WikiConference North America is an annual conference that brings together Wikimedians from all throughout North America and beyond. The conference roots back to WikiConference USA, which was hosted in New York City and Washington D.C. in 2014 and 2015, respectively. In 2016, the conference rebranded to WikiConference North America to expand its geographic reach, and was held at San Diego's Central Public Library with a pre-conference day at Balboa Park. Later in 2016, the WikiConference North America User Group was created to better centralize organization efforts. WikiConference North America 2017 was held in Montreal as a pre-conference to Wikimania. This brings us to WikiConference North America 2018 in Columbus, Ohio, hosted at the Ohio State University, with pre-conference activities anchored at the Columbus Metropolitan Library and additional activities happening at other cultural institutions throughout the city.
Columbus provided a great opportunity for WikiConference North America. This was the first iteration of the conference in the Midwestern United States, providing an opportunity for new attendees and partnerships in the region. Columbus, and the Ohio State University in particular, serves as the base for the Ohio Wikimedians User Group and Wikipedia Connection student group. Columbus is the 14th-most populous city in the United States, and has a diverse economy based on education, banking, healthcare, government, aviation, food, energy, technology, and more. The Columbus Metropolitan Library has over 20 branches with 1.4 million volumes that serve over 800,000 residents. The Ohio State University is a leading research university, with its own expansive library of over 5.8 million volumes and numerous special collections. All these factors combined provided a unique opportunity to bring the North American Wikimedia community together in a library- and art-heavy environment to nurture learning, collaboration, partnership development, and strategic planning.
This report provides an overview of the conference's activities; a list of all sessions; overview of partners and attendees; next steps and learnings; and financial documentation.
Day one of the pre-conference was our "tech day," which featured a hackathon, an Introduction to Wikidata from Andrew Lih, various tool demos (including coverage of Tabernacle, Wiki Loves Monuments maps, Wikipedia Requests, WikiCite tools, and the Outreach Dashboard), and an Emerging Technologies Edit-a-thon supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to improve coverage of workplace health and safety topics on Wikipedia.
WikiConference North America Culture Crawl
One of the major GLAM events for North America is WikiConference North America's Culture Crawl, which had its origins in 2016 as a pre-conference event with more than a dozen museums at Balboa Park in San Diego, California. The day-long collaboration with cultural institutions consisting of tours and Wikimedia content improvement has become a notable tradition before WikiConference North America.
This year's event in Columbus, Ohio, ahead of the main conference at Ohio State University, was spearheaded by a team led by Maria Rimmel to establish a day of tours and events with the purpose of connecting participants from around the world with cultural institutions in Columbus. Hosted at the Columbus Metropolitan Library main branch, organizers planned an all day edit-a-thon, an Intro to Wikipedia for Librarians, Wikidata training, and an upload-a-thon to upload public domain images from the library.
From that location in the heart of downtown Columbus, more than 80 participants fanned out to our various partners for scheduled tours, photography, and editing activities:
- Ohio Statehouse
- State Library of Ohio
- James Thurber House
- Orton Geological Museum
- Billy Ireland Cartoon Library
The main meetup coordination page can be found at en:Wikipedia:Meetup/Columbus/WCNA_Columbus_Edit-a-thon_2018
Columbus Metropolitan Library tour
Ohio State Library tour
Ohio State Library tour
Topiary Park in Columbus, a replica of a famous Seurat painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
One of the images donated to Commons by the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum
- Creation of a new Wikidata item, article and photo collection about the Topiary Park, a replica of the famous George Seurat painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte using shrubbery. The park claims it is the only horticultural work of its kind that replicates a painting in real life.
- The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum treated visitors to a backstage tour of their collections, showing them rare items like original Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes strips. The museum staff worked closely with editors to provide resources and images for the editathon, where editors improved articles on cartoonists in their collections, including creating a new article on early 20th century Austrian cartoonist Karl Pommerhanz. This was also the start of an ongoing collaboration to use Wikidata to ingest and display biographical data on thousands of artists in their collections.
Wikidata tools for GLAM Culture Crawl
During the edit-a-thon, a number of Wikidata-oriented tools were shown for editing and uploading images to Commons, including:
- TABernacle (link) - This revamped tool from Magnus Manske supports live interactive editing of multiple Wikidata items in a table format. It can load a SPARQL query or a manual list of Q numbers to provide a more coherent way to examine many items at once. For an example of a set to edit all local Columbus, Ohio museums, see this link. Another example, to work with all women cartoonists, can be seen on the coordination page.
- WikiShootMe (link) - This is a map-based tool that works on mobile to show all the Wikidata items around you, identifying the ones that need a photo with a red circle.
- PictureThis (link) - Like WikiShootMe, this is a mobile friendly tool/web page that shows what Wikidata items near you have photos or not. (You can also interactively search Wikidata items by label name to upload to specific Wikidata items.) But even more powerful, you can do "one click" uploading of images to add your photo to Commons while also adding it as the photo to a Wikidata item. It is very fast, as no licensing page or description for the image is needed. This is easily one of the most convenient ways for mobile users to contribute to Wikidata/Wikimedia projects.
One of the things asked of attendees is to take plenty of photos during the Culture Crawl - photos of the city, tours, public domain materials, etc. This year participants have uploaded 190 photos and counting from the Culture Crawl to the Wikimedia Commons. The full set of photos from the day can be found here.
Saturday and Sunday were our main conference days, which primarily consisted of over 70 sessions across 6 different tracks. These sessions were primarily led by members of the Wikimedia community, Wikimedia Foundation staff, and from representatives of various organizations involved in the movement.
- Nicole Ebber, Program Manager, Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy Process
- Mark Graham, Director of the Wayback Machine at Internet Archive
- McKensie Mack, Director of Art + Feminism
Nicole Ebber, Manager, 2030 strategic plan / movement strategy
Mark Graham, Director of the Wayback Machine at Internet Archive
McKensie Mack, Director of Art + Feminism
WikiConference North America 2018 served as a host of several organized topical and regional meet-ups:
- Caribbean and Latin America meetup
- West Coast meetup (RightCowLeftCoast from San Diego Wikimedians UG)
- South East meetup (Ganeshk)
- Ohio meetup (Payravi)
- Tool Developer (and User) Meetup (Hare from WMF)
- Wikimedia Medicine meetup
Other impromptu meet-ups were held by conference attendees during and after the event.
Over 60 formal sessions (presentations, panels, workshops, etc.) were presented by Wikimedia volunteers, Wikimedia Foundation staff, academics and librarians, and more.
We are grateful for their support of the conference and the Wikimedia movement.
Over the course of the entire conference, over 200 individuals attended WikiConference North America 2018. This included 184 people that checked in after pre-registering, and another 20 individuals who registered on-site (including passersby who became interested in the conference on-site).
- Pre-conference Day 1 check-ins (Hackathon, Wikidata, and tech sessions): 76
- Pre-conference Day 2 check-ins (Culture Crawl and edit-a-thons): 71 (147 total)
- Main Conference Day 1 check-ins: 37 (184 total)
As part of registration, attendees had the option of identifying their affiliation. WikiConference North America 2018 hosted folks who identified as part of over a dozen Wikimedia affiliates from around the world, 25 institutions of higher education, and over 15 external organizations and companies.
A big thanks to all the organizers and volunteers who helped make this event happen. A special thanks to Quanetta Batts and Shannon Niemeyer from The Ohio State University Libraries for their support.
Please share a brief update about the status projects, important discussions and/or capacity building that took place at the event.
|Activities during the conference||2 months after the conference||6 months after the conference|
Were any significant issues your community discussed at the conference?
|With over 60 formal sessions, many significant issues about the Wikimedia community were discussed, in the scope of North America and beyond. In no particular order, issues discussed included:
A full list of sessions is viewable above.
|At the conclusion of the conference, partipcants were asked what the plan to do after the conference. Notable responses and common themes included:
|Capacity Development: Please list capacity building sessions or workshops.||The list of sessions aboves gives the most comprehensive overview of all the sessions. Below we have highlighted some notable sessions that involve capacity building:
Libraries and Academia Capacity Building
Events and Organizing
|Ideas coming out of the hackathon:||
In a post-event survey, we seeked feedback from all attendees. One of the questions we asked was "What is the most valuable thing you learned at the conference?" - here is a summary of responses.
Continued Wikimedia activity in Ohio:
|Projects or Working Groups:
What are the most important projects that were started or improved during the conference?
After the conference, we sent out a feedback survey to all attendees to learn about what went well and what could be improved. The following answers are based on the major feedback received from our 38 respondents:
- What worked well at the event?
- The Culture Crawl - folks found it inspiring, enjoyed learning about Columbus history,
- Great sessions that covered a very diverse set of content - something for everyone.
- Opportunities to collaborate.
- Venue (namely Thompson Library)
- Food logistics and quality - thanks to having OSU catering on-site.
- Volunteer efforts
- Registration and check-in smooth and easy.
- Enough breaks and snacks throughout for attendees.
- What did not work so well?
- Better communication of logistics further in advance.
- More assistance in finding affordable lodging (particularly difficult during the conference time due to being a very busy weekend in Columbus).
- Better accommodation of dietary restrictions.
- We had tracks in multiple buildings on campus, which caused logistical confusion and discouraged folks from switching between some tracks.
- Scholarships are always difficult, due to the number of scholarships, varying countries, variations in requests, etc. We can do a better job of getting scholarships out faster and keeping recipients up to date on the status of their reimbursement.
- What would you do differently next time?
- Gather and finalize logistical details earlier and communicate out to attendees through multiple mediums
- Devote more resources to organizing affordable lodging
- Better accommodation of dietary restrictions through surveys, working with the caterer, and/or keeping flexible options on-hand for changes as needed
- Try to centralize space as much as possible
- More efficient scholarship process (shorten turnaround time, allow users to check status, better technical infrastructure)
This section describes the grant's use of funds
- Budget table
Please list all project expenses in a table here, with descriptions. Review the instructions here. These expenses should be listed in the same format as the budget table in your approved submission so that anyone reading this report may be able to easily compare budgeted vs. actual expenses.
|Number||Category||Item description||Unit||Number of units||Actual cost per unit||Actual total||Budgeted total||Currency||Notes|
|1||Venue||Space rental||Days||4||N/A||$0.00||$0.00||USD||Space was donated by the Ohio State University Libraries|
|2||Catering||Lunch||Days * People||4 * 175||Varies||$8,622.38||$16,000.00||USD||No Wikimedia Foundation grant funds were spent on this budget item|
|3||Catering||Coffee throughout day||Days * People||4 * 175||Varies||$1,123.20||$2,500.00||USD|
|4||Travel and Lodging||Partial scholarships||People||51||Varies||$25,536.69||$30,000.00||USD||Partial scholarships to offset costs of travel and accommodation for the conference|
|5||Travel and Lodging||People||10||Varies||$3,708.08||$8,000.00||USD||Pre-event site visit (2), keynote speakers (2), core organizing team (6)|
|6||Attendee materials||Lanyards, nametags, print-outs||People||200||Varies||$324.38||$1,000.00||USD||Lanyards for people to wear during the conference; nametags for the lanyards; print-outs of nametags and fliers with information for participants throughout the event|
|8||Office supplies||Poster stands, printouts, paper, post-its, pens||N/A||1||Varies||$222.07||$200.00||USD||Office materials for running the conference|
- Summary of funding
Total project budget (from your approved grant submission):
Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission):
Total amount spent on this project (this total should be the total calculated from the table above):
Total amount of WMF grant funds spent on this project:
Are there additional sources of revenue that funded any part of this project? List them here.
- External sponsorships from:
- The Ohio State University Libraries
- Root Insurance Co.
- WikiEdu (provided academic scholarships)
- Attendee registration
- External sponsorships from:
- Remaining funds
Are there any grant funds remaining?
Please list the total amount (specify currency) remaining here. (This is the amount you did not use, or the amount you still have after completing your grant.)