Over a three day session at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington DC, 25 Wikimedians and cultural professionals worked within yards of America’s most precious documents to galvanize the US GLAM-Wiki community around new tools and resources.
GLAMcamp DC was the third in a series of GLAMcamps designed to focus outreach efforts, documentation, and tools to connect cultural organizations (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) with the Wikimedia movement.
While previous GLAMcamps brought together Wikimedians from around the world, GLAMcamp DC specifically focused on coordination within the US. This event served to kick start the GLAM-Wiki US community, which will be supported through my position as US Cultural Partnerships Coordinator this year.
Over the past two years, more and more cultural organizations have expressed interest in establishing Wikimedia partnerships. However, in the US we have lacked the organizational capacity to fully support these projects. With this in mind, GLAMcamp DC was focused on achieving outcomes that would make it far easier for cultural professionals to connect and engage with Wikimedians. The event was organized as a combination of facilitated breakout sessions, orientation presentations (such as GLAM Outreach Basics), and task-focused groups on everything from technical tool development and documentation creation to Wiki Loves Monuments coordination. I was so impressed with how quickly the participants came together to learn from each other and work together to achieve our shared goals.
Outcomes of the weekend included:
- Bulk Upload Documentation: The Walters Art Museum has stepped up as the first cultural organization to directly work with Wikimedians to develop a documented process for uploading images to Commons. What has been called the “bulk upload tool” has been re-envisioned as a set of easy to understand tools and best practices that can be replicated by cultural organizations. The Walters’ collection is being used as a case study for this process, which will continue to be developed over the coming months.
- Wikipedia Citation Tool: A second significant technical development was the creation of a Wikipedia citation engine for MARC library records. Inspired by Trove, this web browser extension will allow users to obtain a citation for the use on a specific language version of Wikipedia from any online library catalog, rather than depending on the database to provide this option to users.
- GLAM US Portal: A team worked to improve the layout and flow of the new GLAM US portal, which will serve as the hub for connecting cultural organizations with Wikimedia volunteers based on location or project type. Emphasis was placed on making the landing page easily digestible for GLAM decision makers, with links to more details for Wikimedia volunteers and cultural professionals looking for deeper resources and case studies.
- GLAM Connect: Ideas were further developed for the GLAM Connect page, which will serve as the space for Wikimedian volunteer sign-up and for cultural professionals to seek out individuals to assist with both online and on-location projects. A state-based system for localized contacts and resources is being piloted, as well as a master list of professional organization contacts. Additionally, the GLAM-Wiki US Facebook page was created in an effort to better share information with specific audiences.
- GLAM Bookshelf: Cultural professionals in attendance assisted with listing documentation needs and reviewing existing resources, while Wikimedians with experience in GLAM projects worked to create and upload high-need documentation. The GLAM Bookshelf will serve as a space to compile these handouts, powerpoints, videos, and on-wiki guides that can assist Wikimedians and cultural professionals with GLAM partnerships.
- GLAM-Wiki One-Pager: In preparation for upcoming presentations at GLAM conferences, a group worked to complete a two-sided handout directed at GLAM professionals. The one-pager provides an overview of GLAM-Wiki information, including case stories on current partnerships, pull quotes from GLAM professionals, and contact information. A side effect of this one-pager was the creation of a GLAM style guide, which will serve to establish clear terminology and branding of GLAM concepts such as “Wikipedian in Residence” and “Backstage Pass.”
We achieved these outcomes only through the inspiring collaborative efforts of the dedicated participants. In organizing this event we aimed to bring together a very specific group that included museum, library, and archives professionals, outreach-focused GLAM-Wiki volunteers, tech-focused GLAM-Wiki volunteers, and Wikimedians from broad backgrounds who were interested in becoming more involved in GLAM.
When they weren’t hard at work, participants had the opportunity to enjoy tours at the National Archives and the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum and Lunder Conservation Center. The tour of the National Archives took Wikimedians through the rotunda housing the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, to the head archivists’ offices in “Mahogany Row,” to the highly-secured stacks where unfathomable amounts of documentation are housed. In addition to these tours, participants attended a GLAM-Wiki meet up, sponsored by the Wikimedia Foundation and Creative Commons, which brought together local cultural professionals and interested students to learn more about GLAM-Wiki.
The projects and networking that came out of GLAMcamp DC have contributed greatly to addressing the needs of US GLAM-Wiki collaborations, but this is only the beginning. Over the coming months, we’re looking to further refine this new collaborative framework and to significantly expand the list of volunteers interested in US partnerships.
Ultimately, in addition to these impressive outcomes, the most important result of GLAMcamp DC was the renewed solidarity and energy of US GLAM-Wiki volunteers, who are now looking to better connect cultural institutions in every state with the resources of GLAM-Wiki US and the broader GLAM-Wiki community.
Lori Byrd Phillips
US Cultural Partnerships Coordinator
GLAMcamp DC was funded by a grant from the Wikimedia Grants program, with event sponsorship from Creative Commons. GLAMcamp DC was co-organized by Lori Phillips, Sarah Stierch, and Pete Forsyth.