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A Wikipedian-in-Residence at the British Museum


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Presentation by Matthew Cock, Head of Web at the British Museum, at GLAM WIKI conference, British Museum, 26-27 November 2010

Published in: Technology, Education
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A Wikipedian-in-Residence at the British Museum

  1. 1. Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums & Wikimedia Finding the common ground #GLAM-WIKI
  2. 2. @matthewcock #GLAM-WIKI
  3. 3.  Belief that despite some mistrust and prejudice (on both sides) we share some common goals.  Because we need each other.  From the Museum’s p.o.v. because we can’t ignoreWP  In October 2009, the Rosetta Stone article in was viewed 18,358 times. In the same period, the Rosetta Stone article onWikipedia was viewed over five times more frequently (92,565 times) in the English language version alone.
  4. 4.  Similarities  ‘Wikipedia is a community that shares a goal - to build a resource that is made available to all the people of the world for free.’  The British Museum has been free to the public since 1753  Wikipedia is a multi-lingual project and one that has roots in communities across the world.  The British Museum is a ‘museum of the world, for the world.’
  5. 5.  Training and capacity building  Fieldwork, research projects  International exhibitions Africa, China, Middle East
  6. 6.  Talking Objects  The world in our city  Supplementary and community schools
  7. 7. OK, so working with the community of WP editors is just an extension of our community programme…. And together we improve the encyclopaedia for the benefit of the world…. But what are the risks? What could go wrong…?
  8. 8.  Wikipedia has a neutral point of view. We strive for articles that advocate no single point of view. Sometimes this requires representing multiple points of view, presenting each point of view accurately and in context, and not presenting any point of view as "the truth" or "the best view".  All articles must strive for verifiable accuracy: unreferenced material may be removed, so please provide references. Editors' personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong here.That means citing verifiable, authoritative sources…
  9. 9. The difference between: the consensus view (WP) and individual scholarship (BM)
  10. 10. What emerged over time on was: ‘a collection of statements that everyone could agree represented as neutral a depiction of Israel as was likely to emerge’ (Cory Doctorow, Content: Selected Essays onTechnology, Creativity, Copyright and the Future of the Future)
  11. 11. Controversial subjects show up howWikipedia works more clearly – It emerges over time (always a work in progress) It is a consensus It is a compromise
  12. 12. The Museum wants scholarship to inform and influence accepted established knowledge (consensus) If both GLAMs andWP learn about the processes of their respective , we can speed that process and get to balanced, accurate information online, based on and citing up-to- date and thorough scholarship.
  13. 13.  Wikipedian-in-Residence  ‘Backstage Pass’ day  Feature Article Prize  Presentations to departments (Asia, GR, P&D, P&E, PAS)  One-to-one collaborations ▪ Wikipedians seeking curators ▪ Curators seeking Wikipedians  The ‘Hoxne Challenge’
  14. 14.  1 Wikipedians seeking curators  1.2 Cyrus Cylinder  1.3 Cycladic art  1.4 Rosetta Stone  1.5 Daniel Solander  1.6 HarpyTomb  1.7 Royal Gold Cup  1.8 Gebelein predynastic mummies  1.9 Papyrus of Ani  1.10 Lindow Man  1.11 Ormside bowl  1.12 Feathered Helmet  2 Curators seeking Wikipedians  2.1 HolyThorn Reliquary  2.2 Admonitions Scroll  2.3 Isabella Brant (drawing)
  15. 15. Challenge: take theWikipedia article on the Hoxne Hoard to ‘Feature article’ quality in one day.  Sackler Studio, Friday 25 June 2010  Preceded by public gallery talk and showing of items / coins not on display  WiFi, projector, whiteboard, tea/coffee  BM experts - curators (from Prehistory Dept, and Coins Dept,Treasure Dept), archaeologists, conservation experts, scientists etc.  Wikipedians Why Hoxne Hoard?  most of the scholarly resources about it were produced by museum staff.  A lot of staff could contribute  Important objects, with good popular awareness, recent published sources and readily available experts at the BM  Very low quality article onWikipedia , despite being one of the highest individual referral articles to the BM website  Featured in both OurTopTenTreasures and #AHOW
  16. 16.  Article itself  Learning  key differences between communities  Choose object wisely  Give it time and space
  17. 17.  Engage with theWikipedia community  Improve mutual understanding BM:WP  Reach new audiences / increase engagement with the BM collection  Avoid bad press (get good press)  Get some referrals to our site
  18. 18. Press and comment positive
  19. 19. “What is depicted is a model for institutions on how to deal with the internet revolution. It’s clever, it costs them nothing, it gains the institution respect and traction on the internet… there is, in truth, no downside.” Roger Pearse
  20. 20. 08-09 09-10 June 2010 July 2010 Aug 2010 Sept 2010 Oct 2010 Referrals from Wikipedia (all languages) 107,330 110,448 10,566 10,114 9,369 11,081 11,826 of total pageviews 1.64% 1.49% 1.82% 1.72% 1.63% 1.64% 1.50% EnglishWikipedia links 1,799 1,846 1,909 EnglishWikipedia pages 732 740 783
  21. 21.  I asked other museums and cultural orgs  16 UK 10 North American (all Eng-language primarily)  One month (September) across 2008, 2009 and 2010.  Total visits, total referrals fromWikipedia (all languages)  Promised anonymity
  22. 22. Range: 7,000 – 3.3m visits Average:580,000 visits 26 respondents Month of September 2010
  23. 23. Referrals fromWP (all langs) as %age of total visits: Range: 0.07% - 3.33% Aggregate: 0.82% * *skewed by some of the orgs with the largest visit numbers having the lowest number of referrals.
  24. 24. So, what about everyone else?  British Museum were #6 at 1.64%  No correlation between size and referrals  8 out of the top ten were UK-based GLAM: WIKI UK
  25. 25. So, are referrals on the increase?  On aggregate:- down from 0.96% to 0.82%  17 showed increase  8 showed a decrease
  26. 26. Because, in the end, we really were doing it to reach audiences where they hang out. And we know lots of people get their knowledge from Wikipedia. Getting them to our site isn’t the primary aim.
  27. 27. @matthewcock #GLAM-WIKI