Annual Plan for Fiscal Year 2013–14

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This plan documents Wikimedia District of Columbia's program and organizational development plans for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014. Wikimedia DC has begun a strategic planning process by adopting four strategic priorities and by streamlining our program structure to more closely reflect the three interconnected elements that we believe define the Wikimedia movement: content, technology, and community. The plan is intended as an initial step towards developing a five-year strategic plan which will define our broader goals within the Wikimedia movement.

Our programs

This fiscal year, Wikimedia DC will align 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 tools to distribute free content. Most importantly, building a vibrant community makes all of this possible.


CONTENT

Washington, DC is home to major institutions of knowledge and is known for its highly educated residents. Washington's cultural institutions, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations are the site of collections, archives and artifacts of national and international significance. For the past three years, a variety of Washington-based organizations have expressed interest in improving Wikipedia's content, and 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 subjects such as global affairs, labor history, the history of the university, and the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. As a result, 31 articles were created or improved, including one article in German. Access to university resources was 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's Director of Information Policy Studies, the articles written through this effort have been read more than 70,000 times, promoting public knowledge of the legislative process.

The events planned with these institutions have been fruitful in developing organizational relationships. Wikimedia DC will build on these relationships by devising longer-term program plans, including a schedule of planned events and metrics for content contributions and volunteer outreach. We will broaden 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.

Over the coming year, we will expand our outreach to other cultural institutions and universities. We look 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 also excited about the opportunity to support Andrew Lih in his efforts to integrate Wikipedia into his curriculum at American University. Through these collaborations, we will continue to make the open cultural content and information of Washington, DC, more readily available to the rest of the world.


TECHNOLOGY

As Wikimedia DC leverages the cultural resources of DC to improve free content, we notice 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 work and outreach efforts.

We will hold hack-a-thons to develop tools that will 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 Wikimedia projects, and will improve our engagement in DC's technology sector.

Technology can also help us find new ways measure the success of our outreach activities. We will 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, as well as the retention rates for workshop participants. We will 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.


COMMUNITY

Because Wikimedia is fundamentally a volunteer movement, success in promoting free access to the world's knowledge and building the technology to make 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 to our movement and giving them access to the resources needed to succeed at contributing to Wikipedia. We look forward to holding additional WikiSalons, as well as other social events, in the coming year.

Starting this fiscal 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 to contribute to the Wikimedia projects, and to develop 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. We will integrate remote participants into our in-person events and build a blended outreach strategy in which the volunteers recruited through our online efforts can leverage their access to 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. Our website will serve a resource to teach prospective volunteers the ins-and-outs of contributing to Wikipedia by serving as a focal point for scheduling, events, and connecting with 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

Edit-a-thons have been our most visible and successful means of reaching out to new Wikipedia editors while working with partner institutions to fulfill their Wikimedia outreach goals. 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 collaborative successes of the past three years. Having successfully run outreach events with four units within the Smithsonian Institution, our goal this year is to hold six events with the Smithsonian. 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 will enable the use of Wiki Metrics to determine specific event outcomes, including the number of bytes contributed to articles, as well as to measure long-term editor retention. Basic voluntary data collection also provides 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.

Scan-a-thons

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 to 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 at the National Archives, yielding at least 50 digitized documents. We will work with the National Archives to enable volunteers to scan documents; we are particularly interested in seeing digitized documents being used to improve Wikimedia content.

Hack-a-thons

New and easier-to-use software functionality will help expand Wikimedia content and enable it to be viewed and changed on different platforms and by new people. 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 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 government 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 improving 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 technical projects.

Analytics development

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 will aim to support this move through the development and maintenance of a stable set of online tools that can be used by partner 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, and on 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 downtown 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 space and by pioneering events and volunteer opportunities. This shared space at the National Archives will continue the tradition of having a Wikimedia DC-branded collaborative workspace, similar to our efforts at the DC Public Library Lab in 2011–12.

Not all the details have been 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 a regular Wikimedia community presence at the Innovation Lab.

Social events

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 both evening WikiSalons and afternoon WikiSalons 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 broad appeal and accessibility to the DC community. These events will include our annual meeting, photography exhibitions, the annual Wiknic, and a fourth event planned with a partner organization. Rather than strictly promoting editing Wikipedia or anything of a technical nature, these events will boost our presence in the DC area and provide an opportunity to reach out to an audience that would otherwise not be interested in participating in a Wikipedia-related event.

Fundraising

Grants

Wikimedia DC will continue to seek grant funding from the Wikimedia Foundation to cover the cost of its programs and events, and for now will decline to participate in the Foundation's annual plan-based grants program. Leftover funds from our current "Outreach 2013" grant will continue to fund our programs during Q1 until they are depleted, and general funds will cover the remainder of program costs for the quarter.

We plan to request a grant for $9,800 from the Foundation 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 and new funds. Wikimedia DC also expects to receive $20,000 from a proposal filed by Wikimedia New York City to administer the travel scholarship program for WikiConference USA 2014, which will be held in New York between May 30 and June 1, 2014. Grant funding for Wiki Loves Monuments 2014 will be solicited during this fiscal year, but spent during the next one.

Event sponsorships

Last fiscal year, Wikimedia DC established a set of contribution tiers for event sponsorship. The tiers range from $250 to $1000 per event, and offer sponsors a varied set of benefits, including mentions and logo placement in promotional emails, announcements, and social media and blog posts; verbal acknowledgement at events; distribution of sponsor literature and promotional items at events; and opportunities to write guest blog posts or staff tables at events. We will continue to pursue event sponsorship opportunities, particularly with flagship social events.

Donations

Wikimedia DC will continue to pursue multiple sources of donations to cover general administrative costs. These will include small ($15-$90) donation amounts packaged with the standard $10 membership fee as sponsor memberships; substantial individual donations to the organization; and financial or in-kind contributions from organizations and corporations with whom we have a relationship.

Staff and logistics

Committees

Wikimedia DC will be making certain modifications to its structure of advisory committees to ensure that they provide effective support to the organization. This restructuring will help us in recruiting volunteers interested in helping the Board of Directors plan activities and promote committee participation in Wikimedia DC's decision-making processes.

Volunteers

Wikimedia DC currently has several volunteer staff positions directly appointed by the Board of Directors. This year, we aim to recruit one or more additional partnership coordinators to conduct outreach in particular sectors, including technology and academia.

We will develop a new workflow for online and offline volunteering to encourage individuals to help Wikimedia DC pursue its mission in 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 in which they can help, whether by organizing workshops or helping directly to improve the Wikimedia projects. In the long term, our objective is to develop a resourceful base of volunteers, both in-person and remote.

Website

Wikimedia DC will continue updating 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 and ensure that collected information that can be easily organized.

Infrastructure

The office space and physical equipment currently used by Wikimedia DC are adequate for our current needs, and no changes to either are expected during the coming year.

Wikimedia DC will investigate new 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, Wikimedia DC's Board of Directors committed to four strategic priorities:

  1. Foster a welcoming and supportive social environment for local and remote Wikimedia volunteers.
  2. Empower academic, cultural, and government institutions to contribute content and expertise to Wikimedia projects.
  3. Promote women's participation in all aspects of the Wikimedia movement.
  4. Cultivate diversity of participation and content on Wikimedia projects.

Over the next year, we will develop a full strategic plan, building on further input from our community and feedback from our partners.

Our planned events will foster a welcoming and supporting social environment by matching newcomers with experts. Our friendly space policy has helped us conduct ourselves cordially and professionally. Our events will cultivate diversity of participation and content by raising awareness of under-covered topics on Wikipedia. We intend to fill the gaps that create systemic bias on Wikipedia by creating diverse new content and by expanding existing content. We look forward to further exploring how the region's source materials and public information can improve our encyclopedia's quality.

We will continue to promote leadership and participation among women. Our partnerships with cultural institutions and social meetups have resulted in strong participation by women. We are pleased with the gender balance at our events and among our event planners, and welcome people of diverse ages, occupations, and ethnic and national backgrounds among our participants.

Our rigorous implementation of quantitative analytics will enable us to measure our success and identify opportunities to improve. We want to demonstrate clearly to stakeholders, including our generous donors and program underwriters, how 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. We will upgrade the technical infrastructure to improve our organization's office functions. This will make it easier for us to understand the extent and scope of our community and give us a standardized list of contacts 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.