Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2013–14

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This report describes the activities of Wikimedia District of Columbia during Fiscal Year 2013–14, covering the period from October 2013 through September 2014.

President's message

During the past year, we challenged ourselves to build an organization that would improve the content of Wikimedia projects and its underlying technology while fostering a community that is enthusiastic and empowered to embark on this mission. We set out to accomplish a set of specific, measurable goals that would increase our reach as a Washington-based organization, and in most respects, we have either achieved or exceeded our initial goals. We carried out several programs not anticipated by our annual plan, such as Wikipedia Summer of Monuments and the Workshop Facilitator Training. Our work during the past year has built our community and our infrastructure, and we are heading into 2014–15 with a strong sense of purpose.
—James Hare, President

Programs

At the beginning of the 2013–14 fiscal year, Wikimedia DC realigned its program structure to reflect the three interconnected factors that make the Wikimedia movement a success: content, technology, and community. As described in Wikimedia DC's annual plan:
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

Over the course of the fiscal year, Wikimedia DC supported a total of 21 edit-a-thons in partnership with 13 separate cultural, academic, and professional institutions, including the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Library of Congress, the University of Delaware, the University of Maryland, George Washington University, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Phillips Collection, the Laurel Historical Society, the D.C. Historical Society, the American Statistical Association, the American Chemical Society, and Frederick County Public Libraries. Several of these edit-a-thons were organized with the assistance of Andrew Lih, professor of journalism at American University and longtime Wikipedia editor, who teaches a graduate-level course on Wikipedia and public knowledge.

Edit-a-Thons by Month Edit-a-Thons by Partner Institution
1
2
3
4
5
Q1
Q2
Q3
Q4
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Q1
Q2
Q3
Q4
  •   Smithsonian Institution
  •   National Museum of Women in the Arts
  •   Laurel Historical Society
  •   D.C. Historical Society
  •   American Statistical Association
  •   Library of Congress
  •   University of Delaware
  •   National Archives
  •   Frederick County Public Libraries
  •   George Washington University
  •   Phillips Collection
  •   American Chemical Society
  •   University of Maryland
Average Edit-a-Thon Attendance by Month
5
10
15
20
25
30
Q1
Q2
Q3
Q4

The edit-a-thons were attended by a total of 137 volunteer participants, who collectively made 1019 edits to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, adding a total of 290,453 bytes of content. Of these, 276 edits, corresponding to 64,599 bytes of content content, were made by newcomers, while 743 edits, corresponding to 225,854 bytes of added content, were made by experienced editors.

Wikimedia DC additionally held one scan-a-thon with the National Archives and Records Administration, resulting in the digitization of 116 records.

In July, Wikimedia DC launched Wikipedia Summer of Monuments, a three-month-long campaign focused on reaching out to cultural and historical organizations in the Southern United States while encouraging volunteers to upload photographs of historic sites throughout the United States. During the campaign, Wikimedia DC staff met with representatives from the Kentucky Historical Society, the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, the Kentucky Heritage Council, and numerous state officials in North Carolina to encourage the release of photographs under an open license and to help facilitate mass uploads of existing collections.

Over the course of the summer, the Wikipedia Summer of Monuments campaign resulted in the upload of over 10,000 photographs taken by volunteer participants.

Technology

Over the course of the fiscal year, Wikimedia DC supported 3 hack-a-thons in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, the Sunlight Foundation, and the National Archives and Records Administration. The two Open Government WikiHack events focused on the topic of open government data, including the use of Wikidata as a bridge between open data repositories and Wikipedia entries, such that in the long term, tools could be developed to automatically update Wikipedia articles. Wikimedia DC invited James Forrester to deliver an instructional lecture on Wikidata during the second Open Government WikiHack at the National Archives.

Projects developed during the hack-a-thons included:

  • A National Archives authority data tool, including the importation of author ID numbers into Wikidata. With the help of a script, participants were able to import NARA ID numbers into Wikidata en masse, allowing for their use in Wikipedia articles alongside other authority controls such as VIAF. The source code for the script is available on GitHub.
  • A Sunlight Foundation API data tool, involving the myriad data repositories made available by the Sunlight Foundation. This data was used for creating entries on Wikidata on sessions of the United States Congress, such as the 112th United States House of Representatives, and helped to improve some Wikipedia articles.
  • A tool for comparing disease descriptions, using data from the National Library of Medicine as a source. The idea was developed on the event's HackPad, but technical limitations impeded further development.

Community

Wikimedia DC partnered with Wikimedia New York City to organize the inaugural WikiConference USA. Approximately 250 people from throughout the United States, as well as a handful of Canadians, participated in the three-day event, which featured four keynote speakers and several panels, presentations, and discussions on all manner of topics affecting the Wikimedia community, including the gender gap, paid editing, on-wiki policy and procedure, and offline outreach.

In August, Wikimedia DC hosted its first Workshop Facilitator Training. The event brought together 12 active Wikimedians from across the United States and taught them personalized techniques for executing projects in their existing communities. Early feedback from the attendees was overwhelmingly positive.

Wikimedia DC also hosted several meetups throughout the year, including WikiSalons during the week and dinner meetups on the weekends.

Public policy

During the 2013–14 fiscal year, Wikimedia DC established a Public Policy Committee to present the unique perspectives and needs of Wikimedians to the various government agencies that make decisions on issues affecting the Wikimedia movement. The committee's first initiative was to participate in a roundtable panel on orphan works convened by the US Copyright Office. Wikimedia DC submitted official written comments on legislative proposals to handle these orphan works, marking the first time the organization has offered official advice to a government agency.

In addition, the Public Policy Committee pursued activities related to fostering good relations between the Wikimedia movement and Congress and its staff. Wikimedia DC volunteers met with House and Senate staffers on Capitol Hill for briefings on subjects of mutual interest, including copyright rules and support for making cultural content freely available online. More recently, Wikimedia DC and the Cato Institute hosted a panel on Wikipedia editing for Congressional staff. The event received significant press coverage in light of recent controversies surrounding Congressional editing, and Wikimedia DC later published a blog post supporting Congressional staff making edits to Wikimedia.

Committee members attended a Supreme Court case on software patents, Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, and wrote most of the English Wikipedia article on the subject.

Organizational development

Membership

At the end of Fiscal Year 2013–14, Wikimedia DC had 72 members, corresponding to a 18% increase from the beginning of the year.

Governance

During Fiscal Year 2013–14, Wikimedia DC continued to develop its governance practices as a key element of its organizational growth strategy. Over the course of the year, Wikimedia DC adopted several new policies, including an Advisory Committee Policy, an Ethics Policy, a Fiscal Control Policy, a Technology Access Policy, a Travel Policy, a Volunteer Policy, and a Whistleblower Policy, as well as amending a number of existing policy in light of the organization's changing circumstances.

In addition, the Wikimedia DC Board created two new standing committees, the Executive Committee and the Safe Space Committee, as well as four additional advisory committees, the Communications Committee, the Content Programs Committee, the Public Policy Committee, and the Technology Programs Committee.

Grantmaking

Wikimedia DC provides small grants to individuals, community groups, and nonprofit organizations to fund activities aligned with our mission to advance general knowledge and to collect, develop, and disseminate educational content under a free license or in the public domain.

In Fiscal Year 2013–14, Wikimedia DC received six grant applications with a total value of $1,753.72 from individuals and organizations across the United States. Based on these applications, five grants (corresponding to 83.3% of the submitted applications) with a total value of $1,403.72 (corresponding to 80.0% of the total amount requested) were approved and funded. The grants provided by Wikimedia DC were used to fund activities and events in Laurel, Maryland; Boston, Massachusetts; Brooklyn, New York; and Portland, Oregon.

Measures of success

As part of its 2013–14 annual plan, Wikimedia DC identified 11 key metrics and goals for its programs. Over the course of the fiscal year, Wikimedia DC met or exceeded its goals for 9 of these metrics.

  Metric Goal Result Notes
Symbol kept vote.svg Number of institutional partners 8 institutions 13 institutions
Symbol kept vote.svg Number of new institutional partners 2 new institutions 6 new institutions New partner institutions this fiscal year included the Library of Congress, the University of Delaware, the Phillips Collection, the American Statistical Association, the American Chemical Society, and Frederick County Public Libraries.
Symbol kept vote.svg Number of Smithsonian events 6 events 6 events Partners included the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Luce Foundation Center, the National Portrait Gallery Library, and the Freer and Sackler Galleries.
Symbol kept vote.svg Total number of edit-a-thon participants 50 volunteer participants 137 volunteer participants
Symbol kept vote.svg Number of articles created or improved 175 articles 214 articles
Symbol delete vote darkened.svg Number of scan-a-thons 2 scan-a-thons 1 scan-a-thon
Symbol kept vote.svg Number of documents digitized at scan-a-thons 50 documents 116 documents
Symbol kept vote.svg Number of hack-a-thons 3 hack-a-thons 3 hack-a-thons
Symbol kept vote.svg Number of technical projects developed at hack-a-thons 2 projects 3 projects Projects developed this fiscal year included a National Archives authority data tool, a Sunlight Foundation API data tool, and a tool for comparing disease descriptions.
Symbol delete vote darkened.svg Number of social events 24 events 15 events
Symbol kept vote.svg Number of flagship events 4 events 4 events Flagship events held this fiscal year included the 2013 Annual Meeting, the 2013 Wiki Loves Monuments reception, the 2014 Great American Wiknic, and the "Wikipedia and YOUR History" presentation.

Benefactors

Wikimedia DC programs are made possible in part by the generous contributions of our members. Member contributions are collected through a tiered sponsor membership program, which allows members to donate additional funds to support Wikimedia DC activities when establishing or renewing their memberships. Wikimedia DC expresses its sincere gratitude towards these sponsor members for their contributions:

Gold Sponsors: James Hare, Kirill Lokshin, Peter Meyer, John Sadowski
Silver Sponsors: Georgina Bath, Vijay Goswami, Christopher Maloney, Elaine Meyer, Diane Shaw, Sarah Stierch
Bronze Sponsors: Christopher Alhambra, Jim Carpenter, Meghan Ferriter, Peter Hess, Stephen Katsurinis, Christopher Licciardi, Scott Miller, Jake Orlowitz, Nicholas Papacostas, John Rogers, Sage Ross, Misty Sweet, Jacqueline Taylor, Joshua Westgard