Annual Plan for Fiscal Year 2013–14
This plan documents Wikimedia District of Columbia's program and development plans for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014. Wikimedia DC recently began its strategic planning process, adopting four strategic priorities which are described below. We are also streamlining our program structure to reflect the factors that define the Wikimedia movement, and to this end we will be conducting new activities dedicated to promoting engagement in the technology sector. This plan also establishes Wikimedia DC's efforts in improving program analysis, its website and supporting technologies, its revenue streams, and its supporting organizational structure. The 2013–14 Annual Plan represents the beginning of a push toward adopting a five-year strategic plan for the organization, in pursuit of broader goals of improving the Wikimedia projects.
This fiscal year, Wikimedia DC will realign its program structure to reflect the three interconnected factors that make the Wikimedia movement a success: content, technology, and community. The aim of Wikimedia DC is to make free content available to the world. The development and promotion of technology gives us the tools needed to distribute free content. Most importantly, building a vibrant community makes all of this possible.
Washington, DC, is home to many institutions of knowledge and knowledgeable people. For the past three years, a variety of Washington-based organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution, have expressed interest in improving Wikipedia's content. To this end, we have had several successful collaborations with institutions of knowledge.
During the past fiscal year, we held five edit-a-thons with the Smithsonian Institution, resulting in 47 new articles, 105 existing articles improved, and 8 images uploaded. All of the images contributed have been from the Smithsonian's collections, and the articles have been on subject matters of interest to the Smithsonian.
George Washington University worked with Wikimedia DC to hold three edit-a-thons at their libraries and archives, covering such subjects as global affairs, labor history, and the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. As a result, 31 articles were created or improved, including one article in German. Access to university resources were instrumental in the improvement of these articles.
Wikimedia DC volunteers have assisted the Cato Institute in its efforts to document bills introduced in Congress on Wikipedia. According to Jim Harper, Cato' Director of Information Policy Studies, articles written through this effort have gotten 70,000 hits, promoting knowledge of the legislative process.
Events planned with these institutions have been fruitful in developing organizational relationships, yet there is still more work to be done. Wikimedia DC will look to build on these existing relationships by devising longer-term program plans, including a schedule of planned events and metrics for content contributions and volunteer outreach. We are interested in broadening the scope of our events to include non-editing events such as scan-a-thons, which allow institutions to share their collections with a broad, global audience.
We are looking forward to continuing our collaboration and events with the National Archives, with the help of Dominic McDevitt-Parks, NARA's new full-time Wikipedia specialist. We are excited about our Chapter's opportunity to support Andrew Lih in his efforts to integrate Wikipedia into his curriculum at American University.
In the coming year, we seek to expand our outreach to other cultural institutions and universities. Through our collaborations, we will continue to make the open cultural content and information of Washington, DC, more readily available the rest of the world.
As our Chapter progresses with using the cultural resources of DC to improve free content, we are noticing that further efforts need to be made to enhance the technology that underpins the Wikimedia movement. We seek to build on the Wikimedia Foundation's substantial investments towards improving the MediaWiki software, by identifying additional technological opportunities which can enhance our Chapter's work and outreach efforts.
To this end, we will be holding hack-a-thons to develop tools that make Wikipedia easier to use and present structured data for the benefit of Wikimedia projects. We are especially interested in developing tools to allow cultural institutions to easily upload their collections to Wikimedia Commons en masse. We are also interested in creating tools and apps that will allow people to engage with Wikimedia content in new ways, including apps based on Wikidata and image discovery tools that make use of Wikimedia Commons' extensive collection of free media. We anticipate that these technology-centric events will raise awareness of the underlying technology that empowers the Wikimedia projects, and will improve our Chapter's engagement in DC's technology sector.
Technology can help us find new ways measure the success of our outreach activities. We want to explore the use of analytics, including the new Wiki Metrics tool, to measure the outcomes of our events, such as the number of bytes added to Wikipedia and the number of articles contributed. Wiki Metrics will also allow us to measure editor retention rates for workshop participants. We will also work with our institutional partners to develop customized analytics tools that demonstrate the concrete ways that Wikimedia projects allow institutions to share their knowledge with the rest of the world.
Because Wikimedia is fundamentally a volunteer movement, success in promoting free access to the world's knowledge and building the technology to makes this access possible depends on a strong community of volunteers and enthusiasts. Last year we started holding regular WikiSalons, informal events where people gather to discuss Wikipedia and work on improving articles. These WikiSalons have been successful in recruiting new participants in our movement and giving them access to resources to help them succeed at contributing to Wikipedia. We look forward to holding additional WikiSalons, as well as other social events, in the coming year.
Starting this year, we will have new opportunities to host social events at two collaborative spaces starting up in DC: the Digital Commons at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, and a community space planned at the downtown National Archives Building. These spaces have the equipment, Internet access, and curated information resources we need to train volunteers in contributing to the Wikimedia projects, by developing research skills alongside technical skills such as digitizing documents.
Our offline outreach has created a sociable local community of Wikipedia editors and supporters. We are interested in enhancing our online outreach as well, in order to broaden our audience to include remote volunteers who cannot attend in-person events.
Unlike current community-building efforts that focus exclusively on virtual organizing, we want to connect our remote supporters to our in-person events where our Chapter members and institutional partners collaborate. We want to have a blended outreach strategy in which the volunteers recruited through our online efforts are leveraging their access to our Chapter's in-person events as a way to meet fellow Wikimedians in a positive, sociable setting.
We intend to continue using social media to facilitate in-person events and collaboration. One of the ways our website will serve a resource to teach prospective volunteers the ins and outs of contributing to Wikipedia is by serving as a focal point for scheduling, events, and making connections to local collaborative efforts.
Planned projects and events
Wikimedia DC intends to carry out the following projects and events in Fiscal Year 2013–14. These plans are contingent on having adequate financial and human resources.
Edit-a-thons have been our most visible and successful means of reaching out to new Wikipedia editors while working with partnering institutions to fulfill their Wikipedia outreach goals. To this end, most of the edit-a-thons held to date have been hosted by professionals within cultural institutions, with Wikimedia DC providing expertise, funding, and a promotional platform. As we have seen successes with our edit-a-thons, including over 150 articles created or improved and over 200,000 bytes of text added to Wikipedia, we are interested in expanding the scope of this program to include additional subject areas and institutions.
Wikimedia DC organized edit-a-thons with six partnering institutions in the past fiscal year. Our goal this year is to hold events with at least eight institutions, including at least two new institutions. These institutions will ideally be centers of specialized knowledge, with access to academic resources that can be used to improve Wikipedia articles on subjects that currently lack adequate coverage, including women's history. Within the Smithsonian Institution, we are dedicated to building on the efforts of their Wikipedian-in-Residence this past summer to expand Wikimedia outreach within the Smithsonian. Having successfully run outreach events with four units within the Smithsonian Institution, our goal this year is to hold events with six Smithsonian units. A broader base of partnerships will allow for more opportunities to improve the Wikimedia projects through outreach events.
With the assistance of new tools from the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia DC will make a stronger effort to reach out to individual attendees. By collecting Wikipedia usernames at events, we can use Wiki Metrics to determine the specific outcomes of editing events, including the number of bytes contributed to articles, as well as measuring long-term editor retention. Basic voluntary data collection also presents opportunities to reach out to Wikipedians through the Wikipedia interface and to provide assistance where needed. Our goal for this fiscal year is to develop a record of at least 50 volunteers logging a total of at least 700 volunteer hours and creating or improving at least 175 articles.
We are pleased by the National Archives and Records Administration's decision to hire a full-time Wikipedia specialist. This development will allow us to further our work with the National Archives and place their historical resources in front of millions of online viewers. Additionally, given the needs of other organizations to digitize their content, a pilot program with the National Archives could be a step towards developing a streamlined process to digitize and disseminate free media.
Wikimedia DC's goal for this year is to hold two scan-a-thons with the National Archives, yielding at least 75 digitized documents. We will also work with the National Archives to develop a volunteer scanning program where volunteers can scan documents in their own free time; we are particularly interested in seeing digitized documents being used to improve Wikimedia projects.
The survival of the Wikimedia projects depends on keeping the software infrastructure up-to-date, allowing Wikimedia content to be viewed and changed on different platforms. The work done by the Wikimedia Foundation to support MediaWiki must be supplemented by further initiatives that help make sense of big data, present Wikimedia content in new and compelling ways, and help make it easier for individuals and organizations to contribute their content and expertise to the Wikimedia projects. We are fortunate in having a sizable local community of tech-savvy individuals using technology to improve the world around them. Both Wikimedia DC and the DC technology community value free access to knowledge, including structured data made available by state and federal agencies. Outreach to this sector presents many opportunities for the improvement of Wikimedia projects.
Starting with the second quarter, Wikimedia DC will begin holding a series of quarterly hack-a-thons, holding a total of three hack-a-thons this fiscal year. These hack-a-thons will be our means to develop a volunteer community dedicated to the technical infrastructure, with each event building on the results of the last one. This will include at least one hack-a-thon planned with the guidance of the Wikimedia Foundation, as well as others intended to develop auxiliary tools or presentations of structured data that can serve as sources for Wikipedia articles. The specific deliverables of these hack-a-thons will depend on the initiative of attendees, but we anticipate the completion of at least two projects.
Data helps us determine how successful our projects are, and Wikimedia organizations worldwide are beginning to make use of data to inform their decision-making processes. Wikimedia DC seeks to support this move through the development and continued support of a stable set of online tools that can be used by partnering institutions to measure the impact of their investment in the improvement of Wikimedia projects. Currently, there are many analytics tools that can be found on Wikimedia projects themselves, on Wikimedia tool repositories such as Wikimedia Labs, as well as several external websites. Some of these are poorly maintained or lack highly requested features. Rather than creating yet another disconnected tool, our goal is to create a single analytics report which will aggregate statistics from various existing tools, possibly with new features as needed. Ideally, a user will be able to select from a menu of options for statistics to include in the report and subscribe to periodical updates by email. Such a tool will be of use to partner institutions as well as curious individuals.
|NARA Innovation Lab||
In the coming year, the National Archives is designating a space at their facility as an Innovation Lab, a room with tables and equipment where members of the public can collaborate on projects. Wikimedia DC will be supporting the National Archives in their effort by lending equipment for the room's use and by pioneering events and volunteer opportunities. Though shared with the National Archives, this space will be the first Wikimedia DC-branded workspace since the Library Lab was shut down in 2012.
Not all the details are finalized, but Wikimedia DC anticipates that the space will be used to host National Archives-related edit-a-thons, as well as WikiSalons and other social events. We expect to hold at least one edit-a-thon in this space, making use of the resources of the National Archives. In the long term, we would like to see the Innovation Lab become a source of everyday access to the Wikimedia community.
Informal social events are the backbone of Wikimedia DC, and we look forward to hosting future meetups. Social events will be structured around weekday evenings as well as weekend afternoons to allow for widest possible participation. We plan on holding two social events per month, including evening WikiSalons as well as afternoon WikiSalons on the weekends followed by dinner meetups. These events will give members of the public access to the local Wikimedia community and give us the opportunity to promote our other events.
Throughout the year, Wikimedia DC will plan at least four flagship events, designed to be of broadest appeal and accessibility to the DC community. These events include our annual meeting, photography exhibitions, the annual Wiknic, and a fourth event planned with a partnering organization. Rather than strictly promoting editing Wikipedia or anything of a technical nature, flagship events will boost our presence in the DC area and give an opportunity for us to reach out to an audience that would otherwise not be interested in participating in a Wikipedia-related event.
Wikimedia DC will continue to seek grant funding from the Wikimedia Foundation to cover the cost of its projects and events, and for the time being will decline to participate in the Foundation's annual plan-based grants program. Leftover funding from our current "Outreach 2013" grant will continue to fund programs for Q1 until such funds are depleted, when general funds will cover the remainder of program costs for the quarter. We will also be filing one grant proposal for $9,800 to cover certain program expenses for the remaining three quarters. This grant proposal will be funded by a combination of leftover funds from the "Bootstrapping" grant, in addition to new funds. Wikimedia DC is also expected to receive $20,000 from a proposal filed by Wikimedia New York City to administer the travel scholarship program for WikiConference USA, a Wikimedia NYC-hosted event to be held May 30 – June 1, 2014. Grant funding for Wiki Loves Monuments 2014 will be solicited during this fiscal year, but spent during the next one.
Last fiscal year, Wikimedia DC established a set of contribution tiers for event sponsorships. These tiers include:
- Bronze Sponsor ($250):
- Sponsor mentioned by name on all promotional emails, EventBrite / Meetup listings, pre-event and post-event blog posts
- Mention on our social media platforms
- Verbal acknowledgement at event
- Silver Sponsor ($500):
- The above, plus:
- Logo included on all emails, EventBrite / Meetup listings, pre- and post-event blog posts
- Sponsor literature provided for attendees at event
- Gold Sponsor ($1,000):
- The above, plus:
- Guest post on our blog
- Company logo on a piece of giveaway swag
- Sponsor table at our finalists reception
Wikimedia DC will continue to develop event sponsorship opportunities, including with flagship social events.
Wikimedia DC will continue to pursue multiple sources of donations to cover general administrative costs. These include:
- Sponsor memberships: Small ($15-$90) donation amounts packaged with the standard $10 membership fee as sponsor memberships.
- Individual donations: Individuals solicited to make substantial donations to the organization.
- Corporate donations: Organizations and corporations with whom we have an existing relationship solicited to make financial or in-kind contributions to the organization.
Staff and logistics
Wikimedia DC will be making certain modifications to its structure of advisory committees to ensure that they provide the best support to the organization. The current Programs Committee will be restructured into different committees which reflect our strategic priorities. This restructuring will help us recruit volunteers interested in aiding the Board of Directors in planning its activities. We will also consider additional changes to the committee structure that promote their participation in Wikimedia DC's decision-making processes.
Wikimedia DC currently has several volunteer staff positions directly appointed by the Board of Directors. This year we are interested in recruiting additional partnership coordinators to conduct outreach in particular sectors, including technology and academia.
As part of this, we will be developing a new workflow for volunteering, both online and offline. We would like to encourage individuals to help Wikimedia DC in its mission any way they can, even if they lack the time needed to participate in more formal ways. This volunteer workflow will explain to users the different ways they can help, whether by organizing workshops or helping directly to improve the Wikimedia projects. In the long term, our ambition is to develop a resourceful base of volunteers, both in-person and remote.
Wikimedia DC will continue revising its website to reflect the strategic priorities and our current program offerings. The changes implemented last fiscal year improved the presentation of content, featuring the latest blog posts and descriptions of our activities. While these pages present our mission well, their interactivity is low and users are directed to email Wikimedia DC, rather than fill out an on-site form. Our goal is to make it easier for individuals and organizations to submit proposals and other requests, including through the use of online forms and surveys. This will lower the burden on prospective partners to reach out to Wikimedia DC, and the resulting information that is collected can be easily organized.
The office space and physical equipment currently used suit the organization well, and no changes will be made with regards to either this year.
On the backend, Wikimedia DC will investigate technologies for internal communications, constituent relationship management, and teleconferencing. These technologies will assist us in the course of our work.
Fit to strategy
On September 7, 2013, the Board of Directors of Wikimedia DC approved the following strategic priorities:
- Foster a welcoming and supportive social environment for local and remote Wikimedia volunteers.
- Empower academic, cultural, and government institutions to contribute content and expertise to Wikimedia projects.
- Promote women's participation in all aspects of the Wikimedia movement.
- Cultivate diversity of participation and content on Wikimedia projects.
Over the next year, we look forward to developing a full strategic plan that builds on our progress to date. This process will require the input of our community and our partners, and we will be actively seeking their feedback. Our planned events work to foster a welcoming and supporting social environment by matching newcomers with experts; our organizational norm of conducting ourselves cordially and professionally makes this possible. The events cultivate diversity of participation and content by raising awareness of under-covered topics on Wikipedia, with the intent of ameliorating the systemic bias of Wikipedia and of academia in general. We collaborate with institutions with shared interests to achieve this. We pursue every opportunity to promote leadership and participation among women, and we are pleased by the gender balance at our events and among our event planners.
Beyond single-day events, Wikimedia DC's plans endeavor to build an organization that can continue this work from year to year. Our rigorous implementation of quantitative analytics will make it clearer to demonstrate our successes while also highlighting opportunities to improve on our work. This is necessary to demonstrate to stakeholders, including our generous donors and program underwriters, how precisely the work the work we carry out contributes to the fundamental mission of the Wikimedia Foundation: to provide the public with the world's knowledge, free of charge. Additional investments in the underlying technology powering our organization make it easier for us to understand the extent and scope of our community, and they give us a standard, dependable list of people available to advise or assist the organization. Building social capital is an underlying requirement for all four of our strategic priorities. As we plan events to carry out our mission in the present, we are planning our infrastructure for the future.