Continuity & Scalability
We developed scalable projects and solutions in 2019. On the one hand, the continuity helped to build community health and enhance retention. On the other hand, it built trust with GLAM institutions.
Action Day 2212 at the ETH Library in Zurich aimed to improve the quality of Wikipedia articles about 2,212 Swiss municipalities. We used the proven edit-a-thon format to train library staff on working in Wiki projects. They gained valuable skills as they used nearly 1,000 historical photographs to enrich more than 800 Wikipedia articles. The head of the ETH Library Image Archive estimated that, without the event, it would have taken the library approximately three years to achieve the same results.
Wikimedia CH’s activities for the International Museum Day and International Archives Week serve as a good example of offering continuity in programming and scaling up a successful format to meet other community needs. For the second year, Wikimedia CH participated in the International Museum Day. We actively involved two other chapters – Wikimedia Austria and Wikimedia Germany – in an online campaign to improve the presence of museums on Wikipedia. We then applied the same format to the International Archives Week. Working with our ongoing partner, the Association of Swiss Archivists, we ran an online campaign to enhance the presence of Swiss archives on Wikipedia.
For both events, we used online geographical maps to quickly identify the information gaps that needed their attention. These maps were the seed that grew into WMCH Map Service (described in the upcoming digital competence and technology section).
Our work with libraries and archives demonstrates how we diversified our portfolio in 2019. Wikimedia CH has partnered with many cultural institutions in Switzerland, but until 2019, we had been less active in the Italian-speaking area. Likewise, our partnerships had not focused as heavily on the country’s audio heritage. In 2019, we reached out to the Swiss National Sound Archives (also known as the Fonoteca), the federal repository for the preservation of Swiss audio and audiovisual heritage. The archive is located in the city of Lugano, in the Italian-speaking area of Switzerland.
We set the cornerstone of our new partnership with a Wikidata project that focuses on two objectives: (1) cleansing data and uploading metadata and (2) delivering the archive a logic for easy metadata synchronization between Wikidata records and the institution’s digital database. We have already begun scaling up this project for 2020 in collaboration with the Montreux Jazz Archives, which preserves and celebrates over 5,000 concerts from the Montreux Jazz Festival stretching back 50 years.
In addition to the Wikidata project, we supported a GLAM on Tour at the Fonoteca, using the proven, scalable GLAM on Tour format. Our GLAM community didn’t fear language barriers. We had a big group of participants from Germany, Wikipedians from Italy and participants from Switzerland’s German- and French-speaking regions. Most attendees were experienced Wikipedians, including some who rarely participate in our in-person events. For the first time in history, a Swiss GLAM on Tour sold out a month before the registration deadline, even though we allowed more attendees than originally planned.
Along with the GLAM on Tour, we set up the GLAM Statistical Tool so that Fonoteca staff members could see statistics on their media files uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. They appreciated learning how to access and use the tool.
Knowledge as a Service & Skills Development
Recommendation 7 of the Wikimedia Movement’s 2030 strategy says to invest in skills development, and Wikimedia CH did just that in 2019. Our work aligned not only with the recommendation but also with the express wishes of the Swiss GLAM.
In cooperation with the Association of Swiss Archivists and the Swiss National Library in Bern, we organized GLAMwikiCH Day in March. The event answered the question, “What does Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata offer to galleries, libraries, archives and museums?” Among the more than 60 GLAM professionals from Switzerland and neighboring countries who attended, there arose a clear request for more training so that GLAM staff can participate in Wikipedia projects – special emphasis was placed on how Wikidata can support heritage institutions in the landscape of linked open data.
The next day, we supported a Wikidata workshop in Lausanne. In November, Wikidata Zurich Training 2019 offered GLAM experts the chance to improve their Wikidata proficiency. Our training topics extended beyond Wikidata, too. Hosted by university faculty, WikiNeoComensia involved Wikipedians as guest lecturers in seminar series to train future museum personnel to edit Wikipedia and share the results of their research. Wikimedia CH also supported the Museum of Natural History of Neuchâtel in their project to share their fish fossil collection with the world and, more specifically, with scientists who reach out to them for quality pictures of the fossils. A Wiki template was created to ensure accuracy and consistency when sharing the fossils’ detailed scientific metadata, and our chapter helped the museum to make a mass upload of the images along with this metadata.
Digital Competence and Technology
Digital competence and technology is an important pillar for Wikimedia CH. In 2019, we extensively further developed our two software applications – the GLAM Statistical Tool and WMCH Map Service – in response to the needs and requirements of Swiss GLAM partners and the GLAM community.
With the GLAM Statistical Tool, institutions access a set of statistics about their Wikimedia content and monitor their media files uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. For example, the Usage Chart (image #8 below) shows how distinct media files from a given institution are used for different Wikimedia projects and pages. In 2019, we deployed the tool in support of many events, such as GLAM on Tour at the Fonoteca and at the Iron Library. We also developed additional functionalities to make the software a more practical tool for GLAM professionals. The additions include new search features for media files, a statistical drill-down by image category and an algorithm that suggests how unused media files could be added to selected Wikipedia articles. All these new functionalities will be finalized and tested in the first half of 2020. Finally, we performed a stress test of the GLAM Statistical Tool in 2019 to check the feasibility of a broader rollout, with a positive result. The tool is ready to receive significant amounts of data simultaneously from larger GLAM institutions in the world.
The other software that our chapter has released and is further enhancing is WMCH Map Service. Editors and institutions can use its interactive maps to visualize georeferenced institutions or sites and the related digital content that is available on and, importantly, absent from Wikimedia projects. Due to its popularity over the past two years, we worked on enhancements to WMCH Map Service, which will deploy in 2020. Besides a graphical redesign, we envisage improving the response-time performance and offering a way to measure the evolution of the related Wikimedia content over time. The tool is on GitHub for further development and for others to use.
Support Free Knowledge!
Join us in supporting access to free and unbiased knowledge. Besides being an active member in Wikimedia CH, or a contributor to Wikipedia and its sister projects, you can give tax-deductible financial support. Wikimedia CH is an independent nonprofit. Your donations directly support some of the most popular collaboratively-edited reference projects in the world.