Wikimédia France recently announced a new partnership with the Palace of Versailles.

This partnership will be the third “Wikimedian residency” and the second time that a Wikimedian will work closely with a cultural institution of world-wide renown. French Wikipedian Benoît Evellin follows in the footsteps of Liam Wyatt who was the first Wikipedian in residence at the British Museum.  Benoît will spend six months at the Palace of Versailles to help produce and include cultural and scientific data on the Wikimedia projects.

The partnership originated at the GLAM-Wiki Paris event in early December 2010 where Adrienne Alix, president of Wikimédia France, met Laurent Gaveau, Deputy Director of Information and Communication of Versailles and started talking about possible ways to bring Versailles cultural riches to the Wikimedia Projects.

Benoît’s residency will focus on:

  • Facilitating the exchange of best practice between the Wikimedia contributors and the teams of the Palace of Versailles, including researchers and scientists;
  • Developing effective communication and distribution channels to broaden access to cultural and scientific content of the Palace of Versailles through Wikipédia in French, but also in all other languages, as well as through Wikimedia Commons with images and multimedia content;

Laurent Gaveau explains that, “Wikipedia is the second source of information in France on the Palace of Versailles, after the official website, it might even be the first abroad.”

This partnership follows other partnerships secured by Wikimédia France with similar institutions, including partnerships with the City of Toulouse, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, which have brought a wealth of high-quality material to Wikimedia Commons and Wikisource, but also a growing number of initiatives around the world with institutions working to make their information available to the general public through the Wikimedia Projects.

As Adrienne Alix puts it:

“This partnership with the Palace of Versailles confirms that something has changed between cultural institutions worldwide and Wikimedia: The World of Culture is starting to understand that criticizing by saying “Wikipedia is not complete” is not as constructive as working with Wikipedia to make it better. This is the result of tireless work from Wikimedians, and I am happy to see that the Wikimedia Projects are now seen by professionals as an essential conduit to the dissemination of culture.”

Delphine Ménard
Member, Wikimédia France