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The Wikipedia Library needs assessment 2021

Date: 2021-10-25

Sam Walton, WMF, The Wikipedia Library
Tore Danielsson, WMSE
Axel Pettersson, WMSE

How do you work with content partnerships today?

Wikipedia Library: GEtting editors access to paywalled sites and journals. The GLAM part has been separated to the WMF GLAM team. Have around 70 partnerships now. Most come by request from the community. Everything from huge databases to small narrow databases. Editors ask for access and WL ask publishers for free accounts to be available to cite material, but not provide content for upload. Resources are available through the Wikipedia library page.

What is your normal work process in collaborations with partners?

Most English sources so far, but looking into changing that and to make it more multilingual and diverse around the world. Asking editors to prioritize by which sources are most used and requested.

Are you having a work plan for new partners and collaborations?

Part of the process is to explain to publishers both the part that editors will not download all content and release into the wild, but also the benefit to publishers in getting more links from Wikipedia and more traffic to their portals and published material. Search has been added to the Wikipedia library tool to make it easier for editors to find content.

What are your desired content partnerships in the future?

More non-English partnerships, and more from outside North America and Europe. Looking for African journals and books, but a lot of material is not digitized and if it is it’s not easy to find on databases and websites. Setting up the structure is a bit outside the Wikipedia Library scope.

What are your needs for a successful work with partners?

Good data! The need to explain the benefit for the publishers with stats and examples. Not pushing new partnerships to editors, but rather adding to the library and letting editors find it and use it. Requests from users and user groups help in asking publishers and knowing that the interest is more than only a weekend project. Topic specific databases can have more requests and use than more general topic databases.

What does the best support look like for a successful partnership?

Having 70+ partnerships makes it hard to keep track of all contacts and to make sure they each get the feedback and impact data needed to keep the publishers happy. Support from UG and Chapters who knows what the communities are requesting and wishing for helps in getting the right access and support.

Other questions or suggestions for people who would be interested in discussing these issues?

The WL is kind of a backwards content partnership project as the publishers don’t really want to share their content (for free) with the world in the same way a museum or archive wants to do.