GLAM-WIKI: brief report from the conference

Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums & Wikimedia: Finding the common ground

The GLAM-WIKI conference took place in London at the end of November 2010. Material from the event (slides, audio, pictures) is being made available via the event page

The conference brought together people from two communities (and then some): those in the GLAM sector (from museums, libraries, archives, and museums) and those involved with Wikimedia, for example Wikipedia editors and people working for or with the Wikimedia Foundation. The idea was to explore how the two communities can work together, for mutual benefit.

In these times of economic austerity, Galleries, Libraries and Museums have to look for new and imaginative ways to maximise the impact of their collections and knowledge. (…)  working with the Wikimedia websites would offer Galleries, Libraries and Museums a new window on a potential global audience of over 375,000,000 people worldwide. (from

From the programme

Sue Gardner (executive director, Wikimedia Foundation) and Liam Wyatt (Wikipedian in Residence at British Museum) at GLAM-WIKI conference, Nov 2010

Sue Gardner (executive director, Wikimedia Foundation) and Liam Wyatt (Wikipedian in Residence at British Museum)

The conference featured keynote presentations, presentations covering different aspects of GLAM-WIKI work, and two ‘un-conference’ sessions where the audience decided the content. Among the speakers were Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia founder),  Sue Gardner (Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation), Cory Doctorow (science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger),  Dr. Kenneth Crews (Director, Copyright Advisory Office of Columbia University, New York);  Jill Cousins (Director of Europeana),  Tom Morgan (Head of Rights and Reproductions, National Portrait Library); and many more.

Themes that were discussed included examples of how material can be made freely available online and still generate revenue, or even increase the commercial potential, something which may be particularly interesting for institutions looking for new revenue streams. Copy-right issues also featured in many talks, not least in the key-note by Dr. Kenneth Crews (Director, Copyright Advisory Office of Columbia University, New York) and the panel discussion following that.

A number of presentations described collaborative projects of different kinds, such as Partnership with the City of Toulouse (Jean-Frédéric Berthelot and Bastien Guerry, Wikimedia France), Swedish GLAMs and Wikipedia (Kajsa Hartig, Nordiska Museet), Integrating volunteers and Experts – examples from the Portable Antiquities Scheme by Daniel Pett (slides), and Opening up The British Library’s metadata by Neil Wilson (slides).

There were also presentations about Wikipedia and work that is going on within the foundation. More details and links to presentations slides can be found on the conference website

As a result of the ‘un-conference’ section of the programme, a new wiki page has been set up: Potential GLAM collaborations in the UK. It can be used by GLAM and Wikimedia members to identify future GLAM-WIKI collaboration opportunities, including but not exclusively new ‘Wikipedian in Residence’ projects.

Wikipedian in Residence

The GLAM-WIKI event took place at the British Museum, a natural venue after the  ‘Wikipedian in Residence’ project this summer. For the project, the Wikipedia editor Liam Wyatt spent five weeks at the museum, working with their staff and Wikimedia contributors to foster a relationship between the two worlds and explore how the collaboration could benefit them both. The project resulted in the creation and improvement of a number of Wikipedia articles about objects in the British Museum and related topics. A further effect of the project has been to awake interest in similar collaborations elsewhere.

More information about the ‘Wikipedian in residence’ project:

See also Potential GLAM collaborations in the UK wiki page.

Finally: So what IS Wikimedia and does it have anything to do with the online encyclopedia?

The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit charitable organisation that operates a number of ‘wiki’ projects. The most well-known is Wikipedia – the online encyclopedia.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s stated goal is to develop and maintain open content, wiki-based projects and to provide the full contents of those projects to the public free of charge. (from the Wikipedia article)

Image credits: By Akoopal (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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