Content Partnerships Hub

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Content Partnerships Hub
Improving the Wikimedia movement’s work with content partners

Improving the Wikimedia movement’s work with content partners

– A service for the Wikimedia movement to build a support network among our communities, cooperate to increase knowledge, and remove barriers to bring large amounts of high value content online

The Wikimedia Thematic Hub for Content Partnerships (Content Partnerships Hub for short) is an initiative from Wikimedia Sverige (WMSE) based on the Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy Recommendations. In close collaboration with volunteers and Wikimedia organizations from across the world, we want to experiment on how the first thematic hub in the Wikimedia movement could be established, and what the tasks could include.

The Strategic Direction highlights the opportunity for the Wikimedia movement to provide a service for partners. Through this initiative some of the missing puzzle pieces for that service to be attractive for as many content partners across the world as possible – and for the Wikimedia movement to be able to work as effectively as possible. Communities from across the world are needed to lead these partnerships locally and we must invest to lower the threshold to form content partnerships and improve equity.

The hub initiative is intended to provide a service for the Wikimedia movement already during the experimentation phase. It will be a place for support and coordination, aiming to develop important content partnerships across the world. This portal outlines what the hub can offer right now, as well as the experimentation we can do together in the Wikimedia movement, both in the coming year and in the future.

So many opportunities if we work together[edit]

Multiple actors in society produce free knowledge aimed to be shared with the world. For many years already, Wikimedia communities across the world have partnered with like-minded organizations who wish to share their free knowledge. The Wikimedia movement has for years provided a unique infrastructure around knowledge dissemination and public engagement.

A lot of great progress has been made, but historically this work has been done by organizations and individuals behaving like separated islands and not as a unified system or network. To change this we need to establish an essential infrastructure for global heritage and content partnerships.

To date, the Wikimedia movement has only been able to support partners ad hoc, with vastly different abilities and in a non-equitable way. The Wikimedia movement lacks both a solid international support network and an accessible technical partnership infrastructure to make access to content partnerships truly equitable. This limits our ability on a global scale to form strategic partnerships and coalitions with aligned organizations.

The Hub will provide a number of services to the global Wikimedia movement and work to increase coordination and collaboration. This will help Wikimedia affiliates, and the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), to work more efficiently to bring high value content from partner organizations to the Wikimedia platforms, for example from Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM), civil society organizations, authorities, research institutions, or UN agencies, just to mention a few.

It will empower and connect affiliates and volunteer communities and support a thriving movement across the world. In the long term, the goal is to develop and maintain key infrastructure needed for content partners to engage readily and effectively with the Wikimedia movement.

Hub services[edit]

Based on: the available capacity in the Thematic hub team; the available funding Wikimedia Sverige have already secured (or are hoping to secure in the near-term) for this coordination and experimentation; and on our long term strategic interests, we have selected a broad set of areas where we will start experimentation. This is built on the expectation of rapid testing, evaluation and adaptation. We are investing heavily in this work with multiple full-time equivalent staff contributing.

To work on a broad set of areas is very much intentional as a part of the hub initiative is aimed at getting the discussions initiated about the roles and limitations of a thematic hub, and because we think that the different areas are strongly connected to each other. The purpose is that this experimentation will provide a framework for the discussions with stakeholders to identify what a thematic hub could and should work on in the future. This is still to be decided by the Global Council.

The focus right now is working on tasks where concrete results can be delivered within a year. However, in no way the issues identified within any of the broad areas will be solved – or necessarily that they will be part of the hub in the future. As the movement is highly complex and constantly changing, any effort such as this will continuously be evolving based on the needs that currently exist. All work will follow a set of key principles and will contribute to the goals of the Thematic hub.

Please click the links below to find out more and contact the Thematic hub team.

Understanding your needs
We know that Wikimedia Sverige alone does not know everything. We want to learn more and adjust the work of the Thematic hub continuously based on the needs of the entire movement. We will talk to volunteers and staff that are working with content partnerships across the world. We want to learn more about what you are doing, what you would like to do more of, how you can contribute and what is limiting your work currently. We want to do interesting things together!
Helpdesk
A key part of the hub's service is to form the Helpdesk. It provides support and guidance for Wikimedia organizations and volunteers, especially for emerging Wikimedia communities, that have or want to form a content partnership. The hub team will do our best to provide hands-on support to achieve your goals, and then share that knowledge with others in our community. Is it batch uploading data or images from a partner, or finding or developing information material? Or forming templates for contracts between partners? Often there will be someone else in the movement that knows more about the issue than the core team does, and we will try to connect you with that person or organization. This is the first pilot version of the helpdesk, please get in touch!
Work with international organizations
Wikimedia affiliates are already working with international organizations in numerous ways. The aim of the hub is to find ways for how these efforts could be scaled faster through global coordination and cooperation. To ensure inclusion and diversity, this will be a joint work among Wikimedia organizations to develop high value content partnerships with intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), for the benefit of the wider movement. These organizations have enormous amounts of high impact content and expertise – that has so far been underutilized in the Wikimedia movement. Focus will lie on experimenting to see if these partnerships can be of value for international campaigns such as WikiGap and the Wiki Loves contests. Through different events, campaigns and other actions, volunteers will be engaged in working with the material.
Capacity building
Past experiences will be used to develop the content needed for  capacity building. What does your organization want to achieve, and what are you struggling with? Help to map existing knowledge, as well as creating new material we can all use in the future. Knowledge sharing, documentation and exchange activities are key components. The needs from communities that are new and still forming will be prioritized. An inter-affiliate exchange program will be created, where volunteers and staff travel between countries and contexts to learn, share knowledge and build a stronger movement.
Software development
Through better tools we can work more efficiently with content partners. The hub will support existing tools with developer time to solve long term problems that have been identified and help with maintenance. A year from now a strategy for how small core tools can get support to work better will hopefully be in place and a selected few small tools have been improved. Can a small tool rescue service be developed? Share what tools you are using in your content partnerships, and what you think should be prioritized by the hub. Are you a developer and could need an extra pair of hands? Come join!
Strategic data uploads
International coordination is needed to solve gaps in coverage that are of strategic importance, and the Thematic hub is aimed at going into this coordinating role. The community needs to come together to identify, release and finally upload this data to the Wikimedia platforms. There are many interesting initiatives in the Wikimedia movement on how to compile data around content partners, and the hub aims at lowering the thresholds to implementing them – by developing collaborations in this area and working as a convenor of these great ideas. For example: to build a global database of built cultural heritage that can be used for Wiki Loves Monuments, Wikipedia etc. and to build a database about GLAM institutions across the world. This work is on top of the uploads the hub will conducts as part of the Helpdesk or when working with international partners. The Thematic hub team will also work on Structured Data on Commons to make the content more accessible and findable and to develop case studies and methods to lower the threshold.
Missing services
Even though the Thematic hub will experiment with a large amount of areas, there are still many other services that are missing. This could include support with early digitization work, AI/machine learning, providing grants, support with fundraising activities for content partnerships, conference organization, research, just to mention a few. A strong case could be made for each of them. The reason the hub is not aimed at experimenting with them now is due to limitations in the existing team. Joint work will be needed within the movement to develop the case for these missing services and to figure out what part of the work should be done on the global level through a hub, and what should be done locally.

How the hub will be organized[edit]

Wikimedia Sverige has gathered experience from hundreds of projects[1] and partnerships over the years, including with intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations. The team has developed and contributed to small software tools and community wishes as well as developing MediaWiki extensions. For the last three years, the organization has prepared for an international expansion of its work.

The team has worked to build capacity around batch uploads and batch editing – an area where we hope to support the Wikimedia community. This experience has created an urge in Wikimedia Sverige to increase its activities even more, and take the next step in global cooperation across the movement through the creation of the hub!

Experimental pilot projects
In the second part of 2021 the experimental pilot projects will start. A number of different ideas for what the Thematic hub could be focusing on will be launched, evaluated and iterated on. The existing team members at Wikimedia Sverige will engage in this work, seeking co-operation across the Wikimedia movement. Later on, if funding allows, further staff members will be hired from across the globe to keep on strengthening free knowledge in the world.
Advisory committee
It is really important that all work is based on collaboration with volunteers and staff from across the movement. One of the ways of ensuring that many voices can be heard is by forming a diverse committee of experts from affiliates and content partners from across the world: the Advisory Committee. The Committee will provide insights and guidance for what should be the priorities of the Thematic hub – eventually to be aligned with the guidance from both the Technology Council and the Global Council, when they are fully established. A special focus will be on ensuring that the Committee has a strong focus on the needs in the Global South and the needs of emerging communities and also to engage the other pathfinding hub initiatives in the movement.

Notes[edit]

  1. Some of the larger includes WikiGap, Connected Open Heritage, FindingGLAMs, hosting Wikimania 2019 etc.