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News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Posts Tagged ‘Wikimedia Sverige’

Wikipedia helps immigrants learn Swedish

Some of the SFI students in Värnamo during their introductory Wikipedia workshop.

To start using the Internet as an adult can be hard. In 2013 Wikimedia Sverige decided to reach out to a very underrepresented group of people – immigrants. In Sweden, research has shown that immigrants learning Swedish as a new language are very interested in learning how to use the internet and incorporating that into their education. However, teachers find it tricky to integrate web participation into the curriculum. We figured (surprise surprise) that multilingual Wikipedia would make a great tool for teachers to use! Both to teach the students basic Swedish language skills and to naturally integrate computer use into their education.

We partnered up with GR Utbildning and managed to find external funding from the Internet Infrastructure Foundation (.SE) for a project aiming at changing the current curriculum, one teacher at the time. (We strongly suggest that you look around for funds available in your country too –  feel free to ask us for pointers). We teamed up with three Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) teachers in two different schools and started teaching them about Wikipedia.

In order to work efficiently on Wikipedia, it’s necessary to know the basics of writing. After a discussion with the teachers, we decided focus on students who possessed academic backgrounds. It turned out these students were still more proficient in reading than writing Swedish. We decided that the most suitable way for them to contribute would be to have them translate from Swedish into their respective native languages.


Brainstorming about Wikipedia’s diversity

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


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.


Swedish Museums freely sharing images from their collections

This post is available in 2 languages: Svenska  • English


Porträtt, Rudolf II som Vertumnus. Guiseppe Arcimboldo – Skoklosters slott – 87582

(This is a post by Karin Nilsson and Fredrik Andersson of  The Royal Armoury, Skokloster Castle and The Hallwyl museum in Sweden to announce the release of images in their collections and the addition of many of them to Wikimedia Commons.)

Today, the 23rd of October, The Royal Armoury, Skokloster Castle and the Hallwyl museum together with Wikimedia Sweden announced the release of more than 12,000 images. At the beginning of this year, the three Swedish museums The Royal Armoury, Skokloster Castle and the Hallwyl Museum (which together constitute a National Agency, accountable to the Ministry of Culture) took an important step toward increased openness when we released our high resolution, digital image archives to the public on the museum’s own website. In October we started uploading images to Wikimedia Commons. In this first stage about 19,000 images were uploaded, 7,000 of which are negative files. The number is expected to increase as the digitization proceeds.

The images have been produced over a long period of time and were created for documenting the collections and planning exhibitions as well as for publications and marketing purposes. The original formats range from digitized glass negatives (with their negative file) to completely new images.

We see this contribution as beneficial in several ways:

  • We increase the reach of our images nationally as well as internationally, when publishing our images on a platform which is used by many millions of people every day.
  • Information about the museums’ collections and images is enriched when we use the possibilities of creating links between images, people and historic events on both Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia.
  • Anybody can edit information and contribute to a fuller and better context to the images.


WikiSkills helps teachers use Wikipedia in their courses

WikiSkills is a part of the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme, and its purpose is to teach teachers how to use collaborative tools like wikis for teaching. Wikimedia Sverige, the official Wikimedia chapter in Sweden, is one of eight partners involved in WikiSkills, and though the project will end in December, we would like to present the experiences of five teachers in the WikiSkills courses that we arranged in Sweden. As a representative of Wikimedia Sverige, I felt it was natural to make Wikipedia part of the education.

WikiSkills is mainly financed by the EC through the Lifelong Learning Programme. Official website.

Wikimedia Sverige has operated three courses during the spring, each two days long. Course events have been localized to both small and big cities, from north to south in Sweden, specifically at Skellefteå, Stockholm and Helsingborg. The courses have been about wikis in general and Wikipedia in particular.

In total, 23 excited participants have invested their time: particularly vocational teachers and secondary school teachers, teacher educators, project leaders from folk high schools and UR, mentors from SeniorNet, an entrepreneur and a communicator of an environmental organization. We course leaders have really been trying to bring about a dialogue between all participants and instructors. Participants are supposed to contribute actively before, during and hopefully after training days.

We started with preparative tasks on and about Wikipedia because Wikipedia is a concrete example that illustrates how a wiki engine and a wiki project can work. The tasks were sent out one week before each face-to-face meeting in order to let participants get up to speed. During the first day, the participants together with the instructors went through the basics of wikis and Wikipedia. Participants presented their preparative tasks in a way that they themselves thought was appropriate; instructors lectured partly by presenting facts and partly by trying to guide discussions among participants to important topics and by using the participant’s thoughts and findings as a basis for facts about wikis and Wikipedia.

A series of parallel WWI edit-a-thons in seven countries

This post is available in 3 languages: Svenska7% • Ελληνικά 7% • English 100%


This postcard was uploaded from Europeana by a volunteer and it now illustrate the English GA article SMS Hessen. This is just an example of the beautiful images of old ships uploaded during the day.

This image is now used on plenty of language versions and it is one of two Europeana images used in the Greek article about Chemical weapons in World War I (el:Χημικά όπλα στον Α΄ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο), it was uploaded by yours truly in advance of the pilot event we had in Sweden last November.

Hard working volunteers created and improved a bunch of different articles during the day. Here you see some of them in Stockholm, Sweden.

On Saturday 29 June 2013, a series of parallel World War I edit-a-thons was organized throughout Europe and Australia by Wikimedia Sverige as part of the Europeana Awareness project. To get people involved, we contacted a bunch of Wikimedia Chapters and individual volunteers, including many at the GLAM-WIKI 2013 conference, which just goes to show the great value of physical meetings. We told them about our plans and we were happy to receive great interest and positive responses, not to mention a few great suggestions for improvements!

Physical WWI edit-a-thons took place in five countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, Serbia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Successful online edit-a-thons also ran in Australia and Greece. All in all, well over 50 volunteers took part in the edit-a-thons.

We had four reasons for holding these events. First, there is always a spike in Wikipedia visitor numbers around the dates of a major event and we wanted Wikipedia’s articles about the First World War to be as good as possible before the centennial anniversaries. Given that many articles were created and improved during the edit-a-thons, we believe this to have been a step in the right direction.

Second, we looked at an edit-a-thon as a perfect way of getting representatives from different galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs) to cooperate with each other and with us, and a great way of engaging experts. The idea was that this would give us a chance to approach the GLAMs and initiate collaborations to urge them to release pictures from their collections and to work with us in other ways during 2014. At the European level, we are already cooperating with Europeana and the Europeana Network in order to reach even more GLAMs. Europeana’s material was frequently used in the edit-a-thons, so the events further strengthened our partnership with them and the GLAMs participating in their Network. As part of the events, several Wikimedia Chapters also initiated new relationships with their local GLAMs.

Our third reason behind hosting the edit-a-thons was that we wanted to increase the use of Europeana’s enormous digital collection on Wikipedia, while making the community aware of this partnership and the many similarities between our two organizations. Europeana has thousands of pictures connected to WWI that have the free licenses that enable their use on Wikipedia. It would be a shame not to have these amazing pictures illustrating Wikipedia articles. The pictures come both from the public and from Europeana’s vast network of content providers. During these events, we showed GLAMs why they should use a truly free license (suitable for use on Wikipedia) and what the end users–Wikimedians–could do with their content.

The edit-a-thons were very successful with plenty of images from Europeana used and contextualized in our articles. We were all happy to see that volunteers explored Europeana’s material themselves and uploaded many more great images during the day. Also, there was a lot of work done in London with bringing more Europeana material to our projects from the British Library.


A successful “Collection Days” edit-a-thon in Warsaw, Poland

This post is available in 3 languages: Svenska 7% • Polski 100%English 7%


en:Sarmīte Ēlerte from Latvia was one of the VIPs present at the Collection Days’ kick-off event.

Six hardworking Wikip/medians.

Finding great images to illustrate articles were a central part of the event.

It has already been a couple of weeks, but I wanted to explain and share some lessons learned about an edit-a-thon that Wikimedia Sverige and Wikimedia Polska organized in conjunction with the Europeana 1989 Collection Days in Warsaw, Poland.

The Collection Days are a series of events continuing through the end of 2014, where the public is invited to come and share their memorabilia of 1989, and have it digitized and uploaded online under a CC-BY-SA license. When I heard about this topic, I thought that the first Collection Days would be a perfect event for the Wikimedia movement to participate in because of the similarities of involving the general public and the use of the license. The idea was that we could try out the concept and see what worked and didn’t work, and by sharing this experience and gaining these contacts, we could help other European chapters in the Wikimedia movement to organize events in connection to future Collection Days.

With this blog post, I hope to do just that.

The goal with the edit-a-thon, in addition to writing articles together and making Wikipedia better, was to get new people and new organizations involved in the work of the Wikimedia movement. The idea is that the people who bring their objects to the Collection Days easily could stop by and learn how to edit Wikipedia and learn that their memorabilia of 1989 also might appear on Wikipedia.

The day before, I arrived with another Swedish volunteer to attend the kick-off event (with a bunch of VIPs present, who now have images on Commons!). We met with the Polish Collection Days’ organizers, prepared the venue and uploaded images that had been digitized during the day. The Polish chapter had been great at promoting the event in advance and had translated the event page to Polish.

On 9 June, six experienced Wikimedians from Poland and Sweden gathered in Warsaw for this international edit-a-thon to write about both Polish history in general and especially about the events that took place in 1989. Our goal was to use as many images that were digitized during the Collection Days as possible. I gave a short presentation about what we hoped to achieve there and then we started with fixing up some of the images uploaded the night before and writing articles (a few more images were uploaded from the event throughout the day that we worked on). The catering had some issues, but we had a great time and we were very productive, with nine new articles and 15 articles expanded on the Polish, Swedish and English Wikipedias.

We hope that other chapters will take the opportunity to organize edit-a-thons in their countries in connection with these events. After Poland, the Collection Days will be organized in the Baltic states (the plan is August, but the exact dates are still to be decided). So Wikimedia Eesti and all you volunteers in Latvia and Lithuania, be sure to contact me and I’ll help you to get in contact with the right people!


Wiki Loves Public Art 2013 contest sees good participation

This post is available in 2 languages: Svenska7% • English 100%


Participating countries 2013.
Lokal_Profil, CC BY-SA 3.0

I wanted to give you all a short update about how Wiki Loves Public Art turned out this first year. As you might know, five countries participated, but with the exception of Israel, the focus was on only one or a couple of the major cities in the countries. This was due to a lack of national databases of public works of art. So we saw this year as a tryout to set things in order, and as it turned out, we are very happy with the results!

By the end of the contest, participants photographed nearly 75 percent of all the works of art that were listed! All in all, more than 9,250 images were uploaded as part of the contest by 225 uploaders, of which 57 percent were first time contributors.

In Sweden, where for different reasons we focused on working with museums to photograph their public domain art collections, we had nine museums taking part. We organized five meetups and photo safaris, where a lot of newbies showed up. Many of them did not upload their images in time for the contest, but still appreciated the opportunity to come and talk to us about Wikimedia’s different projects.

The juries in each country are now in the process of selecting the winning pictures. These finalists will then be submitted for consideration by the jury of the international competition. Once the winners have been chosen, we will return with another update.

We have had a lot of fun and we are very happy with the results of what is hopefully the first of many years of Wiki Loves Public Art.

John Andersson
International Coordinator Wiki Loves Public Art
Wikimedia Sverige


Writing about a parasite? Yes, welcome to Wikipedia education programme in Sweden

Pia Palm is an Educational Developer with focus on Information and communications technology (ICT) at Linnaeus University in Kalmar, at the eastern coast of Sweden. Joining with professors at the university, she has worked to integrate Wikipedia in education, specifically with students who are studying to become biomedical health practitioners.

Pia Palm

So what are these students engaged in writing? The most recent class just presented these articles:

The LRC at Linneaus University

Pia says that they have formed a team at the university to support the students in writing on Wikipedia. Once students receive an introduction to Wikipedia, they create user accounts and try writing in sandboxes. Staff at the Learning Resources Centre (LRC) are also helping the students by teaching research and citation skills. Pia says that the foremost reason to why they are using Wikipedia in education at Linnaeus University is to have students learn about digital media and to write for a greater audience. They have been running this education programme since spring-term 2011.

The task for the students is to further their knowledge of a parasite which is not, or fairly shallowly, covered on Swedish Wikipedia. They would do this by researching and finding literature about this parasite which they then used as sources when writing on Wikipedia. Students add the article about their chosen parasite, using these references, in an understandable and encyclopedic way. The students have to research and find at least three academic references to use in their article. Students were assigned a lecturer who, with the students, looked at the articles before making them live on Wikipedia. Pia says that students always are happy to get feedback from the community on their articles. She also tells us that the students may use the articles as work to point at when applying for jobs in the future.

Sophie Österberg, Wikimedia Sweden

Creating an open database of public art in Sweden

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Español 7% • English 100%


Statue of Gustav II Adolph in Stockholm. Photo by: Lars (Lon) Olsson.

When we first looked at organising Wiki Loves Public Art (WLPA) in Sweden, together with Europeana, we figured that it wouldn’t be much different from how we had organized Wiki Loves Monuments in previous years. We would just need to get lists of all the public artworks in Sweden. As there is a government agency called The National Public Art Council Sweden (Statens konstråd), we thought all we’d need to do was contact them and get the data from them.

We soon found out that the situation was quite different. Although Statens konstråd does have lists of public artwork, they are limited to fairly recent art and only that art which the agency itself has purchased. The vast majority of the works of art are the responsibility of the individual municipalities, along with the agencies and companies charged with the maintenance of public buildings, such as train stations. There also isn’t a standardized format for how to record the works of art, nor a requirement to record them at all. Fortunately, Public Sector Information (PSI) legislation in Sweden is such that we can request this data from each of the public bodies holding the information.

Sjöormsfontänen by Axel Ebbe. Photo by: Hedning.

After receiving a grant from Sweden’s Innovation Agency (Vinnova), we set out to build a database that could hold all of the information we were going to collect. We also added an API to allow developers easy access to the data and to enable them to build other applications with it. We are also working on connecting the database to Wikipedia and Wikidata. This is similar to how the lists work in Wiki Loves Monuments, which provide a natural place for viewing the information and putting it in a larger context. It also allows the information to be further improved: volunteers can add coordinates, create descriptions and fix typos.

The project has also had the added benefit of making any municipality we contact aware of open data and the PSI legislation. Many of them have said that they’ve had internal discussions regarding best practices for handling requests for open data, which has spread awareness of the importance of open data within the organisations. Several municipalities were also delighted to find out that there is an interest in the public art they maintain. They have sometimes used this as an opportunity to update their own records or have expressed an interest in sharing the user-generated information that will be added to the works of art. By the time the preparations for Wiki Loves Public Art 2014 get started we expect to have a decent proportion of all public art in Sweden in the database. The generated lists should be able to serve our needs as a basis for the competition.

If we were going to run Wiki Loves Public Art 2014 the way we had originally envisioned running it in 2013, we need a centralised source of standardised information. The need for, and usefulness of, such a database goes beyond the WLPA contest. Schools can use an open database to identify local art or art elsewhere in Sweden by a local artist. Researcher could use it to look at trends in public art. Reporters could use it as an investigative tool when looking at local government spending. Adjoining municipalities could pool their resources when negotiating services, such as restoration and maintenance of works of art.

And these are just a few of the use cases we quickly thought of. The true benefit of an open database is that it can be used by anyone for any idea they might have.

Municipalities of Sweden colored based on their status in the Database. See image page for key. Image by: Lokal_Profil.

So if your country is in a similar situation where the relevant information is fragmented between many parties, perhaps this is the solution also for you. All code developed for this project is open source, making your life much easier. So the main thing you would need are volunteers to request the information and to then pre-process it into a usable form (don’t underestimate the time needed for either of these two steps!). You might even be able to find external funding for a similar project in your country.

Of course we’d be happy to share the lessons we have learned, so if you are interested just get in touch!

André Costa
GLAM-technician / Developer, Wikimedia Sverige

For more information and updates see the project page on our wiki.

A quick glimpse of some of the database features

From an early point we knew that we needed a way of clearly marking which content came from an official source and which had been user-generated. The solution was to build the database in two layers, giving you three choices in how to view the information:

  1. Strict view, with official information only;
  2. Normal view, which makes no distinction between user-generated and official information;
  3. Enhanced view, which is similar to the Strict view, but displays user-generated information for the fields where official data is missing.

In addition to this, we added a mechanism that exports all of the changes to the official information from a given source. This allows an interested municipality to import some, or all, of the corrections or enhanced information. If these are then incorporated by them, the changes are upgraded to official status.

The database is also designed to keep a record of the copyright status of the artwork as well as whether it is inside or outdoors. The result of this is that we can build lists that detect whether images of the artwork are allowed on Wikimedia Commons, and also whether these should be marked with a Freedom of Panorama template. Just what we need for running Wiki Loves Public Art in 2014!


Documenting the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 for Wikimedia

This post is available in 4 languages: English 7% • Svenska 100%Deutsch 7% • 中文 100%


I got an idea in May, 2012, as the Eurovision Song Contest was ending and Loreen had just been named the 2012 winner, with her song Euphoria. Because Loreen represented Sweden, the 2013 contest would be held in my country. This would create an exciting opportunity for me and Wikipedia, because my home is in Gothenburg, and I could take really good photos for the Wikimedia Commons database.

Loreen after she won in 2012.

Photo: Vugarİbadov

Licence: CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported.

Eurovision Song Contest is well documented on Wikipedia. The contest was started in 1956, and currently has Wikipedia articles in 91 languages[1], many including information on artists and their songs, statistics, voting history, the rules and points awarded. My idea started here because there are not many photos and the quality varies; occasionally someone sitting in the audience at the show manages to take a photo with their phone, but there were not many quality images. Using the CC-BY-SA-3.0 license, anyone would be free to copy, distribute and edit my photos, as long as I am attributed and new versions of the photos have the same license.

The most common use of photos on Wikimedia Commons is in Wikipedia articles, and photos enhance the articles. My goal was to make it possible to have really good, professional photos of every artist in the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. Newspapers, magazines, websites and other media outlets that did not send a photographer to Malmö could also use my photos from the database.

I applied for photo accreditation and, at first, my application was denied because the Head of Delegation saw me as a fan and not as a serious photographer. Then some members of Wikimedia Sverige managed to explain my intentions and the purpose of my application. When I was finally approved, it meant that I had the same rights as all the other 1700 photographers and journalists at the contest.

Emmelie de Forest after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2013.

Photo: Albin Olsson

License: CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported

It has been an amazing week, and a very successful project. I took thousands of photos and right now over 500 are uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. They are categorized under: contestants, countries, rehearsals and/or press conferences. All of them are also under the category Photos taken by Albin Olsson during the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. There are close-ups of almost all of the artists, photos of the artists performing their songs on stage, and also videos I filmed.

The 2013 Eurovision Song contest winner was Emmelie de Forest, from Denmark, with her song “Only Teardrops.” My photograph of de Forest has already been used in 36 different languages on Wikipedia, including Japanese and Chinese.

Since non-freely licensed material is not permitted on Wikimedia Commons, I couldn’t upload the songs or videos containing the songs, but I filmed more than 32 clips where 12 of the artists present themselves. All in English, but 11 of them in at least one other language (you can find the videos in the commons category Videos from Eurovision Song Contest 2013 and I might add a few more). It feels really cool that the Wikipedia articles don’t just have a nice photo at the top of their infoboxes, but a short video too.