Thursday, 27 October 2011

LibCampUK11 Session 4: Wikipedia, Wiki Commons and QRpedia

Andy (@pigsonthewing) mentioned this session during the special collections one when we were discussing how to use the internet to raise the profile of your collections, and it immediately caught my interest.

Unlike some of the other sessions, this one had more of a presentation feel.  Andy started off with an introduction to WikipediaWikimedia Commons and QRpedia and what it could do for your library for those of us that had never heard of it before (which was quite a few of us I think).

He explained the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) outreach project to us, which aims to encourage (and help) cultural institutions to share their resources with the wider public.

The two main points he put across to us were that you can;
  1. Release content to the public with open license via Wikipedia Commons
  2. Have Wikipedia volunteer editors write about particular museums (or libraries) and the objects in their collections
The criteria for Wikipedia articles were;
  1. They had to be notable, ie talked about elsewhere
  2. Those articles should be cited in the Wikipedia article

Wikipedia would then ask its volunteer editors around the world to translate your pages into their own languages.  In doing so you’ve already increased your collections visibility on the internet.  However Wikipedia is a voluntary service, so there is no guarantee that the articles will be translated speedily.  You could use incentives to speed up the process, for example invite people from the user groups you are targeting to come and have a back of house tour.  In addition, you can release images on a Creative Commons license, which can be added to related pages on Wikipedia and link back to your institution.

There are currently more than 270 different language versions of Wikipedia available, and Andy mentioned one that they are keen to expand on more is the Welsh Wikipedia (Wicipedia) which at 27,000 articles is the 59th largest Wikipedia edition (as of April 2010).
Wikimedia Commons – Encourages institutions to upload open license images from their archives.  The benefits to the institution are increased awareness of your collections and raising your worldwide profile.  You can also get Wikipedia editors around the world to help you find information about your items.  For example, the National Archives in the U.S.A. put photos with no metadata on Wikimedia and asked the Wikipedia contributors to tag them.

QRpedia – encodes URL of a Wikipedia article and when the QR code is scanned with a smart phone it returns the article in a mobile friendly format to the phone in the language that the phone uses.  This is particularly useful if you have a lot of tourists visiting your collections, it will save you the cost of translating exhibition panels.  It doesn’t even have to be your own article, it can be a generic one, or an associated one, i.e. next to a Van Gogh painting can be the link to the Van Gogh biography on Wikipedia.  I found this part of the session very interesting, as I immediately saw the benefits it could have where I work.
Scanning QR codes at Derby Museum (QRpedia site)
At the end of the session Andy set us all 'homework', he recommended we find an article on Wikipedia that has errors in that we could correct, or one that was a 'stub' (a short article in need of expansion) and add to it.  Although I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, I'm definitely keen to give it a go.

The Wikipedia entry for the National Museum Wales,
 which is currently a stub article

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