Event guide: GLAM Boot Camp
The GLAM Boot Camp is a three-day workshop designed to train Wikipedia editors interested in working with the cultural sector. The workshop provides hands-on training for a select group of around 15 Wikipedians who have demonstrated that they are active in the Wikimedia community and are interested in furthering their involvement.
Attendees should be invited based on a set criteria to ensure that they would be able to benefit most from the workshop. The main audience organizers should target is Wikimedians with a strong track record of editing and community standing, but who have not have not been involved much or at all with GLAM-Wiki projects to date. While some of these may be editors with experience in outreach outside of GLAM-Wiki (such as the education program), it is also a good idea to deliberately invite Wikimedians without any such experience at all. This serves the dual purpose of bringing new perspectives to the group as well providing outreach skills to those who can use that type of training most.
Any number of other skill sets or niches on Wikimedia projects are also important to bring into the fold, including (but not limited to) WikiProject organizers/participants, pople who are mainly content writers, photographers or image gurus, bot coders and people with other technical skills, editors of Wikipedia sister projects like Wikimedia Commons and Wikisource, or editors who have a talent for teaching new users. Depending on the scope of your chapter or organizing group, you might also want to invite a diverse geographical distribution of participants, especially targeting Wikimedians from areas without prior GLAM-Wiki projects or even prior meetups, since attendees may be empowered to organize their local Wikimedian communities after the boot camp.
The program is tailored to those who are experienced with Wikimedia but may not exactly be familiar with WMF bureaucracy or the GLAM-Wiki movement. As the attendance is drawn from a pool of Wikipedia editors, it can be safely assumed that participants know what Wikipedia is and how to edit Wikipedia. Training thus revolves around acquainting Wikipedians with the cultural sector, the galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. GLAMs and Wikimedians have aligned interests, but operate differently and have different needs. In the best case scenario, an institution has a general understanding of Wikipedia and may even have some Wikipedia editors on staff. A more likely scenario is that they either lack the technological proficiency or resources to engage with the Wikimedia projects without outside help. GLAM Boot Camp should teach Wikimedians how to properly engage with the cultural sector, to identify mutual goals and requirements.
Other sessions should focus on issues such as copyright, the Wikimedia Foundation grants process, program design and metrics, and the GLAM-Wiki movement that has developed around these institutional collaborations. Look at the sample schedule below for more details.
As a sample, here is the schedule from GLAM Boot Camp in Washington, D.C.
What makes GLAM Boot Camp most effective is being able to cover travel and lodging expenses for attendees. This allows people to attend who might not otherwise be able to. In the case of GLAM Boot Camp in D.C., covering travel costs allowed attendees to come from all throughout the United States and Canada, with attendees traveling from as far as Los Angeles, California and Vancouver, British Columbia. The attendees stayed in the same youth hostel during the conference, which, combined with planned social events, promoted camaraderie among the attendees. Though this requires a larger budget, the outcome will be much more effective. (As a caveat, try your best to book all travel to arrive during the day, when public transportation is an option for traveling from the airport to the accommodations or venue.)
Selecting and bringing your attendees into your city/venue is where most of the work is. Planning the event itself is typical conference planning work. You will need to book a conference room that can seat 15-20 people for three days. As with any Wikimedia event, you will need strong wireless Internet capabilities and enough power outlets for everyone. A projector to display presentations is also very useful. During the Boot Camp in D.C., the hostel provided breakfast and light refreshments and coffee were provided at the venue throughout the day, but no catered lunch was provided. This had a mixed outcome—while it allowed people to spend some time outside the windowless conference room, it was also an inconvenient living expense for the attendees. We recommend either providing catered lunch for future events or providing a per-diem to attendees. Finally, plan at least one dinner or other evening outing at a nearby restaurant. We recommend keeping the various sites—the accommodations, the venue, and evening activities—within walking distance, if possible.
Some additional details: make sure you post enough signs around the venue to make sure your attendees go to the right room. The number of signs you will need will depend on the venue. You should also print up a one-page guide with essential information such as organizers' phone numbers (as well as emergency hotlines), names and addresses of places, a map, and local tips. Only put essential information on this sheet; everything else is on the Internet. It is also a good idea to have name badges printed ahead of time.
GLAM Boot Camp 2013 in Washington, D.C., incurred the following expenses:
- Travel: $5,655.05 for travel for 12 individuals
- Accommodations: $1,406.00 for 11 individuals
- Catering: $1,351.05 for all-day refreshments for three days and Saturday night dinner
- Incidentals: $216.91 for signage, name badges, guide sheets, and certain contingency expenses
- Total: $8,629.01
- 6+ months out: Begin promoting boot camp, solicit applications for attendance. Begin inviting guest speakers
- 5 months to 3 months out: Contract venue. Confirm attendees and book accommodations, travel.
- 2 months to 1 month out: Confirm speakers and determine the total number of people who will be in the room. Draw up catering order based on this.
- 1 month to 2 weeks out: Book reservations at restaurants for group dinners.
- 2 weeks to 2 days out: Send reminder email to attendees. Prepare name badges, venue signage, and guide sheets.
- 2 days to 1 day out: Your attendees will be traveling. Keep your eye out for travel quirks (delays, cancelations, and the like). Draw up a tick-tock for execution based on the program schedule and the schedules provided by the vendors. Make sure everyone involved with execution knows this plan.
- During the conference: At this point, things should be running themselves. Always be on hand, though, in case something goes wrong.