Criteria to pick countries to focus on (for data improvement)
All the existing data in the WLM database is already within the scope of the project and will be moved to Wikidata. The following criteria are applicable to updating data or adding new countries’ data to Wikidata:
- How threatened is the cultural heritage in the country?
- How structured is the available data (if at all)?
- Is the available data national or limited to a certain region?
- Does the country already have openly licensed data and images compatible with Wikidata (CC0) and Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA etc.)? Are there ongoing discussions about the value of open data and free knowledge?
- Do we have a way to reach the decision makers easily?
- Is there a local free knowledge [/Wikimedia] community working on this?
- Does that local free knowledge [/Wikimedia] community request our assistance in any way?
- Is there a chance that the community will use the data to organize WLM?
- Any other benefits or problems for picking the country?
Below these criteria will be developed in length.
Identifying the countries to focus on based on heritage at risk
Defining the list of countries based on heritage at risk is not a simple task. There is no official index of national registers of immovable cultural heritage worldwide, the most complete index (suggested by ICOMOS) is in fact the Wikipedia article List of heritage registers.
ICOMOS produced a study in 2013 to report cultural heritage at risk worldwide, but did not provide a ranking for countries with most heritage in danger.
There is little international indexing of cultural heritage at risk so that we must use our own system. Hence, we are doing something new that will potentially be difficult, in defining the list of countries to work on we are simply choosing where to start with a worldwide index.
A complete worldwide register of immovable cultural heritage on Wikidata could be a very powerful tool, an equivalent of Protected Planet (protectedplanet.net) for immovable cultural heritage but with more detail. The complete worldwide register could be created using national, regional and local registers with additional benefit of linking to all language Wikipedia articles.
Below is a list of the highest combined number of sites listed on the 2016 and 2014 World Monuments Fund World Monuments Watch list and the UNESCO World Heritage sites in danger list. Additionally where the cultural heritage of a whole country was identified as at risk by World Monuments Fund then the country was added to the list with the note (all) instead of a number.
The countries with the most sites listed on World Monuments Fund (2016, 2014 and 2012 lists) and the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger per continent are:
|Central and South America
||Peru (18), Chile (6), Argentina (6) Mexico (9), Panama (6)
||Nepal (all), India (6), Phillipines (4), Japan (7), China (3)
||Indonesia (4), New Zealand (1)
||Mali (all), Tanzania (5), Egypt (5), South Africa (3), Zimbabwe (2), Morocco
||United States (21)
||Iraq (all), Yemen (3), Afghanistan (2), Jordan (2), Israel (2)
||UK (11), Italy (5), Spain (6), Turkey (4), Romania (4)
* White: No sites on list * Yellow: Low number of sites on list * Orange: Medium Number of sites on list * Red: High number of sites * Blue: Where all cultural heritage has been identified as at risk by World Monuments Fund * Green: Likely to be chosen
The World Monuments Fund has identified all immovable cultural heritage of Nepal, Mali (already on the list of countries chosen) and Iraq at risk and so these were obvious countries to look into further.
The following countries have the most sites on both the World Monuments Fund list World Monuments lists and World Heritage Sites in the Danger and could be used to further prioritise additional countries where data is imported if the countries that have been identified.
Based on this initial prioritization our team continued investigating the practical possibilities to gather data from the countries and make an assessment on the other criterias listed above. This is done through country based report that include the following:
Collating data from each country
The project is focusing on gathering information about the most important immovable cultural heritage in the countries. However, we aim to include existing datasets that are recognized by an official body or organization of some sort. This is because of the demand on verifiability on Wikimedia’s projects.
Creating an index of all the lists is a huge task, e.g in England there are over 60 lists of immovable cultural heritage.
There is no central index of lists either nationally or within each country, this Wikipedia article is the closest thing to a worldwide index of sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_heritage_registers
Using the Wikipedia page as a central repository to compile data sources will allow us to work together easily. The Wikipedia page is used by external organisations including ICOMOS.
Defining which data is useful
Our goal is to gather and include as much data as possible. Of course, defining the data to import to Wikidata will depend on what data Wikidata is able to hold. In some countries the amount of data might be limited, which is something we will deal with on a case-by-case basis. The availability of information is however a main concern when identifying what countries to focus on and how. A specification of what type of data we will request can be found here.
Including links and references to existing datasets, lists and maps will be very helpful for the future so that if Wikidata expands its rules on how granular the data can be there are links to the data that is available.
We hope that through the project we will be able to raise awareness about free licenses and the benefits with open data. However, as we have limited time to achieve the stated goals of the project it is crucial that the datasets and the images are available under suitable licenses so that we can include them in Wikimedia’s projects. If we can figure this out in advance, the availability of data and media files under a suitable license is a strong reason to pick a specific country.
Datasets of immovable cultural heritage
Unpacking the datasets on immovable cultural heritage at a national, regional and local level is proving to be a huge task so may not be complete. Data is held by national, regional and local organisations, both by government bodies and by private organisations e.g charities. Even for a relatively small country like England there are over 60 lists of immovable cultural heritage produced by different organisations.
One approach would be to contact national organisations to discover if there is a list of national, regional and local organisations hold the data needed. Governments may hold lists of regional bodies and regional bodies may hold lists of local bodies. Additonally we can work with local Wikimedians, UNESCO country offices, country delegations and others to collate lists of data sources for the countries defined and record them on the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_heritage_registers. We will initially aim to gather data on the national level as we expect that their data will be of the highest quality. However, we will be happy to also include data on a lower level if the quality and availability is good enough.
We can then approach the organisations to create cooperation and request access to the data where it is not available publicly and where needed ask for permission to change the data license.
Support from other actors
Deciding which countries to focus on is also depending on what actors there are to support the project. This includes local partners, governmental actors, personal networks and the Free knowledge community. When planning the project, the first 6 countries were chosen with this in mind.
A central part is to be able to reach the decision makers and request the data and media files needed to be released under a suitable free license. For this, an existing network is crucial to save time and effort (i.e. knowledge about who to contact, what tone to use, what we need to offer etc.). Cultural Heritage without Borders and UNESCO both have large existing networks that we can utilize in some countries, and hence increase the likeliness that we will pick that country.
If we still are missing data but there is an existing free knowledge group/Wikimedia organization in the country, or in a neighbouring country, we consider that to be a major benefit when picking what country to focus on. Especially if the local community is likely to use the data and other material in their work locally (e.g. to organize Wiki Loves Monuments). However, for us to act there it is crucial that the Wikimedia organization wants our help. We will not act in a country without support from the local Wikimedia organization(s).