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Wikipedia and Archives: The Why and How of Using Wikipedia for Archival Access
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Wikipedia and Archives: The Why and How of Using Wikipedia for Archival Access


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Presented at "Access Techniques and Systems for Archives" LIS course (Kenneth Heger) at University of Maryland iSchool 4/16/2014. …

Presented at "Access Techniques and Systems for Archives" LIS course (Kenneth Heger) at University of Maryland iSchool 4/16/2014.

This presentation covers an introduction to the principles and practices of using Wikipedia for archives and other cultural institutions. I focus especially on profession's conception of access and Wikipedia's place within an archival framework, with some discussion of the history of archives, NARA, and the GLAM-Wiki movement.

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  • 1. Wikipedia and Archives Dominic McDevitt-Parks Digital Content Specialist / Wikipedian in Residence National Archives and Records Administration @Dominic_MP
  • 2. "The end of all archival effort is to preserve valuable records and make them available for use. Everything an archivist does is concentrated on this dual objective." T.R. Schellenberg, 1956 Access
  • 3. “Recognizing that use is the fundamental reason for keeping archives, archivists actively promote open and equitable access to the records in their care within the context of their institutions’ missions and their intended user groups. They minimize restrictions and maximize ease of access. They facilitate the continuing accessibility and intelligibility of archival materials in all formats. Archivists formulate and disseminate institutional access policies along with strategies that encourage responsible use. They work with donors and originating agencies to ensure that any restrictions are appropriate, well-documented, and equitably enforced. When repositories require restrictions to protect confidential and proprietary information, such restrictions should be implemented in an impartial manner. In all questions of access, archivists seek practical solutions that balance competing principles and interests.” SAA Code of Ethics, 2012 Access
  • 4. Strategic Goal: Make Access Happen Make Access Happen establishes “public access” as NARA’s core purpose, adds strategic context to our daily operations, and inspires our workforce to develop new, innovative approaches to delivering government information to the public. Make Access Happen signals a significant shift in strategy and purpose: NARA will reach beyond its traditional role of making records available for others to discover, and will make access happen by providing flexible tools and accessible resources that promote public participation. NARA will be a recognized expert and leader in delivering information to customers in ways that are the most useful and meaningful to them. National Archives Strategic Plan, Feb. 2014 National Archives & Access
  • 5. How do we think access happens?
  • 6. How do we think access happens?
  • 7. How do we think access happens?
  • 8. How does access happen? Wikipedia 1,274,000,000 Partners 238,000,000 (incl. OPAC) 96,000,000 Facebook 39,500,000 Flickr 11,000,000 Total views (or FB reach) across NARA channels (2013)
  • 9. Is it reliable?
  • 10. What is it? ● Non-profit ● No editorial staff ● Family of projects ● Free forever
  • 11. New model “Our work with Wikipedia is changing the way we think” David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States National Archives Open Government Plan, 2012
  • 12. What are we? NARA drives openness, cultivates public participation, and strengthens our nation’s democracy through public access to high- value government records. The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. The Foundation will make and keep useful information from its projects available on the Internet free of charge, in perpetuity. Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment. We will be known for cutting-edge delivery of extraordinary volumes of high-value government information and unprecedented engagement to bring greater meaning to the American experience. MISSION VISION
  • 13. Why? ● Wikipedia is an ally ● Wikipedia is a volunteer workforce ● Wikipedia is the ultimate platform Galleries Libraries Archives Museums
  • 14. Wikipedian in Residence Access Engagement Change
  • 15. The mission is to show how this platform can be key to connecting journalists and readers, making the process more engaging and conversational. The approach will be the same that I’ve taken in creating the Newsweek Tumblr: That the most important thing for any publisher is to first be a full, participating member of the community, and that the main focus should be on meeting the needs of that community, not self-promotion. Mark Coatney
  • 16. Things to keep in mind ● The main goal is to share the work of the archives on Wikipedia by spotlighting areas of expertise—like holdings and research areas—not by focusing on polishing our image. ● Archives staff who participate on Wikipedia are on equal footing with all other editors, and must use individual, rather than shared or departmental, accounts. ● Contributors must accept that their edits may be changed or contested. This may even be the start of a positive dialogue.
  • 17. Make a “To Do” list ● Allows Wikipedians to work independently, from home on articles we have identified. ● Set collections- or exhibit-oriented priorities for work by Wikipedia community. ● Know who is working on your relevant Wikipedia articles—and get in touch!
  • 18. Make a “To Do” list
  • 19. Make a “To Do” list
  • 20. Make a “To Do” list ● You should assess Wikipedia’s holes in coverage or deficiencies in quality related to your unit’s subject area. You may want to focus on high-priority collections or exhibit topics. ● Focus on discrete, digestible topics—people, objects, sites, events. ● Articles are on artifact or artist, not the museum collection or exhibit itself.
  • 21. Add citations to articles
  • 22. Add citations to articles ● Improve the quality of the Wikipedia article about a topic while increasing the visibility of resources. ● Can be done by staff, following Wikipedia norms on avoiding conflict of interest. ● Adding informational content is most useful.
  • 23. Host an editathon or scanathon ● Spotlight a collection or exhibit theme for improvement on Wikipedia. ● Build bridges with local Wikipedians passionate about your subject. ● Training opportunity for staff. ● Gain visibility on web and within Wikipedia editing community.
  • 24. Host an editathon or scanathon
  • 25. Host an editathon or scanathon
  • 26. Host an editathon or scanathon
  • 27. Host an editathon or scanathon
  • 28.
  • 29. Host a Wikipedian volunteer ● We want to sustain involvement from passionate Wikipedians beyond one-off events. ● You can work with Wikipedians online or on-site. ● Example: Archivist interested in working with a Wikipedian on an article related to upcoming exhibit
  • 30. Share digital assets View live:
  • 31. Next steps: Linked open data ● Wikidata is a free knowledge base that can be read and edited by humans and machines alike. ● Centralizes access to and management of structured data, such as interwiki references and statistical information. ● Contains data in every language. ● Supported by the MediaWiki software.
  • 32. Wikipedia as content hub Integrating NARA assets with Wikipedia generates access. Wikipedia is the largest platform, by far, for NARA’s records and data. NARA’s participation makes Wikipedia better for information consumers, improving informational content and quality of the end product
  • 33. Wikipedia as content hub
  • 34. Wikipedia as context hub Wikipedia’s content is also a data set, relying on an ecosystem of data sources to create a rich encyclopedia.
  • 35. First steps Adding NARA authority file identifiers to Wikidata. Hosting hackathons in Innovation Hub Begin with machine tags in OPAC.
  • 36. Other examples
  • 37. Other examples
  • 38. Other examples
  • 39. New paradigms Crowdsourcing / Community-sourcing Citizen Archivists Open Government Open Access / Data Open GLAM Open Authority
  • 40. New paradigms Where do we go next?