GLAM-WIKI Recommendations

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This document lists the recommendations from the "GLAM-WIKI: Finding the common ground" conference.
held at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 6-7 August 2009.

A PDF version of these recommendations
can be downloaded here

permanent link to the original revision of these recommendations

At the conference were 170 representatives of the Australian and New Zealand cultural sector (galleries, libraries, archives and museums - GLAMs) in various professional capacities and Wikimedians from all Australian states and the Australian Capital Territory (as well as Wikimedia Germany and the Wikimedia Foundation in San Francisco). Also represented were several peak body organisations, relevant government departments, arts funding organisations and politicians from all major parties.

The recommendations are divided into four sections (Legal, Technological, Education and Business) and are addressed to the GLAM sector, the Wikimedia community and to government. This breakdown represents the themes of the event even though many of the recommendations are multi-faceted or are interdependent.

These recommendations are not binding in any way and, aside from the nominal "most important" item (in bold) at the top of each section, they are not in any particular order. They are simply a way for the two communities to make suggestions to each other. However, they do represent a demonstration of need for these particular points to be addressed. Their purpose is encourage sustainable collaboration between institutions in the cultural sector and the Wikimedia community - so that they may be easier to set up, maintain and be more fruitful.

This document does not go into detail as to the reasoning behind the individual recommendations or the relative merits of the requests. Some are simple ideas with self-evident purposes, some are very difficult requests to fulfill backed by complex arguments, whilst some are downright iconoclastic.

These recommendations are not uncontroversial, but they are meant with good intentions. When reading them, as is customary in the Wikimedia world, "Assume Good Faith".

Attendees at the opening session


Requests to GLAM[edit]

  • Use a "free-culture" Creative Commons license (either CC-by or CC-by-SA) for content on GLAM websites which is owned/controlled by the institution e.g. fact sheets, inventory files, photos of objects, statements of object significance and educational materials.
  • Pro-actively publish the copyright status of specific content in the online collection rather than blanket access statements for the whole collection. Give guidelines for users to make their own copyright assessment.
  • Make the access policy for use of controlled/in-copyright content clear. Explain the purpose of this policy as it relates to the project or institution's mission statement.
  • Remove the policy that requires users to ask permission for use of public domain content.
  • Consider offering a free-license for lower resolution/sized institution-controlled, in-copyright content (retaining full copyright over higher resolution).
  • Remove claim of copyright over scans/photographs of Public Domain content as per the "originality" principle.
  • Where content is already licensed as "free for educational use" use a "free-culture" creative commons license instead.
  • Remove "clickwrap" and contracts which place copyright-like restrictions on public domain content.
  • Where specific access restrictions or donor requests are placed on items (whether in or out of copyright) indicate these on the public record. If the item is out of copyright yet the donor's request was to disallow third-party use consider taking the content offline to avoid future conflict.
  • Educate donors about potential for re-use by third parties as part of the donation process.
  • If usage of an institution's controlled content in Wikimedia projects is contested, engage in open discussion rather than private legal action.
  • Make permission/digitisation request processes digital rather than requiring hard copies.

Requests to Wikimedia[edit]

  • Take pro-active care of the moral rights of content creators as these are not waived even with free-licensing.
  • Take a more nuanced stance when asking for content to be released that has many different underlying rights holders (not all content that is publicly funded is publicly owned e.g. government subsidised film production).
  • Do not publish content regarding indigenous peoples' culture without approval/consultation - indigenous cultural rights stand independent of copyright.
  • If content which was once published under a free Creative Commons license is revoked by the publisher due to force majeure (for example when the GLAM discovers a copyright infringement), delete it on Wikimedia too.
  • Publish donor/acquisition information as an integral part of the attribution statement.
  • Provide advice on strategy for lowering risks/constraints of open licensing for senior management.
  • Develop a toolkit, training package and FAQ for the GLAM sector to guide its use of Creative Commons licensing.

Requests to Government[edit]

  • Change license of government owned (Crown copyright) content to a "free-culture" license. This includes contemporary Public Sector Information and also archival material created by government agencies - much of which was never officially "published" and therefore copyright never expires.
  • Remove statutory licensing fee for use of GLAM sector content in education institutions.
  • Include Fair Use principle in Australian law, not only Fair Dealing.
  • Provide definitive statement on the applicability of Bridgeman v. Corel corp. principles as they apply to Australia i.e. whether "sweat of the brow" is enough to create new copyright or whether "originality" is required (as in the USA).
  • Extend legal deposit legislation to cover more forms of media (especially websites).
  • Extend archival copyright exceptions to allow for format/time-shifting for preservation and to allow for archival copying before deterioration/obsolescence.

Comment here: talk:GLAM-WIKI Recommendations#Law


Requests to GLAM[edit]

  • Publish stable and clean URLs for individual item records in collections, incorporating persistent identifiers.
  • Make metadata accessible and available
  • Provide read/write access to a complete database of metadata, eg bibliographic authority files
  • Do not use popup windows for searching catalogues and do not hide the URL for the catalogue results.
  • Place multimedia content online at a high enough resolution for effective educational use (e.g. 1000pixels along the shorter side @72dpi for photos) which does not need to be archival quality.
  • Place Wikimedia links and other online information such as geotags to object descriptions in exhibitions e.g. with QR codes.

Requests to Wikimedia[edit]

  • Enable easy and automatic notification when content is changed (especially metadata of institution's content) and exporting of that data so it can be imported back to the institution's catalogue.
  • Improve usability of editing. It should be no more technically difficult to contribute than using desktop publishing software.
  • Improve consistency and comprehensive use of metadata. Not just title and year but also where object physically is, catalogue number, acquisition info.
  • Create easy and extensible templates for citing institutional sources and data.
  • Start a community project to improve the consistency of usage and supported formats of metadata.
  • Make metadata machine-readable (provide access via API to a metadata standard such as OWL, Dublin Core)
  • Provide statistics on visits to articles and images (including thumbnails loads) related to cultural institutions, information or images provided by them, or articles about their collections, and work with GLAM institutions on adding this to their existing metrics.
  • Provide institutional services in Wikimedia Commons equivalent to Flickr Commons.
  • Use the stable or permanent URL where provided.
  • Investigate hotlinking content from GLAM institution websites directly into Wikimedia projects to avoid duplicating effort/databases.
  • Provide info on unsuccessful search queries so that need can be established.

Requests to Government[edit]

  • Encourage preferential use of open formats and standards in government and government funded organisations.

Comment here: talk:GLAM-WIKI Recommendations#Tech


Requests to GLAM[edit]

  • Investigate ways of supporting Wikimedians who work on the institution's subject matter in a similar way to the institution's existing real-world volunteer community.
  • Make specific requests for what kind of educational material institution(s) would like to have - commissioning content gives editors motivation and parameters.
  • Encourage visiting students to improve Wikipedia content on topics relevant to the institution after their visit - enable turning their free-time web surfing into an educational interaction.
  • Use Wikipedia content with students to critically evaluate how a topic is, can and should be discussed.
  • Create a Wikiproject about the institution's subject matter and/or invite local Wikimedians to tour the collection in a "backstage pass tour" and collaborate with staff.
  • Create a rotating position of "Wikimedian in residence" (like artist/writer in residence) to allow tertiary students to gain experience in the professional sector and to have their Wikipedia efforts recognised.
  • Publish the research and scholarship of institution's staff on the website in a format that is easy to discover and reference. The more detailed the better.
  • Use Wikimedia to support exhibitions so that visitors (both physical or virtual) can obtain further detailed information and also to improve the experience of those who cannot physically attend.
  • Create Wikimedia user accounts for on-staff experts (or the institution itself) listing their specialities to enable Wikimedia editors to obtain professional advice/feedback when improving relevant topics.
  • Contribute information to Wikipedia in areas of special expertise and knowledge to keep topics alive and researchers engaged and to share rare knowledge.
  • Seek feedback from students, not only teachers, about the sources they have used to complete their school tasks related to exhibition visits which may include online research after the visit itself as well as feedback from them on their usefulness and interest.
  • Include Wikimedia in reporting metrics for outreach/access.

Requests to Wikimedia[edit]

  • Highlight the importance of real-world interaction with cultural heritage, not just online.
  • Affirm the compatibility of interpretive debate within encyclopedic neutrality.
  • Enable content contributions by experts plus their credentials to be noted.
  • Improve visibility of the quality assessments of content.
  • Develop a model to enable external peer-review of content.
  • Create a best-practice for appropriate sharing/publication of indigenous knowledge.
  • Coordinate with curators to put exhibitions online after their closure and/or merge the information into Wikimedia content.
  • Run "Wikimedia Academies" to train and demonstrate editing processes and content policies.
  • Provide outreach and training to regional GLAM institutions.

Requests to Government[edit]

  • Include outreach/access among institutions' measures of performance.
  • Fund GLAM institutions' exhibitions to take account of effort/cost of online archiving after the exhibition closes.

Comment here: talk:GLAM-WIKI Recommendations#Education


Requests to GLAM[edit]

  • Evaluate the relevance to the institution's mission of business models based on enforced scarcity of access.
  • Rethink how value is measured - not only economic but also social, cultural, educational, social inclusion and community.
  • Investigate the potential synergy between providing free-access to information and profitability.
  • Charge a digitisation fee once only - when digitisation is first requested, then publish freely after exclusive period expires.
  • Translate economic value of institutions to social and cultural value and communicate that value to the public.
  • Place damaged high resolution objects online (in a lossless format) to take advantage of the skills/time of Wikimedia restoration community.

Requests to Wikimedia[edit]

  • Demonstrate how partnerships with Wikimedia can be financially beneficial and not exploitative.
  • Demonstrate how leveraging Wikimedia's volunteer community frees staff time for more skilled work rather than making professionals redundant.
  • Assess the possibilities of branding GLAM institutions' content in Wikimedia projects (e.g. in multimedia metadata).
  • Explain business benefits of allowing free use, including commercial use.
  • Show how general statistics reflect what the public want from cultural institutions.
  • Provide for GLAM institutions a "hotline" to skilled assistance with trouble-shooting.
  • Create mechanism for institutions to access the Wikimedia volunteer community's time for uploading and correcting data, especially multimedia.
  • Generate positive media attention around collaboration projects to encourage wider community awareness and support.

Requests to Government[edit]

  • Increase general funding of cultural sector based on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to access and usage.
  • Remove the "efficiency dividend" (annual percentage decrease in funding) from institutions - especially smaller ones.

Comment here: talk:GLAM-WIKI Recommendations#Business

Incompatible recommendations[edit]

  • All publicly funded content in GLAM institutions made freely available - not all publicly funded content is publicly owned.
  • Publication of all content that may be Public Domain/orphan works but for which no original ownership/publication/donation information can be found - an assessment of the likely risks needs to be undertaken before publication, no blanket release can be made for as yet unassessed content.
  • "Non-commercial use" content in Wikipedia - this is contrary to Wikimedia's copyright license (Creative Commons-Attribution-Share-Alike) and mission statement.
  • "Non-derivative" content in Wikipedia e.g. is fixed/uneditable by others - this is contrary copyright license and mission statement.