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Posts Tagged ‘Wikimedia Czech Republic’

Tracker software: Efficiently track grant expenses and support volunteer activity

Thanks to our tracker, we are able to avoid the accountant's nightmare depicted in the image.

Thanks to our tracker, we are able to avoid the accountant’s nightmare depicted in the image.

To ease the administrative burden of tracking grant expenses and to support a higher volume of volunteer activity, the Czech Wikimedia chapter (WM Czech Republic) created their own “tracker” – a lightweight expense tracking system that can be adopted by any organization.

WM Czech Republic has been utilizing this software since 2011 to implement our Mediagrant and Presentation&Outreach programs. These are two of the three Project and Event Grants that our chapter operates under – Mediagrant supports free media creation (see this or this blog post), while Presentation&Outreach deals with promotional activities of our chapter.  Having no executive employees, we needed to develop a procedure to make sure that all receipts are filed, approved, and catalogued. This requires a simple way of controlling the flow of money.

Petr Novák (Che), a member of our chapter, took initiative and looked at the options. First, he considered building the tracker upon a pre-made piece of software, such as Bugzilla. Then, he decided to start from the beginning and develop a completely new and lightweight tracking system. The result is freely accessible online and now includes hundreds of grant expenses. “I have spent about 70 days working on it over the three years – but I never killed the whole day with it”, says Petr Novák when I ask him about the tracker. He adds humbly: “It is a trivial app written in Python using the Django framework. Its sole purpose is to store information about tickets.”

Every „ticket“ (expense) has a catalogue number and includes one or more receipts. Routine tickets, such as minor travel expenses for Mediagrant photographers, are usually filed after the pictures are uploaded to Commons. For major expenses, tickets are written in advance and sent to our grant committee for review and approval.  The ticket page includes a description, list of expenses, a place to upload scanned receipts, and a link to the photos uploaded on Commons. The receipt is the only part of tracker that is not accessible to everyone on the Web since it might contain personal information.

Tickets also track cash flow. They can be marked as ‘draft’, ‘filed’, ‘approved’, ‘catalogued for reimbursement’, and finally ‘reimbursed’. All receipts are handed over to our part-time grant administrator who catalogues them for the accountant to archive. Most importantly, the time period between request for reimbursement and actually transferring the money is usually very short, making it an easy process for our volunteers.

Our tracker includes more than 500 tickets and the number grows on an average of about 5 per week. 76 people, both chapter members and collaborators, have registered in the tracker system and 43 have filed a ticket. A free software released on GitHub, anyone can install Tracker. Alternatively, you can contact me and I’ll put you in touch with Petr Novák who is willing to install the tracker for any Wikimedia organization on their server.

Tracker has allowed our chapter to support an increasing amount of volunteer activity and improve our administrative processes. It’s simple, easy, and will help your community and programs grow!

Vojtěch Dostál is a board member of Wikimedia Czech Republic. He would like to express his gratitude to Alexandra Wang from the WMF Grantmaking team for her immense help with the draft of this post.

Wikiexpedition takes Poland for the fifth time

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Czerwona Woda, park JR02.jpg

Wikimedia Polska, the official Wikimedia Chapter in Poland, recently organized the fifth annual Wikiexpedition. The goal of the Wikiexpedition was to take as many photos of cities, villages, monuments as is possible, and this year it took place in Dolnośląskie Province.

There were 14 members of the Wikiexpedition (two of them were from the Czech Republic), and the group was divided in three teams – western, central and eastern. These three teams were responsible for covering an area of the province from Zgorzelec to Wroclaw. But the groups didn’t work only on the Polish side of the border. Thanks to the Schengen Area, members of the Wikiexpedition could cross the border to the Czech Republic or Germany without any passport or visa bureaucracy.

On the first day of the event, members of the western team (of which I was a part) crossed the border to the Czech Republic and took photos of the small city of Hrádek nad Nisou. The team also visited City of Hrádek nad Nisou Museum, where they saw a famous Czech skeleton that was found a few years ago near the church (a man who died around 1310 and who was initially thought to be a witch or a vampire).

The next day, the Wikiexpedition visited the Czech city Frýdlant. Members visited the tower of the town hall and took panoramic photos. In Germany they visited some villages and a huge lake in a former quarry called Berzdorfer See. The most interesting point of cross-border cooperation was a border visit to a location at where all three borders of the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany come together.

The Wikiexpedition has been covered by the local and national media, such as an interview with the main organizer in the largest commercial TV station. The greatest support, however, has been provided by local communities, which joined the Wikiexpedition for a few days and helped with taking pictures or providing information about local curiosities.

One man from Węgliniec even supported the group in a very original way, by preparing a delicious barbecue dinner for participants of the western team.

For more information on the Wikiexpedition, see the pictures on Wikimedia Commons.

Honza Groh, member of Wikimedia Czech Republic


Starting an education program for small chapters 1.0

Education program leader has to be a didactic teacher of Wikipedia principles.

Education program leaders have to be didactic teachers of Wikipedia principles.

Hundreds of Czech university students have had a “different” homework during the past two years. Instead of writing essays that end up in the teacher’s drawer (or worse, garbage bin), they took part in the Czech program “Students Write Wikipedia” and made a Wikipedia entry which will last and serve as a source for thousands of Internet users. Similar university programs are running essentially worldwide and notable initiatives have grown in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. However, smaller Wikipedia communities (i.e., those writing in a less common language, such as Czech with 12 million native speakers) sometimes still struggle to develop a “Wikipedia education program” of their own. This article is meant to be a guide for Wikimedians from all those small communities, explaining the most important steps in the way toward a representative, yet organisationally simple education programs.

I originally intended to name this post something like “Education program in 10 days” or “10 steps toward your own education program”. Then I decided to go for a less cheesy  heading – but the essence remains that this light-hearted post should present a simple and straightforward way towards cooperation with universities in your country.

Be modest in the beginning

I remember how excited I was when I decided to start the Czech education program. The important thing, however, is not to overdo the whole process. Easily, you may end up as a tired Wikimedian who replies to dozens of e-mails every day and motivated teachers haunt him/her in dreams. Really, start by running one or two pilot projects. Choose teachers in which you have a high confidence (e.g.,  your own ex-professors) and assist them as much as possible. Not only will it guarantee a successful project, but the teachers will feel good about the cooperation and will tip off their colleagues.

Learn to be a teacher of Wikipedia

One of your key duties is to be able to explain what Wikipedia is, how you can edit existing articles and how to add new. This is not as easy as it may sound. In your first lecture, you will try hard to say everything that can be said about Wikipedia. The students will, naturally, feel very confused. Over time, you will find out that there is really LITTLE that your students have to know in order to become Wikipedians:

  • Everyone can edit Wikipedia. You do not own or sign your articles. Everything is released under a free licence.
  • Every article must not plagiarize, must cite sources, must be neutral and deal with a “notable” topic.
  • This is the edit button, this is the editing window. Here you have buttons to add hypertext links, images and citations. Be bold!

And give them places to ask questions – as many as possible: Wikipedia environment, chat, social sites, e-mail, … be thoughtful of students’ preferences.


Photographing Czech Jewish monuments for Wikimedia projects

Jewish cemetery at Rabí Castle

The Jewish Monuments grant project aims to gather freely licensed photos of all existing Czech Jewish monuments, with particular focus on synagogues and cemeteries, whether those are still in religious use or are used for different purposes. The grant is part of Wikimedia Czech Republic’s Mediagrant project (see earlier blog post). It was launched in August 2011 and was inspired by projects documenting Czech municipalities, protected Natural Areas and Memorable Trees throughout the Czech Republic.

When we started planning, there was a wiki page containing a list of Czech Jewish cemeteries, some of which had articles about them; there were also several articles on major Czech synagogues and the portal of Judaism (Hebraistika). However, no records about the buildings of Czech synagogues were available for the photographers to check when planning a trip. Therefore it proved essential to put together all Czech Jewish monuments to show which had been documented sufficiently and which of them were still lacking any photographic documentation.

The first step was to make lists of the monuments by region, including the names of each (e.g. Synagogue in Slatina), the town and district they were situated in, their GPS location, a brief description commenting on the position, availability and usage of the building these days, and any photos already taken. When the 2012 Wiki Loves Monuments competition was about to start, and lists of Czech cultural monuments were being put together, the charts became a useful source of information on available photos. Logically, one of the grant rules is to fill in any newly photographed places in the charts to keep the information current and ready-to-use by other photographers.

Jewish cemetery in Klatovy

Obtaining the GPS data proved to be one of the most difficult columns to complete, as some cemeteries and synagogues were hardly ever mentioned in online or printed materials. As a result, their position often had to be checked with the local authorities. Some municipal officers were so helpful they offered to provide pictures of their own or even take new ones. Unfortunately, some of the monuments still lack exact positioning.

Several photographers expressed surprise at seeing how the original purpose of many buildings had changed over the years. While some former synagogues are used as concert halls and museums, other synagogues, in particular those in rural areas, have been turned into houses, fire stations, shops or even discos. Many of the cemeteries have also been long forgotten, so that even some locals have no idea of their existence; others are looked after well, with caretakers routinely restoring the fallen gravestones and remodeling the stone fences. Alas, there are some cemeteries that do not get any attention at all, presenting the lonely visitor with a scene of broken gravestones scattered all over the place, nettles flourishing in places where gravestones have been stolen, and unpruned trees casting shadows on the pebbles that visitors had placed on the tombs long before.

Evaluating the success of Wikimedia Czech Republic’s Mediagrant

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In English

Not only do we have to locate a protected area. The detective work begins when we try hard to find a specific plant species that is supposed to be at full bloom…

In mid-2011, members of Czech WikiProject Protected Areas (a group of Wikipedians interested in environmentalism) were thinking: there are a lot of protected areas scattered all around the Czech Republic, and yet, few of them had been photographically documented for Wikimedia Commons, the image database for the Wikimedia projects. As a result of this, we sought a grant in July 2011 to support the Wikimedian photographers. This grant falls within the Mediagrant initiative, an overall grant scheme developed by Wikimedia Czech Republic (WMCZ) and financed by the Wikimedia Foundation. The goals of the grant were clear: to obtain pictures of protected areas, memorable trees or rare plant and animal species that can be found in these localities.

The Mediagrant itself enables all interested people to ask for funding that will help them acquire new multimedial content such as pictures, but also audiovisual records. This means that every new project has an easy path to the funding it inevitably needs; and this was the case for WikiProject Protected Areas too. Our goals were not modest at all, to tell the truth. We deciced for a long run towards photographing every protected area and memorable tree in the Czech Republic, i.e. an astonishing number of 2500 different spots and a few thousand memorable trees. It would be utterly difficult to do this with a small group of volunteers, but without a certain level of coordination and without any financial support for travel expenses.

You might wonder how this all works in practice. Actually, it is very simple. Any volunteer can find a couple of protected areas that he/she would like to pay a visit to. After arriving at the spot, he/she makes a few pictures of the area, hunting for interesting plants and animals as well. At home, one has to upload the pictures to Wikimedia Commons and them send a short and simple summary of the trip. The grant admin then evaluates the trip, inspects the uploaded results, and, if positive, gives instructions so that the travel expenses are paid to the volunteer’s bank account.

In order to involve as many people as possible, we strived to eliminate bureaucracy. Both personal transport (petrol expenses paid per km) and public transport (train or bus) can be reimbursed. The only remnant of bureaucracy – the duty to send us the corresponding bus or train ticket for the sake of accounting – could not have been eliminated because of Czech law.

Almost two years have gone by and it remains to seen if our goals materialized into tangible results. To do this, we should examine the table below,[1] which includes data from six months of 2011, all of 2012, and the first month of 2013.

Year Number of.. trips ..localities ..images Costs.. ..per trip ..per photo Number of localities per trip
2011 16 70 1,200 2,730.00 Kč 169.56 Kč 2.28 Kč 4.38
2012 57 224 3,823 12,795.00 Kč 224.47 Kč 3.35 Kč 3.93
2013 1 4 33 61.00 Kč 61.00 Kč 1.85 Kč 4.00
Overall 74 298 5,056 15,569.00 Kč 210.39 Kč 3.08 Kč 4.03

In 2012, a total number of 57 photo trips were taken, capturing 3823 pictures of 224 different areas or memorable trees. This is an average of 17 pictures per object, which is fairly good coverage, even though all of the photos were taken at one time of the year (while nature tends to change a lot during the year). In total, almost 300 hundred objects have been captured through the lenses of our 12 volunteer photographers. You can see all these pictures in a category at Wikimedia Commons.

One of the biggest successes of our grant, one that we are proud of, is that we were able to attract new contributors who had not been part of the Wikimedia community before. Variability of our WikiProject seems to be the cause of our success – we popularize protected areas in Wikipedia, but also (and primarily) in printed media and on social sites. Our Facebook ‘Protected Areas’ page certainly plays a big part; from time to time, we advertise the availability of our grant there. As you could see above, this day-to-day and often demanding work bears fruits, although we would love to see even more newbies join our efforts. A great example is user Artiplexmedia, who was able to visit 71 protected areas and take 1241 pictures in only half a year. This made him the most active member of our team by far.

What could be improved? The most challenging part of our work is really to attract more people from outside the Wikipedia movement. Objectively, it is difficult to explain how easy the process of funding is and how easily they can take their camera and go hunting for protected areas and then upload the photos to Wikimedia Commons. Editing the Wikimedia projects is still a big secret – or challenge – to many, and when you add the cumpulsory bureaucracy (no matter how simple we make it), the final “mix” is very difficult to overcome. We need to find a way to attract people to our mission on a larger scale.

We have already learned some valuable lessons about running this grant project. Mainly, we confirmed the well-known truth that bureaucracy has to be kept on a tight leash: otherwise, your chances of involving newcomers are slim. Secondly, the experienced grant leaders have to be always ready and willing to help beginners (eg. with adding descriptions to their pictures, creating categories, adding templates, etc.). This reduces the shock that the beginners would otherwise feel when starting out on Wikipedia. This way, it definitely puts less stress on them and it is also much more friendly. Actually, every new photographed object gets noticed fairly soon, as the contributors link all their uploaded content in their travel report. Grant admins can then go through the pictures and, if needed, fix the bugs.

Finally, let us have one immodest wish. We hope that our grant will do even better in 2013. Also, we wish to make the Czech ‘environmental tourism’ even more attractive, because this is the only way for us to fulfill our goals, to document all the protected areas and memorable trees. Our work can offer high-quality information to learn about the hot spots of Czech nature and landscape – for all and for free. Moreover, by sharing the free knowledge online, we also do something for a better environment. This is worth standing up and taking out your camera!

Petr Brož (Chmee2), Wikimedia Czech Republic
Translated by Vojtech.Dostal, Wikimedia Czech Republic


Leucojum vernum in natural monument Pašínovická louka

Natural monument Drásovský kopeček, Brno-venkov District, Czech Republic

Group of five Quercus robur – famous trees near Tloskov u Neveklova, Benešov District, Czech Republic

National nature reserve Vyšenské kopce, Český Krumlov District, Czech Republic


  1. Only approved tickets are counted into the number of ‘trips’. The expenses do not include trips that have been approved but not paid out. However, that is just a minor number (currently 5) all all of them are to be paid out eventually.
    The number of visited localities and number of pictures are affected by several factors: objects outside of the WikiProject Protected Areas are included into the total number in case that the trip is mainly dealing with Protected areas. Also, trip no. 242 summarizes several protected areas under one name. The overall statistics is affected only minimally and can be neglected for the sake of simplicity .


Can beginners write high-quality articles? Czech students prove yes again!

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Another winter term is coming to an end at Czech universities and we can again evaluate how students of Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, succeeded in improving Wikipedia articles about Czech protected areas this year. A total of 36 enrolled students of “Nature and Landscape Protection” (6 more students than last year) took part in the cooperation between the faculty and WikiProject Protected areas, organized under patronation of Students Write Wikipedia program and Wikimedia Czech Republic.

The benefits of cooperating with a group of third-year university students of Institute for Environmental Studies have been clear since last year, as can be seen from the last year’s report. At that time, students wrote top-quality articles accompanied by lots of pictures, aiming to document corresponding protected areas and improve the topic in the Czech Wikipedia. It was this past success that was very demanding this time: Will we be able to motivate the students enough so that their articles are at least as good as they were last year?

We did not change the overall model of the project: again, students were asked to pick one protected area, pay a visit in it, take pictures, make a 15-minute talk in front of the class (including the following discussion), and, last but not least, write a detailed Wikipedia article on the subject of this protected area. However, we put more stress on the professional delivery of the talks in front of class, including punctuality and good time management, as well as sticking to basic Wikipedia rules when writing the article. The scheme did not change because it was evaluated as satisfying enough and leading to good quality articles with lots of pretty pictures. It must be noted that this model is very demanding for the Wikipedia Ambassador who goes through all the articles, corrects them, and attends the seminar each week to evaluate the speeches.

As mentioned earlier, WikiProject Protected Areas has been the principal curator of this project; however, it is part of an official Students Write Wikipedia initiative that has been operating for two years now in the Czech Republic and has seen hundreds of articles being created about various topics and by students of several Czech universities. Apropos, ten Czech projects are running in the current winter term, including “Christianity I.“, “Sculpture in Czech Lands 1550-1800“, “Molecular Immunology” or “Essentials of Parasitology” (the list of all our projects can be found here). Recent changes in all these articles can be monitored real-time at a special page; the most interesting updates are regularly posted at the program’s Facebook page.

And how was the cooperation going this year? Let’s see the table below!

Image Name Before After Gallery

on Commons

Pohled na louku v PR Andelske schody3.JPG Andělské schody Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Pohľad na Badínsky potok.JPG Badínsky prales Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Zarustani Barrandovy skaly vegetaci.JPG Barrandovské skály Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Blana 7.JPG Blana Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Borkovické blata - rašeliniště.jpg Borkovická blata Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Vyhlídka NPP Černé rokle (2).JPG Černé rokle Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Apalus bimaculatus.JPG Drienčanský kras Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Šupinovka kostrbatá (Pholiota squarrosa).JPG Hostivické rybníky Silver piece.png Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Louka jen.JPG Jenerálka Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Druhá strana.JPG Kalvárie v Motole Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Kapradiny.jpg Kaňon Labe Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Mohutní Karlštejn.JPG Karlštejn Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Kohoutovský ryolit.jpg Kohoutov Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Kotyz Hvozdik kartouzek.JPG Kotýz Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Rohac velky.JPG Lednické rybníky Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Přr máslovice.jpg Máslovická stráň Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Zajimavystromubotice.jpg Meandry Botiče Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
RybnikKancik.JPG Milíčovský les a rybníky Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Les u potoka v Modřanské rokli.JPG Modřanská rokle Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Pohled na rozmanitost dřevin.JPG Motolský ordovik Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
PR Na Čihadle (6).JPG Na Čihadle Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Vstup do NP.JPG Na Plachtě 3 Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Pohled na vychod.JPG Nový rybník u Soběslavi Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Železniční trať.JPG Polabská černava Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Pravcicka brana1.JPG Pravčická brána Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Prokopské1.jpg Prokopské údolí Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Prosecke skaly 3.jpg Prosecké skály Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Lesni porost.JPG Skalka Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Vyvrácené stromy, Sokolí skála.JPG Sokolí skála Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
PR Starý Hirštejn 3.JPG Starý Hirštejn Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Třemešný vrch 2.JPG Třemešný vrch Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Pohled ze severovychodni lokality na Jizni spojku.JPG U Branického pivovaru Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Kunratický les.jpg Údolí Kunratického potoka Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Údolí Únětického potoka.JPG Údolí Únětického potoka Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Pohled z cesty.JPG Vrch Hazmburk Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie
Gejzírové stalagmity.JPG Zbrašovské aragonitové jeskyně Crystal Project leftarrow.png Crystal Project rightarrow.png galerie

As you can see by comparing the corresponding page revisions in the table, the amount of text written during the course of the project was huge, and that applies to pictures as well. Like last year, one of the articles, written by a student, achieved the status of a Good Article. Specifically, it was an article dealing with a natural monument Hostivické rybníky, which is located in the vicinity of Prague. We proved again that even someone who is a Wikipedia beginner can create a high quality article when properly motivated. We also believe that the “exemplary articles” offered to students are essential for the success, as students can easily see all the templates used and just copy/paste them into their own article. We also stressed the practice of watching the work of students by experienced Wikipedians, who fix any imperfections and mistakes in the text or student’s wrong understanding of the internal wiki-rules.

Nevertheless, something did not run so smooth this year. Although we did explain the problem of copyright and stressed the importance of original writing, two students crossed the line of this essential Wikipedia rule this year. We cannot tell if it was unfamiliarity with the rule or an effort to simplify their school job, but the truth is that we recognized these violations very soon and removed the problematic pieces. Students thus experienced efficient defence mechanisms of Wikipedia, as even without the need of an Ambassador’s action, as other users promptly flagged the articles. Students were bound to rewrite the articles and explain their fault to the teacher. We believe this was an important lesson for all the students in the class, helping them to realize how important the original work is. However, we strongly warn everyone who considers starting a similar project to check all the student texts for copyright violations – this is a ubiquitous problem.

Apart from this issue that must be addressed, I would recommend all the Wikimedia projects to try to involve students as much as possible. Their positive value is indisputable and if you dedicate enough of your free time, they sure will produce excellent results, as our students did. The Czech “Students Write Wikipedia” program has once again proved its viability and the diversity it brings into Czech Wikipedia. This is a project when otherwise non-existent articles on protected areas and pictures are created and I personally hope that the next term will be again blooming with gifted students and their beautiful articles.

I’d like to hereby thank to Mgr. Jiří Reif PhD., the Associate Professor at Charles University in Prague, who once again allowed me to cooperate with his students and join them into the development of Czech Wikipedia. Also, I would love to thank to all students, who took part in this project and gave a lot of their energy in it. Thank you all!

Petr Brož (Chmee2), translated by Vojtech.Dostal, Wikimedia Czech Republic


Wikipedia Czech Republic organizes photography workshop at Fata Morgana

(This is a guest post from Petr Broz, a member of Wikimedia Czech Republic)

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Snímek byl pořízen během workshopu “Fotografický workshop v Botanické zahradě Fata Morgana,” Praha.

Občanské sdružení Wikimedia Česká republika připravilo ve spolupráci s WikiProjektem Chráněná území a Portálem Fotografie další z řady odborných workshopů zaměřených na fotografování živé přírody kolem nás. Oproti předchozímu setkání, kdy se wikipedisté a další zájemci z řad široké veřejnosti učili v přírodě jednotlivé rostliny poznávat a fotografovat ty nejlepší části pro pozdější poznání, tentokrát bylo cílem vysvětlit teorii fotografování, následně si tyto teoretické dovednosti hned vyzkoušet v praxi a po skončení fotografování společně fotografie zhodnotit. Patronací nad vedením setkání převzal Topi Pigula, významný český fotograf, který často publikuje své fotografie v prestižních časopisech.

I přesto, že tento odborný seminář proběhl v zimě, rozhodně bylo co fotografovat. A to díky navázání spolupráce s Botanickou zahradou hlavního města Prahy, která nám umožnila navštívit skleník Fata Morgana, fotografovat a následně fotografie uvolnit pod svobodnou licencí. Před samotnou návštěvou zahrady jsme se setkali u počítače, kde jsme společně procházeli zásady zlatého řezu, kompozice, používání externího blesku, stativu a dalších teoretických předpokladů pro pořizování kvalitních fotografií. Po teoretické přípravě se zájemci přesunuli do skleníku. Zatímco venku panoval prosincový mráz a silnice pokrývala silná vrstvy ledovky, zájemci o fotografování se namísto toho potili v tropickém klimatu, kde teploty přesahovaly i 25 °C. A nepotili se jen fotografové, mnohem více tato náhlá změna teploty a vysoká vlhkost vzduchu neseděla přinesené technice. Ta se záhy po vybalení obalila do nepříjemného oparu mlhy kondenzující na fotoaparátech. Snaha čistit čočky a otírat vysráženou vodu byla marná. První půlhodinu praktické části fotografování jsme kvůli tomu museli strávit čekáním, až se technika zahřeje a přestane se rosit. Naštěstí v budově byl sušák na ruce, který vhodně posloužil i pro sušení objektivů. A tak jsme se nakonec mohli vrhnout na fotografování krás tropické přírody.

V průběhu fotografování měli všichni účastníci možnost si samostatně vyzkoušet své dovednosti a nově získané znalosti. Mezi nimi průběžně procházel zkušený lektor – fotograf Topi Pigula, se kterým měli možnost konzultovat nastavení fotoaparátu či se jen poradit o kompozici nebo vhodnosti nasvícení. Během tří hodin ve skleníku vznikly stovky fotografií, ze kterých účastníci následně po skončení vybrali několik nejzajímavějších snímků. Nad nimi pak proběhla mezi všemi diskuse, během které se účastníci snažili vzájemně upozornit na případné chyby a přednosti snímků. Všichni tak měli možnost vyslechnout si zpětnou vazbu k výsledkům celodenního workshopu.

Celkově se na akci přihlásilo 13 lidí, z čehož pouhých 5 bylo zkušených wikipedistů. Zbytek představovali zájemci z řad široké veřejnosti, kteří neměli s editováním žádné, či jen velmi malé zkušenosti. K přilákání pozornosti k této události jsme využili jak fanouškovskou stránku o chráněných územích na Facebooku, tak i osobní výzvy mezi své známé. Tohoto úspěchu, kdy podíl zájemců z prostředí mimo Wikipedii byl takto vysoký, si obzvláště ceníme, jelikož nám to dalo možnost hovořit s lidmi o Wikipedii, představit její myšlenku a fungování a případně pro její tvorbu zaujmout nové editory. Výsledkem tedy nebylo jen zlepšení našich dovedností, pořízení desítek zajímavých fotografií, ale i probuzení zájmu mezi newikipedisty. To, jestli se někdo z nich rozhodne podílet na tvorbě v budoucnu, ukáže až čas. Nicméně i tak se nám určitě povedlo zlepšit povědomí a jméno Wikipedie.

Akce byla financována skrze grantový projekt Mediagrant Wikimedia Česká republika při celkových nákladech 3069 Kč. Pevně věříme, že se brzy podaří podobnou akci opět zorganizovat pro další zájemce. Organizačně akci připravil wikipedista Svajcr, kterému tímto patří velké díky od všech, co se workshopu zúčastnili!

Petr Brož aka Chmee2, člen občanského sdružení Wikimedia Česká republika


Wikimedia Chapter convinces Czech Parliament to release photos to Wikimedia Commons

(This is a guest post from Petr Broz, a member of Wikimedia Czech Republic)

This post is available in 2 languages: Česky7% • English 100%


Eva Sykova

V říjnu 2012 proběhly na území České republiky doplňující senátní volby, v jejichž rámci byla zvolena třetina zákonodárců do horní komory parlamentu, konkrétně 27 zástupců z celkových 81. Tito zástupci budou po dobu 6 let reprezentovat své voliče a dle svého uvážení schvalovat, zamítat či navracet dolní komoře parlamentu předkládané návrhy zákonů. Zvolení zástupci tedy představují významné osobnosti českého veřejného života, které budou mít značný dopad na zdejší dění. Díky této moci se zvolené osobnosti dostávají do popředí zájmu veřejnosti a není divu, že o nich editoři Wikipedie zakládají biografické články. Již dávno ale není Wikipedie pouze o textech. Pro většinu hesel se snaží wikipedisté získat i multimediální materiál, který by ilustroval předmět článku. A co může být u biografického článku více ilustrativní než fotografie osobnosti, o které článek pojednává? Vyvstává tedy otázka, kde získat fotografie významných osobností v dobré kvalitě pod svobodnou licencí.Podobnou otázku si již dávno položili členové Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE), kterým se povedlo rozběhnout naprosto dechberoucí a skvělý projekt. Během něho navazují spolupráci s jednotlivými zemskými sněmy a na jejich půdě následně fotografují jednotlivé členy. Tímto úspěšným projektem jsme se rádi nechali ve Wikimedia Česká republika (WMCZ) inspirovat. Naše současné aktivity tudíž přímo navazují na německou myšlenku. Proto jsme iniciovali se Senátem ČR jednání, zda by bylo možné senátory vyfotografovat vlastními silami či rovnou získat existující snímky pod licencí kompatibilní s politikou projektů Wikimedia.

A co jsme museli během jednání překonat? Za prvé stud a ostych. Bylo potřeba si uvědomit, že pokud si člověk bude klást malé cíle, nikdy neprorazí. A proč si tedy nedat hned na začátek jako cíl téměř to nejvyšší? Senát České republiky. Čím je totiž cíl odvážnější, tím lépe pak bude sloužit jako vzor pro další příležitosti. Co nejhorší by se nám mohlo stát kromě odmítnutí? A tak zástupce WMCZ překonal ostych a prostřednictvím e-mailu oslovil tiskovou mluvčí Kanceláře Senátu ČR se žádostí o poskytnutí fotografií anebo prostor, ve kterých by bylo možné senátory a senátorky vyfotografovat. Dopis byl doprovázen vysvětlením, proč je vhodné, aby fotografie byly volně dostupné a tedy využitelné pro Wikipedii, a byl zastřešen občanským sdružením WMCZ. Co bylo hlavním argumentem pro úspěch žádosti? Nepřekvapíme, ale byla to právě masová využívanost Wikipedie všemi generacemi. Wikipedie se již dávno stala naprosto nedílnou součástí všedního života a současně prvním (a často i posledním) místem, kde uživatelé internetu hledají informace. Postupně se tak dostáváme do situace, že co není na Wikipedii, přestává s trochou nadsázky existovat. Tento závěr si začíná uvědomovat stále více lidí i mimo wikipedistické hnutí.

Přestože se nám nepovedlo získat fotografie všech 81 senátorů a senátorek kvůli složitým autorsko-právním vztahům u starších fotografií, jak jsme si na začátku vytyčili, můžeme i tak oslavovat úspěch. WMCZ se povedlo získat 23 fotografií nově zvolených zástupců a hlavně příslib pro další roky, že i v případě další volby za 2 roky budou fotografie opět uvolněny pod svobodnou licencí. WMCZ se tak podařilo navázat dlouhodobou spolupráci s významnou státní institucí, což bude možné v budoucnu dobře zhodnotit. Spolupráce se Senátem České republiky může fungovat jako inspirativní odrazový můstek pro navazování spolupráce s dalšími institucemi a partnery ze státní i nestátní sféry, ať už mimo organizované projekty či v rámci celosvětově úspěšných projektů GLAM.

Dovolte nám, abychom jménem WMCZ tímto poděkovali ochotě zástupců Senátu České republiky. Velmi si ceníme Vaší pomoci a chuti uvolnit fotografie a tím pomáhat šířit svobodně informace celosvětově. Budeme se těšit na další spolupráci!

Petr Brož aka Chmee2, člen občanského sdružení Wikimedia Česká republika


Czech Mediagrant: go take pictures, upload them and we cover your costs

The key is finding the best angle: Czech Wikipedians during a trip organized by WikiProject Protected Areas (as a part of Mediagrant activities)

Mediagrant, conceived in 2010, is an all-embracing program of the Czech Wikimedia chapter (WM Czech Republic), which aims to support photographing or acquisition of other freely usable multimedia content. Basically, it provides Czech volunteers with technical equipment, organizes photographic workshops and reimburses the volunteers‘ travelling expenses. The project’s second anniversary is closing in: what have we already achieved?

The program has been designed so that it can actively respond to the needs of volunteers. As such, it enables people to ask for their own “collection topic.” Over the two years, 8 collection topics have crystallized: documentation of Czech municipalities, vernacular architecture, Czech vernacular clothes and customs, documentation of protected natural areas and memorable trees in the Czech Republic, scientific photography, documentation of important events in the Czech Republic, water bodies of the Czech Republic and documentation of Jewish monuments in the Czech Republic.

Castle of Žichovice, one of the hundreds of castles scattered throughout the Czech Republic

As of June 2012, as many as 10,736 pictures were taken by volunteers, who made exactly 130 journeys to the sites of their interest. In recent months, there has been an explosion of documentation of Czech protected areas: already 55 percent of about 2,500 protected areas have been photographed (a majority of them by grant participants). Similarly, 4,356 new photographs of Czech towns and villages helped assure that 2,653 out of 6,241 Czech municipalities have a picture in their infobox. The pictures were often taken with one of our two chapter cameras and, what is more, many of the participants were trained at one of five photo-workshops that took place in different parts of the Czech Republic.

To get a better perspective, the statistics must be considered in terms of size of our photographing community. Although we make efforts to popularize the project among our fellow Wikipedians, there are still only about a dozen long-term participants. It is a serious challenge to persuade regular Wikipedians to join the Mediagrant and go take pictures in their free time.

A folk costume from the "Moravian Slovakia" region, worn traditionally by single girls

From the technical point of view, a so-called Tracker has been adapted as a software tool that enables you to log every journey you have made, including your destination, travel costs and a link to the pictures. This way, no one has to ask for permission to make a journey; one just goes, takes pictures and then asks for the reimbursement.

We hope that encouraging outreach and making it so easy to participate will help the program grow, and will enhance Wikipedia with quality images.

(Note: Mediagrant is one of two current Czech grant programs (both supported by the Wikimedia Foundation), the second being Presentation&Outreach. This sister program takes care of some other missions that Wikimedia Chapters have. Each grant is maintained by a committee, a so-called “eye.” You can contact the Mediagrant eye at, or see the (Czech-only) project page.)

Vojtěch Dostál, Wikimedia CzechRepublic

The Czech Ambassador Program Celebrates One Year of Existence: Lessons Learned

Logo of Czech Ambassador Program

Logo of Czech Ambassador Program

Wikipedia has always been dependent on its contributors: highly motivated people with a specific sort of knowledge that they want to share with the readers. Wikipedia never has enough contributors; the more there are, the better Wikipedia gets. We, together with all the people from the Wikipedia Education Program, think that students are one particularly interesting group of potential Wikipedians. The Czech Ambassador Program is just one of many efforts worldwide that aim to grow Wikipedia’s use as a university teaching tool.

All started for the Czech Republic in spring of 2011 when an ambitious program was establishing itself on universities across the United States. We decided we wanted to try a similar thing in the Czech environment. The crucial steps in organizing it were: summoning as many team members as possible (still less then 10, rather about 5 active people), distributing work among them, and creating a communication channel both among them (i.e., an email list) and with the wider community and general public (a Wikipedia homepage, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter fan page).

The first success story came in the winter term 2011–12 with Ambassador activities at the Institute of Environmental Studies, Charles University, in Prague. This has been coordinated by the WikiProject Protected Areas and readers of this blog probably remember how elaborate the cooperation was, putting stress on personal contact with students and high quality of articles.

Jana Lánová giving a lecture on Wikipedia to students at Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University in Brno

Jana Lánová giving a lecture on Wikipedia to students at Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University in Brno

Sadly, we do not have enough “human resources” to expand this way of working with students, so we decided to go for a different approach in most of our projects. We usually meet the students just once or twice, giving them a short lecture about what Wikipedia is and how one can create an article. Then, we provide the students with links to help pages both on Wikipedia and also on social sites. Also, they can always e-mail to their Ambassador and ask about the things they do not understand. In the future, we would like to put stress on an interactive e-learning program that is being developed by Derek Coetzee.

In the winter term, our students created a total sum of about 100 articles, a majority (57) of them written from the field of baroque sculpture art and baroque architecture, thanks to a project at Faculty of Arts, Palacky University in Olomouc. Ten more were concentrating on highly specific topics in immunology (a project at Faculty of Science, Charles University) and the last ~30 are the above-mentioned Institute of Environmental Studies.

Right now, a summer term is on the way, bearing a promise of 150–200 articles in total. Crucially, we work in three major cities of the Czech Republic (Prague, Olomouc, Brno) and as we try to involve the local community, ambassadorship has proven to be a promising way of outreach from the capital and engaging people from the other parts of the country. Our projects now range from Physical Chemistry and basic Algebra to Scandinavian Literature, Iconography, Histology/Cytology and Botany. See the recent changes from all our current projects.

Chmee2 talking about how Wikipedia works to students in Prague. The unique atmosphere of Brmlab proved to be a great place to interact with "Wikipedians-to-be"

Chmee2 talking about how Wikipedia works to students in Prague. The unique atmosphere of Brmlab proved to be a great place to interact with "Wikipedians-to-be"

A great example of our projects is “Histology/Cytology”, carried out at the Faculty of Science, Charles University, and taught by doc. RNDr. Jan Černý, Ph.D. This subject attracts more than 100 students every year. We did not want to make it a tedious duty for students, so we told them: write on Wikipedia only if you like, and if you do your job well, we will give you 5 points extra to the final exam. What followed was an explosion: a lot of students starting asking us about the project, so we were really motivated to prepare the guidelines for the students. We also made two public lectures in Brmlab (a local do-it-yourself scientific club) on how Wikipedia works. The best thing was that some students really began writing article after article, becoming real experienced and well-oriented Wikipedians. The thing that I like the most is that six out of seven students who have filled in a questionnaire so far wrote that they wanted to continue editing Wikipedia after the assignment ends for them. All in all, the Czech Wikipedia is richer by more than seventy articles on Histology and Cell Biology — and this number keeps growing.

Vojtěch Dostál, Wikimedia Czech Republic