament, which brought together several European Wikimedia chapters and was led by Olaf Kosinsky.

Since the Wikiproject began in early 2013, we have created well over 1,000 articles on the EU and its Member States. The Member State on which we focus changes every six months in synch with the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. Because it is such a broad project, there is something for everyone, ranging from space exploration geeks and art lovers to foreign press fans and political enthusiasts. This broad appeal has made it one of the most successful Wikiprojects ever on the Catalan Wikipedia, next to the big push to reach first place on the list of Wikipedias by sample of articles.

Our geopolitical background is one gigantic puzzle with lots of holes in it but, step by step, article by article, Catalan Wikipedians are filling in the pieces.

Author of the text: User:Leptictidium - Amical Wikimedia

Indian Wikimedia community coordinates Women’s History Month

The Indian Wikimedia community is pleased to invite you to participate in Women’s History Month events, 2014. We started off with a pre-event Wikipedia workshop at Roshni Nilaya School of Social Work, in Mangalore on the 26th of February. We have planned events all through this month. They aim at creating new articles, expanding the existing stubs and translating English articles to various Indic languages.The schedule includes Wikipedia workshops, online edit-a-thons and wikiparties. You could edit articles, translate them, blog about the events or even be an enthusiast. Visit this page to learn more about getting involved.

Real-life Wikipedia workshops will be conducted in different parts of India. Two online edit-a-thons have been planned. The first one on the 8th & 9th of March focuses on women parliamentarians and the second one on the 15th & 16th will be looking to expand the work done during the last year events on women scientists from India. Participants of the Women’s History Month events in India are requested to fill up this opt in form to help the organizers evaluate the quantum and quality of the edits made. Centre for Internet and Society (Access to Knowledge) has extended their support to the Women’s History Month events in India this year.

The Indian events are being conducted as a part of the global event supported by the Wikiwomen’s Collaborative. We look forward to welcoming all participants at this year’s event.

By, Jeph Paul and Netha Hussain, Wikimedians

Wikipedia’s Art & Feminism Edit-A-Thon and the Gender Gap

the Art & Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, at the John M. Flaxman Library at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago on February 1, 2014

Lending a hand at the Wikipedia Art+Feminism Edit-a-thon, at Eyebeam in New York City

The Wikimedia Foundation’s mission to realize a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge represents an ongoing challenge to staff and volunteers alike. We must find ways to make information more accessible, increase the breadth of information in each language, and close gaps in editor demographics. Most importantly, we must recognize that so long as there are disparities in information, such as the representation of women and Feminism on Wikipedia, we have yet to realize our goal of truly sharing in the sum of all human knowledge.

On February 1st, 2014, the Wikipedia Community addressed Wikipedia’s gender gap by organizing the Art & Feminism Edit-a-thon, encouraging editors — female or male, novice or experienced — to contribute to pages about art, feminism, and women of all walks of life. The purpose of this event was not only to spread interest in topics needing real visibility on the encyclopedia, but also to empower women to become more involved in the community by providing a supportive framework for their contributions. With over 30 satellite Edit-a-thons running simultaneously across 4 continents and an estimated 600 attendees, this event brought us a small step closer to realizing a truly diverse user base.

Dating back to a study done in 2010 which found the Wikipedia community was comprised of only 13% women, the Foundation has worked with chapter and user groups to provide outreach to women. These Edit-a-thons offer a partial solution to one of the barriers to new editors: it’s intimidating to edit an article if you don’t really know Wikipedian policies, practices, syntax, etiquette, and topical needs. Experienced community members can model and teach best practices as well as support new editors. Some of the satellite Edit-a-thons, like the one hosted by Wikimedia NYC, saw around 150 attendees and therefore approached this learning experience by hosting hourly training sessions, while other, smaller events took advantage of the intimate setting to give participants one-on-one support.

Sharon Cogdill works with a recent University of Minnesota graduate during the Art+Feminism Edit-a-thon at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota

One such iteration of the Art & Feminism Edit-a-thon was hosted in the library at St. Cloud State University by librarian Rachel Wexelbaum, with a total of 10 participants, 9 of whom were women. Under the guidance of Rachel and Professor Sharon Cogdill, the group discussed the various imbalances on Wikipedia, including the gender imbalance. Sharon, sensing the wavering interest in the room and worried that the newcomers present felt left out by the “they” who edit Wikipedia, moved the Edit-a-thon into action by helping everyone create their very own Wikipedia usernames; “they” began to look more like “we.”

Creating an account doesn’t suddenly endow a new user with confidence, to which Sharon can attest from experience (full disclosure: Sharon is my aunt). A professor of Victorian literature and Digital Humanities, she first became an active editor in 2011 when she made a small edit to an article about The Emerald Isle, a 19th century comic opera. Her edit contained a small error, and the owner of the article contacted her on her talk page and explained which Wikipedia policies made the original better. Reflecting on their working relationship, Sharon says, “I have a great mentor, Ssilvers, who has really encouraged me, often by suggesting a Wikipedia page to read on policies or help on some other topic he thinks I’m ready for.”

During the Edit-A-Thon, Sharon published her very first new article on Arthur Collins, which Ssilvers “pushed me to get out there 2 years before I finally did.” The article is about a man, because in Sharon’s words, “this event gave me the environment I needed to let go of it, and besides, women writing about men isn’t not feminist.”

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Wiki Tuesday at Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

This post is available in 2 languages: English 7% • Français 100%

English

Around thirty participants at the Wikipedia workshop AcfasBAnQ.

Physics student from WikiPhys group of Université de Montréal at the Wikipedia workshop.

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) and Wikimedia Canada are collaborating to offer users of the Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal workshops in Wikipedia’s French version. Starting in February, the first Tuesday of each month will bring experienced Wikipedians together to offer workshops for those who want to learn more about Wikipedia and how to contribute to the online encyclopedia. See the project page Wikipedia:BAnQ (French).

Each workshop will have a specific theme around which the public will be invited to participate in. BAnQ, which has a large collection of books and documents, ancient and modern, as well as rich archives around these themes, will provide participants the documentation needed to write well documented Wikipedia articles. Participants will find experienced contributors readily available to assist in all matters, as well as librarians and archivists who specialize in the topics covered.

The goal of these workshops is to improve Wikipedia’s French content, increase the number of Quebec contributors to profit documentaries and professional resources BAnQ and better represent Quebec, New France, French Canada or more broadly, French America.

The first meeting will focus on the following topics:

  • Towns and villages of Quebec (February 4, 2014)
Wikipedia editors often start with their hometown. Many towns and villages of Quebec  already have articles on Wikipedia, but many of them are  short, for example “Saint-Pie-de-Guire”. Contrary to the article’s length, Saint-Pie-de-Guire is full of history. There are many figures who have emerged from here. There is much more information that could be added. 
  • People of New France (March 4, 2014)
To enhance the quality and quantity of information available on Wikipedia on the French regime (1543-1763), the theme “Personality of New France” deserves more attention from editors. Other topics related to that time may also be added to Wikipedia. 

What I Iearned at the Europeana Fashion Edit-a-thon 2013

Students from University of Padua and IUAV Venice during the Europeana Fashion Editathon in Stra. Photo by Niccolò Caranti.

There I was, at Rossimoda Shoe Museum[1] in Villa Foscarini Rossi, Stra, Venice, running the Europeana Fashion Edit-a-thon 2013 about footwear, fashion history and shoes produced in Italy. I’d tried to organize this event with university students and their professors, and I had finally succeeded. A short time ago I became a member of Wikimedia Italia and quickly discovered that, like in many associations, you have the chance to do a lot, or nothing at all.

I had no idea how to actively participate in Wikimedia Italia in the beginning. I wanted to do something, then a great opportunity arose. The digital library Europeana Fashion was contacting fashion museums and Wikimedia chapters in Europe to organize edit-a-thons for November 2013. The goal was to promote knowledge of cultural heritage through the improvement of Wikipedia articles related to fashion and history of costumes. Considering that fashion and fashion history has long been my passion, I accepted the offer to work on the project.

Here are a few of the (important) things I learned along the way:

If you like it, do it!

If conditions are good (for instance if you’re working with an international digital library, an excellent museum, a great collection of books and dedicated professors and students) do not get intimidated because you are not an expert. This is exactly the moment to learn and maybe become an expert yourself.

People are key

Without the involvement and help of the museum’s curator, I would have had a really difficult time. She looked for and found contacts inside the university, people which in turn helped us a lot. She ordered sandwiches and pizza for everyone (almost 80 people during the morning, 40 during the edit-a-thon in the afternoon). She sent me a mountain of emails and patiently followed my extensive to-do list. People are key!

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Brainstorming about Wikipedia’s diversity

This post is available in 3 languages: English  • Svenska Deutsch

English

A large group of people from all over the world gathered in Berlin to find ways to improve our diversity.

It was a busy schedule (my workshop is the second one from the bottom in the middle).

Recently I was able to participate in the Wikimedia Diversity Conference in Berlin as part of a cooperation that Wikimedia Sverige has with Europeana, where we worked to create new collaborations and share experiences with GLAMs and Wikimedia Chapters.

During the fantastically well-organized conference (kudos WMDE, WMF, WMUK and WMNL for your hard work) I gave a thirty minute presentation, followed by a workshop on how the Wikimedia movement can use thematic edit-a-thons to attract under-represented groups to Wikipedia. This is something that we have already tried at Wikimedia Sverige during our three thematic edit-a-thons, where the focus was to encourage more women to get involved in topics like women’s history, female scientists and fashion. Thematic edit-a-thons differ from general edit-a-thons, as they focus on one particular topic, producing a burst of improvements within a field that is particularly weak. Thematic edit-a-thons also foster a sense of team spirit among participants since they usually share the same interests and expertise, which in turn facilitates cooperation.

Drawn from survey answers and conversations, the major conclusions that we have drawn from these events are (and remember that these are based on a small sample that might be culture specific, so it might very well differ from other chapters):

  • Cooperate with organizations that already have a a lot of women connected to them. They can help invite their members and share material and expertise (don’t forget the universities)!
  • There seems to be a great interest to be involved, we just have to find a good way to meet the female volunteers halfway. A central point seems to be to host events on a regular basis, but also try to add other fun additions like speakers, snacks, mingling and guided tours etc. (however these should not take too much time away from writing, as volunteers usually want to finish what they started during an edit-a-thon).
  • There are different subgroups within groups of specific interests and expertise. The different subgroups might not necessarily care to participate in the other groups events.

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Making memory count: successful edit-a-thon in Buenos Aires

Group photo at Memorial Edit-a-thon

On Saturday, July 20th, in spite of the cold, over 40 people took part in Memorial Edit-a-thon, held in Buenos Aires in what used to be a “black site” (clandestine detention facility) during the last military dictatorship in Argentina.

The Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada (Army Mechanic School) was originally conceived and developed as a secondary school, but also functioned as illegal military prison between 1976 and 1983. Nowadays, the Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos (Space for Memory and Human Rights) works in the same location, preserving the site as living testimony of illegal practices and developing other programs related to the promotion of Human Rights.

A photo from inside the black site.

The working day began with a historic tour through the different facilities of the complex, and focused specifically on the building where the black site was located, as well as the historic events and practices that made it one of the worse destinations for illegal prisoners, back then known as “desaparecidos” (“disappeared,” since there was no official record of their whereabouts).

The group during the tour.

The meeting brought together people from very different backgrounds. First, more senior editors from the local community showed up than the previous edit-a-thon. On top of that, relatively new editors participated for the second time to learn more about taking part in Wikipedia. Finally, the event also brought together people who had studied at the military school as well as survivors of the black site.

In only two days, the article about ESMA on Wikipedia grew 50 percent. Two more articles are also being written: one on Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos, and another one on Black Sites in Argentina. As part of the collaboration agreement, Espacio Memoria also liberated fifty images from their archive that describe the different spaces in the facility and the activities developed there.

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