Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2010–11

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Program activities

National Archives

WikiXDC

David Ferriero speaking at WikiXDC

In November 2010, we began discussions with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) about potential collaborations and involvement with Wikipedia. An important initial step of any such collaboration was to get Wikimedia volunteers and NARA staff together to meet one another. With Wikipedia's 10th birthday coming up in January 2011, that seemed like a perfect occasion to organize organize an event at the Archives and launch a working relationship with them.

On Saturday, January 22, the National Archives and Records Administration hosted Wikipedians in Washington, D.C. for WikiXDC, a one-day symposium and celebration of Wikipedia's 10th birthday. Approximately 80-90 people attended, including NARA staff, experienced Wikipedians, as well as new editors and Wikipedia readers and fans. (Video)

The morning included a welcome by US Archivist David Ferriero, presentations by NARA staff on records management and various other aspects of what they do, and a behind-the-scenes tour. NARA's Beth Cron gave an overview of their records management process, and as a case study, Martha Murphy discussed NARA's collections on the John F. Kennedy assassination and examined the Wikipedia article on the topic. Kitty Nicholson gave a talk on record conservation. Jill Reilly James discussed work on improving the search functionality for finding records, demonstrated a new search prototype, and talked about digitization efforts. At the time, there were only approximately 153,000 items digitized and available online, out of millions of cubic square feet worth of boxes. They are interested in increasing the priority of digitization to improve public access. NARA also talked about their interest in working with Wikipedia volunteers, and facilitating easier access to NARA records, expressing interest in having a Wikipedian-in-Residence working with them.

A dimly lit hallway with shelves filled with boxes and binders
Inner-depths of the National Archives

The afternoon featured lightning talks by Wikipedians and others, with the first session of the afternoon focusing on GLAM-Wiki topics. Thomas Gideon presented about the FedFlix and International Amateur Scanning League project for digitizing video from the National Archives holdings (see also the WikiProject FedFlix). Ed Summers presented on his Linkypedia tool for tracking outgoing links from Wikipedia to other websites. Harihar Shankar spoke about the Memento plugin for Firefox that helps access Wikipedia and other sites as they were at some date in the past. Sarah Stierch talked about WikiProject Public art and her work on documenting public art around Washington, D.C., interest from the audience to help photograph and map the artwork. Econterms, an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, presented on Statipedia.

A chocolate covered cupcake topped with the Wikipedia logo stenciled on a white chip
Wikipedia chocolate cupcake

The second session of lightning talks focused on Wikipedia, more generally. Kat Walsh looked back at 10 moments in Wikipedia history, and Jyothis talked about the Malayalam Wikipedia and discussed about Indian language versions of Wikipedia. Sage Ross and PJ Tabit presented about the Wikipedia Ambassador Program and the role of Campus Ambassadors, discussing how it has worked so far and how they would like to see ideas translate to GLAM outreach efforts. Katie Filbert gave a brief overview of the collaboration between Wikimedians in DC and the Smithsonian Institution, including work with the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Archives of American Art.

The day wrapped up with celebration of Wikipedia's 10th birthday, cupcakes, followed by a session of Wiki-Trivia led by Kat Walsh and Phoebe Ayers. Socializing continued afterwards at a nearby pub.

During the opening session, James Hare brought up the idea of the Wikimedia DC group bidding for Wikimania 2012, with enough support to go ahead with the bid and moving forward with forming a DC chapter.

WikiProject FedFlix

WikiXDC was not our first involvement at the National Archives. In July 2010, Katie Filbert became involved with the FedFlix project, spearheaded by Carl Malamud of public.resource.org, to make public domain video from the government available online on the Internet Archive and YouTube. The project began in November 2007, with videos from the National Technical Information Service, and other agencies.

The FedFlix project turned its attention to the National Archives motion picture holdings. The International Amateur Scanning League, a group of volunteers in the Washington DC area, visit NARA 2 in College Park, Maryland where they duplicate video which are sent to Carl and uploaded. [1] As of September 2011, 7605 videos have been uploaded to the Internet Archive from the National Archives and other government sources. A number of other Wikipedians have helped with duplicating videos and are working to transfer video to Wikimedia Commons, and WikiProject FedFlix helps coordinate things on English Wikipedia. The video include a series of 482 Longines Chronoscope programs from the early 1950s, featuring interviews with notable politicians from that time. In uploading to Wikimedia Commons, we also provide the opportunity to caption videos using the Universal Subtitles feature and transcribe them on Wikisource.

Wikipedian-in-Residence

"McDonald Lake, Glacier National Park," Montana, by Adams, one of many images donated by NARA.

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) selected Dominic McDevitt-Parks as a 2011 summer intern and to serve as Wikipedian-in-Residence at the agency, starting in late May 2011. In his first week, Dominic made the first first content donation, a collection of high-resolution Ansel Adams photographs, which were only previously available in small versions in the National Archives' catalog. After seeing a request for images by Ansel Adams, he uploaded 220 images to Flickr, and Ryan Kaldari transferred them to Wikimedia Commons.

In late July, the National Archives and Records Administration began the process of contributing over 10,000 high resolution images to Wikimedia Commons. Images include historical portraits of African American figures such as Frederick Douglass, historical documents related to late 19th-century Native America, and other subjects such as World War I, World War II, the American Civil War, civil and human rights, rare documents, and the Presidents of the United States. NARA can use your help to organize these images, learn more about participating here. By end of September 2011, Dominic McDevitt-Parks has uploaded 54,469 National Archives images to Wikimedia Commons. [2]

The Kennedy family on vacation, with the family dogs, August 14, 1963. One of the many photos released to Commons from NARA.

Dominic, Wikipedian-in-Residence at the National Archives and Records Administration, has had his contract extended into the Fall. Taking leave from his studies at Simmons College, Dominic will work towards making NARA's relationship with Wikipedia self-reliant. Dominic's work "laid the groundwork" for the project, which he fears would go dormant upon his departure. Like many GLAM partnerships, the goal is to allow the resident's GLAM to become self-sufficient in their Wiki-proficiency, not having to rely on a resident, and Dominic hopes that can be the end result: "The plan for the next few months is to try to make myself unnecessary, both by making the projects on Wikimedia viable and self-organizing, and by leaving the NARA staff with enough Wikimedia skills to do some things themselves."

Backstage pass at NARA II in College Park

Wikipedians on the tour at NARA.

On Saturday, August 6, the National Archives and Records Administration opened their doors to their College Park, Maryland unit to more than a dozen Wikipedians. The event opened with Kristen Albrittain, of NARA's social media team, welcoming the group and expressing the importance of NARA's partnership with Wikimedia, followed by remarks from Wikipedian-in-Residence Dominic, discussing projects currently taking place involving various Wikimedia projects and NARA. After lunch, Dr. Kenneth Heger, Senior Supervisory Archivist, led Wikipedians on a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility. Heger showed Wikipedians unique holdings such as documents wrapped in red tape and historic documents.

After the tour, NARA staff presented Wikipedians with documents that had been pulled in advance for Wikipedians to explore and scan, including documents that were requested by Wikipedians. Working together, Wikipedians scanned a large group of never before scanned images, all which have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, which you can view here. Images include content from the US Treasury Department, US Navy, Bureau of Ships and the Signal Corps. This event is one of the first of many to be held by NARA. You can read more about the event at the official blog of the National Archives, NARAations.

Smithsonian Archives of American Art

Job Goodman, working on a clay model for panel of a mural for the Works Progress Administration.

Collaborations between Wikimedians and the Smithsonian Institution began in the summer of 2010, with a meetup at the National Museum of the American Indian, followed by a workshop for Smithsonian staff in August 2010. We continued dialogue with the Smithsonian and made closer connections with the Smithsonian Archives of American Art in Fall 2010.

This led to an opportunity for Wikimedian Sarah Stierch to serve as Wikipedian-in-Residence at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art during Summer 2011. She worked to improve coverage and quality of content on Wikipedia pertaining to American art, and engage the staff on contributing to Wikipedia.

For the Smithsonian Archives of American Art collaboration, Sarah Stierch is coordinating uploads to Wikimedia Commons of 285 public domain photographs from the Federal Art Project.

Backstage Pass

On July 29 the Archives of American Art hosted the Smithsonian's first Wikipedia Backstage Pass and Edit-A-Thon. The event hosted 11 Wikipedians from as far as Philadelphia and Newport News, VA, with interests in American art history and archival procedure.

Backstage Pass attendees smile for the camera at the Little Photos Big Lives exhibition

The day opened with a welcome from Archives of American Art Director John Smith, praising the work of Wikipedians and the importance of partnerships between GLAMs and Wikipedia. Jason Stieber, Collections Specialist for the United States, presented on his experiences and role as archives collector. Stieber shared his experiences with working with artists to bring their collections to AAA and touched on intellectual property, what exactly the Archives collections, and shared amazing photographs from his experiences. Following Stieber, was Archivist Jean Fitzgerald, a long time employee of the Archives and a source of endless knowledge of the collections. Fitzgerald taught Wikipedians about the archival process, and provided a rare look at fragile objects within the collection, including the sketchbook of legendary caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. After Fitzgerald's presentation, Archives staff gave Wikipedians a tour of the archives, collections and offices.

After lunch, an Edit-a-Thon took place focusing around the 2013 anniversary of the Armory Show, an art exhibition that changed the face of the art world. The Archives provided reference materials online and offline that allowed Wikipedians to create and expand on the articles of 14 artists. The Edit-a-Thon was followed by a tour of AAA's exhibition Little Pictures Big Lives at the The Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. The day ended with a GLAM-WIKI happy hour at a local BBQ bar and restaurant.

The Edit-a-Thon was documented by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, showcasing the opportunity for Wikipedians to work together with Archives staff, and the importance of the event. Several attendees were interviewed and a short video about the event was produced. Both the article and the video can be viewed on the newsletter's website. The event also received coverage in the Smithsonian's own publication, The Torch. The article can be read here. Photographs from the day can be found on Commons.

District of Columbia Public Library

Library Lab

At the MLK Jr. Library, learning about the Library Lab and OpenStreetMap

The Library Lab project got underway in September at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, the main branch of the District of Columbia Public Library. The idea for the project was conceived by Samuel Klein and Nate Hill, as a beta sprint proposal of the Digital Public Library of America initiative. The Library Lab is a temporary popup space that will be at the MLK Jr. Library through end of December. The project has support from the DCPL Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper and is an opportunity for Wikimedia DC to build stronger ties with the community and city, and engage in outreach to diverse populations in DC.

Throughout September, we worked on recruiting volunteers from beyond the core Wikimedia DC volunteer base, strengthening our connections with the broader DC tech, social media, and free culture/knowledge communities. We are also working closely with the DCPL's Adaptive Services and Teen Program staff.

We have identified potential keystone projects to undertake at the lab over the next months, including digitising historic photographs and collecting oral histories. We will be helping to digitize historic photographs, currently uncatalogued, from the library's special collections and make them available online with good metadata. The library has 15,000 photographs in its Historical Image Collection, dating from ~1880-1940 including many out-of-copyright. The library also holds 1.3 million photographs from the Washington Star newspaper, dating from the 1940s to 1980s, which we may seek to be made available under a Creative Commons CC-BY or other free license. We will also be working with the library's teen programs on collecting oral histories and stories, including people's experiences and thoughts related to Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights, and other experiences in DC more generally. Related activities may include digitizing, caption and transcribing video and audio materials in the Washingtonian special collections, making them available online and accessible to the disabled.

In September, we held a series of events at the Library Lab including an OpenStreetMap workshop, Wikipedia meetup, Hack day, and Copynight DC meetup. In the coming months, proposed events include workshops on topics including Wikisource, Wikipedia editing, copyrights, social media, technology, mapping, and more, Wikipedia edit-a-thons, and hackathons, focused on accessibility (maybe identify MediaWiki, Vector skin bugs), civic / open gov, and other topics. A number of people have also made use of the Lab space on weekdays, working to plan out activities and projects for the space.

GLAM Baltimore

Wikipedians meet with GLAM staff at GLAM Baltimore 2011

Baltimore Heritage and the Walters Art Museum hosted a two-day series of events, on July 22-23, to bring awareness to opportunities in GLAM partnerships with Wikipedia. At the Young Preservationists Happy Hour on July 22, Sarah Stierch spoke about the history of GLAM WIKI to a crowd of enthusiastic architectural preservationists. The following day the Walters Art Museum hosted Wikipedians and GLAM professionals from throughout the region where Stierch, Katie Filbert and Dylan Kinnett, manager of Web and Social Media at the Walters, spoke about opportunities in partnerships. After a successful meeting, plans are in the works for the first Wikipedia Takes Baltimore and a possible content donation by the Walters Art Museum.

GLAMcamp NYC and Liam Wyatt visits DC

Wikimedia DC members Sarah Stierch and Katie Filbert, together with Wikimedia NYC and Wikimedia Foundation Cultural Partnerships Fellow Liam Wyatt, co-organized GLAMcamp NYC, held in May. More than 30 Wikimedians and GLAM staff gathered for GLAMcamp at the New York Public Library, working on documenting and discussing processes and best practices for GLAM-wiki collaborations and outreach, and developing tools to make bulk uploading of images easier. (This Month in GLAM full report)

Wyatt speaking to staff at CHNM

Following GLAMcamp NYC, Liam Wyatt spent a few days in Washington, DC. On May 24, Wyatt, Sarah Stierch and Katie Filbert met with Dan Cohen and staff at the Ray Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, where Wyatt presented on his thesis "The Academic Lineage of Wikipedia," and discussion began on how Wikimedia could partner with the CHNM. That afternoon, Liam Wyatt presented at the National Archives & Records Administration about his residency at the British Museum, last year. David Ferriero, the head archivist, said during his introduction that everyone at NARA was "encouraged and inspired" when Liam wrote that he could "quite confidently say that the potential for collaboration between NARA and the Wikimedia projects are both myriad and hugely valuable – in both directions." A video of his presentation can be seen here. The afternoon's events were followed up with a meet-up featuring representatives from GLAMs and the DC Wikimedian community. On May 25, Wyatt and Stierch spoke with staff from six different GLAMs under the Smithsonian Institution umbrella, sharing their experiences working within GLAMs and what they foresaw for the future between Wikimedia and the Smithsonian.

Wikimania 2012

Wikimania logo

On April 13, the Wikimania 2012 jury announced the selection of Washington DC as location for Wikimania 2012. James Hare is the lead organizer, while Katie Filbert is leading the sponsorships team, Tiffany Smith is the program chair, Bob Platt is venue and catering coordinator, Chad Horohoe the technical lead, and a number of other Wikimedia DC folks are also volunteering to help in various capacities. We are planning to supplement our team with a paid event planner and professional accounting support. As of September 2012, we are working to finalize the venue details, setting up the registration, program, and scholarship systems, and working on a sponsor outreach plan.

Wikimedia Public Policy Initiative and Global Education Program

Wikimedia DC has been supportive of the Wikimedia Public Policy Initiative and Global Education Program, run by the Wikimedia Foundation.. Alex Stinson launched campus outreach at James Madison University and now serves as the regional ambassador for the Greater Chesapeake region. Rob Pongsajapan is the regional ambassador for the District of Columbia and is coordinating the campus ambassador program at Georgetown University.

Administrative

Initial Wiki Society of Washington, DC board at May meeting

Timeline

  • May 6: Wiki Society of Washington, DC incorporated
  • May 7: First official meeting
  • August 24: Wikimedia Chapters Committee recommends approval of Wikimedia DC as an official Wikimedia chapter (resolution)
  • September 12: Wikimedia DC approved as chapter by Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees (resolution)
  • September 17: Online membership available

Board meetings

Date Minutes Notes
May 7, 2011 Minutes [PDF]
  • Adopted bylaws
  • Wikimania committee formed (James Hare, Katie Filbert, Bob Platt, Nicholas Bashour, Kristin Anderson)
May 28, 2011 Minutes [PDF]
  • Established membership dues and application process
  • Established legal committee (Bob Platt, Dan Rosenthal, Kat Walsh, Kevin Chen)
  • Established technical, committee (Katie Filbert, Jeremy Baron, Chad Horohoe)
June 14, 2011 Minutes [PDF]
  • Fundraising committee formed (James Hare, Katie Filbert)
July 12, 2011 Minutes [PDF]
  • Conflict of interest policy and whistleblower policy approved
August 20, 2011 Minutes [PDF]
  • Record retention and document destruction policy approved
  • Election committee appointed (Kirill Lokshin, John Broughton, Dan Rosenthal)
September 10, 2011

Membership

Date New members Total members
June 14, 2011 5
July 12, 2011 3 8
August 20, 2011 9 14
September 10, 2011 6 20
September 30, 2011 15 35

Events

  • January 2: DC 14 at Bertucci's Foggy Bottom
  • January 22: Wiki X DC at the National Archives
  • Febraury 23: DC 15, Wikimania bid planning meeting at Cosi, Metro Center
  • March 1: DC 16 at Capitol City Brewery, with special guest Dutch Wikipedian Kim Bruning
  • April 11: Ignite Smithsonian, Sarah Stierch and Katie Filbert co-presented, talking about GLAM-wiki collaborations and encouraging an audience of museum professionals to cooperate with Wikimedians. (blog post)
  • April 28-29: Semantic MediaWiki Conference in Arlington, Virginia (Katie Filbert attended)
  • May 7: DC 17 at Tenley-Friendship Library, the first official meeting of the Wiki Society of Washington, DC (+ Wikis Take Embassies Part 1 in the morning around Dupont Circle and Embassy Row)
  • May 14: Wikis Take Embassies, Part 2 in the Van Ness area
  • May 24: DC 18 at RFD Washington with Liam Wyatt & Wikipedians-in-Residence
  • June 18: DC Women Who Wiki Workshop, organized by Amy Senger and hosted by JESS3; Katie Filbert assisted at the workshop.
  • June 25: Great American Wiknic! at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima) park in Arlington, Virginia
  • July 22: Young Preservationist Happy Hour at the Midtown Yacht Club pub in Baltimore
  • July 23: GLAM Wiki Partnerships in Baltimore meetup at the Walters Art Museum
  • July 29: Archives of American Art Backstage Pass and meetup at Hill Country BBQ in Penn Quarter
  • August 6: NARA 2 Backstage Pass in College Park, Maryland
  • September 10: DC 22 at Library Lab, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown DC

Press coverage

Credits

Some portions of the report are adapted from Wikipedia Signpost and This Month in GLAM newsletter, and more details can be found in those reports:

  • USA report, This Month in GLAM, August 2011 (Sarah Stierch and Lori Phillips)
  • News in brief, This Month in GLAM, May 2011 (Rock drum, Thelmadatter, Sarah Stierch and Jean-Frédéric)
  • GLAMcamp, This Month in GLAM, May 2011 (Rock drum, HaeB and Sarah Stierch)
  • News in brief, This Month in GLAM, April 2011 (Sarah Stierch, Rock drum and HaeB)
  • News and notes, Wikipedia Signpost, May 30, 2011 (Tony1, HaeB, and Jean-Frédéric)
  • News and notes, Wikipedia Signpost, May 23, 2011 (Rock drum, Tom Morris, HaeB and Tony1)
  • News and notes, Wikipedia Signpost, April 25, 2011 (Saqib Qayyum and HaeB)
  • WikiXDC, Wikipedia Signpost, January 24, 2011 (Katie Filbert)