The Wikipedia Library grew from a collection of donations to paywalled sources into a broad open research portal for our community. New partnerships have been formed, new pilot programs started, new connections made with our library experts and likeminded institutions. I have tried to bring people together in a new sense of purpose and community about the importance of facilitating research in an open and collaborative way.
Increased access to sources: 1500 editors signed up for 3700 free accounts, individually worth over $500,000, with usage increases of those references between 400-600%
Deep networking: Built relationships with Credo, HighBeam, Questia, JSTOR, Cochrane, LexisNexis, EBSCO, New York Times, and OCLC
New pilot projects: Started the Wikipedia Visiting Scholar project to empower university-affiliated Wikipedia researchers
Developed community: Created portal connecting 250 newsletter recipients, 30 library members, 3 volunteer coordinators, and 2 part-time contractors
Tech scoped: Spec'd out a reference tool for linking to full-text sources and established a basis for OAuth integration
Broad outreach: Wrote a feature article for Library Journal's The Digital Shift; presenting at the American Library Association annual meeting
The existing partnerships were primarily donations from 5 publishers: Credo, HighBeam, Questia, and JSTOR. The first step was to cleanup those pages, rename them under a standardized format, link them together with a Wikipedia Library navigation header, and get the existing donations up to date and delivered.
New potential partnerships were explored. Most successfully, leading medical publisher Cochrane Collaboration donated an initial round of 100 accounts with room for more should there be demand. This program was added to the promotion, sign-up, and management process. A new partnership was explored and is being considered with the New York Times. And while not a publisher in the traditional sense, we built a very strong connection with OCLC, the world's largest library catalogue and library services provide. Due to management challenges with the account donations, expanding new partnerships took a backseat to building up the infrastructure to handle them.
The Wikipedia Library supports editors to find existing sources that are accessible already, while arranging partnerships which provide access to paywalled sources. Here's how we do this:
Donation of accounts by individual publishers. We approach research databases and simply ask for donation. We have over 4,500 accounts from HighBeam, Questia, Credo, JSTOR, and Cochrane COllaboration. This provides direct access, which would individually cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Let's find ways to scale these partnerships to be more comprehensive and easier to manage.
Wikipedia Visiting Scholars. Suggested by Peter Suber at the Harvard Open Access project, we will approach university libraries or academic units within institutions and invite them to designate select Wikipedia editors as remote, unpaid visiting scholars, research affiliates or fellows with full library access. This builds our relationships with university libraries in lightweight ways. Why shouldn't ever university library in the world have one Wikipedia visiting scholar on staff?
University partnerships. We'll target whole institutions and connect The Wikipedia Library with their library resources directly; for example, "The Wikipedia Library, partnered with MIT." This is a way to scale source access, although it is more challenging technically and legally.
Library catalogue integration. Connecting to the multitude of existing source indexes and databases streamlines the research process for editors. We're exploring a partnership with OCLC, the world's largest library cooperative, to facilitate easier searching for and access to both open and closed access books, journals, and digital collections.
Leverage our Wikipedia researchers. Through the Reference Desk, Resource Exchange, and Wikiproject Libraries, we have an army of talented information specialists. Let's connect with and support those research experts to use their skills for the benefit of the community by piloting a Research desk, Query service or Enquiry workflow. Why shouldn't every library professional spend one hour per week helping Wikipedia editors expand the encyclopedia through better research?
Make open access obvious. Piloting programs that signal when sources are freely accessible, and streamline pathways to collections of open repositories and publications encourages the cycle of open access.
Connect with Libraries: Through programs like Wikipedia Loves Libraries and other GLAM initiatives, let's help instiutions put on events and editathons that connect editors to institutions, their staff, and their collections.
Key to having so many areas of potential activity was having a central organizing hub. The Wikipedia Library page was redesigned as an 'open research hub' with the goals, activities, resources, related projects, available partnerships, communication and news features, and profiles nicely laid out and accessible for people to learn about and get involved. The design was borrowed and adapted from Meta's Individual Engagement Grants portal, thanks to Heather Walls and Siko Bouterse's excellent work there. The portal is the virtual 'superstructure' which presents, promotes, and coordinates all of the activities of the library. A key feature borrowed from IEG and inspired by the Teahouse are the personal profiles where community members can sign up, list their strengths, take on a role, and get involved.
This is the most challenging and most exciting aspect of the project. Our community is so rich with library and reference experts, digital humanities and open access leaders, information science professionals, academics, researchers, and editors. Giving these editors a way to connect with each other in relation to the library's goals is an ongoing process that is just beginning. Also key to building this community was reaching out to thought and action leaders in each of these areas, to introduce them to the Wikipedia Library's role and purpose, get their guidance on best practices and useful approaches, and explore opportunities to pilot programs with them or their institutions.
Created contact list of potential members to the TWL advisory council
Interviewed several open access leaders, and library professionals
Peter Suber, John Willinsky, John Dove, Digital Public Library of America
Expanded contact list of potential advisory members to the TWL advisory council to include signed-on participants of The Wikipedia Library (offline list due to email addresses)
Meetings with leading library Wikipedians:
Digital librarian and Wikipedian The Interior discussing position as lead librarian for TWL.
Medical research and open science expert Lane Rasberry
GLAM leader Liam Wyatt about integrating Wikipedia editors research queries into libraries' workflows
Aubrey McFato, open access digital librarian
Quiddity, TWL page curation and account management/library help
David Goodman about organizing subject guides and New York partnerships
Daniel Mietchen to discuss library open science and open access
Meeting with Amanda French, Research Faculty at the GMU Center for Humanities and New Media about giving a talk at her institution, taking on two Wikipedia visiting scholars, and other ways to network with the library and digital humanities community.
Phone call with Lauren Magnuson to discuss library partnerships, visiting scholars, and related library tech resources and groups.
Meeting with Phoebe Ayers to discuss TWL, pilot programs, and UC Davis colaboration
Meeting with Timothy Thompson, metadata librarian at University of Miami
Gave talk at George Mason University Center for History and New Media, October 22nd 3pm, "The future of libraries and Wikipedia"
Confirmed, GMU CHNM will take on the first ever Wikipedia Visiting Scholar in an affiliate, unpaid, remote research position.
Participate in conference call/working session for new WikiProject Open
In round 1 we set out to hit 6 major impact targets. Here's how we did:
Measure of success
Area for growth
Partners contacted (50-100)
Although we aimed high here and didn't hit the target, we are in talks with 10 of the largest database providers in the world, the majority of the 'major' journals and news sources. We aimed to connect and have meaningful conversations with these potential partners and scale in line with our ability to manage them. (Credo, HighBeam, Questia, Cochrane, Wiley, EBSCO, ProQuest, NYTimes, Lexis Nexis, Birds of the World)
Survey data has given us a clear list of priorities for future parternships which will guide our outreach efforts in the next 6 months.
Number of partnerships formed (5-10)
We added, renewed or expanded 4 partnerships: Highbeam, JSTOR, Cochrane, and Cochrane Spanish
First priority was managing and extending the existing partnerships we had.
We are discussing pilot programs with EBSCO, ProQuest, NYTimes, Lexis Nexis, and Wiley. All of these are being discussed internally with high level executives in the business development departments of the organizations.
Dollar value of donations, (individual replacement costs): aiming for $100,000
We exceeded this number by tens of thousands.
Highbeam renewed 1000 accounts at $199 per year, and Cochrane offered 30-80k worth of donations for both English and Spanish Cochrane library.
All of the ongoing talks combined offer the opportunity to double, triple, or quadruple this number.
Number of editors given access: aiming for 1,000
We exceeded this number by 300
The HighBeam renewal, JSTOR extension, and Cochrane English and Spanish donations gave extended or new access to 1300 editors
Pilot programs with our new potential partners would add several hundred if not a few thousand new positions.
Increases in number of references linked to donated source sites
We saw 400-600% increases from Credo and HighBeam
A major selling point for future partnerships is demonstrated usage and impact from the donated accounts.
We're currenty running metrics on JSTOR, Cochrane, and Questia and will have that data soon. Phase 2 will involve regular metrics reports for all partners every 3-6 months.
Qualitative survey research of TWL participants to determine impact on activity and satisfaction
We conducted a survey sent to over 1,500 editors who had signed up for free accounts. Over 200 editors took the survey, about a 15% response rate
The survey data covered areas of awareness, usage, interest, priorities, expansion opportunities, and qualitative suggestions.
The survey confirms and informs the direction of the library, giving focus and clarity to the priorities of the next 6 months.
To support the targets we aimed for, we carried out a number of foundational activities to help develop The Wikipedia Library as a true hub and nexus for our community's library initiatives:
Dream big: What if Wikipedia was the internet's library?What if the Wikipedia Library was Wikipedia's open research hub? These questions drove a broad brainstorming period to think about the potential scope and impact of this project as a portal, a hub for research, a series of experiments and pilots, a meeting place for research experts, a living and interactive space full of recent updates and areas to get involved, and a portal for communicating our goals to both the Wikipedia community and the broader library and digital humanities world. We created a mission statement: "The Wikipedia Library connects editors with libraries, open access resources, paywalled databases, digital reference tools, and research experts". It is all about connection.
Define goals: A key development was expanding our sights beyond mere donations. Here are the full 5 goals which we aim to achieve: 1) Connect editors with their local library and freely accessible resources; 2) Partner to provide free access to paywalled publications, databases, universities, and libraries: 3)Build relationships among our community of editors, libraries, and librarians; 4) Facilitate research for Wikipedians, helping editors to find and use sources: 4) Promote broader open access in publishing and research.
Chart the activity-space: The first few months of the project were a free-ranging exploration of all of the potential areas for action, new pilots, experiments, and expansion opportunities.
DONATIONS: Free access to reliable sources through online databases
VISITING SCHOLARS: Gaining research affiliate positions for individual editors at university libraries to gain free access to their resources
UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIP: Organization-wide collaboration with a top University
CATALOGUE INTEGRATION: Easy search access to research catalogues and databases from Wikipedia
REFERENCE DESK: Improved assistance on Wikipedia with researching and finding sources
ENQUIRY SERVICE: The ability to send reference questions directly to off-Wikipedia libraries and librarians
FULL-TEXT TOOLS: Scripts that provide links to full text sources next to references on Wikipedia articles
OA SIGNALING: Graphical icons that show if a source is closed access, free to read, or free to read and reuse
LIBRARY OUTREACH: Events, talks, editathons, and other in person activities at libraries
SUBJECT GUIDES: Open-source, collaboratively created ‘finding aids’ for researching article subjects
METADATA REMIXING: Interfaces that allow pulling from structured data to pre-populate article fields and sections
OAUTH: Security integration for logging into third party research databases using your Wikipedia login
Prioritize projects: It was clear from our interactions with editors and from our survey results that the top priority, hands down, is access. Because of that, the central focus of future will work be: #1 donations from databases, and #2 visiting scholars positions which give access to individual editors.
Build network of experts: This project was undertaken by a community organizer and not a librarian. Because of that, it was essential to ground the activities and growth of the library with the guidance of top library experts from the reference community. Our partnership with OCLC was instrumental here. OCLC is the world's largest library cooperative, with the world's largest book catalogue, and with deep technical and organization resources. They have become a full ally in our mission. In addition to OCLC, we talked with leading scholars in open access, digital humanities, and library tech.
Recruit helpers: The project was initially limited by User:Ocaasi's handling of all areas of operations. In round 1, we hired a lead librarian, The Interior, signed up almost 30 TWL members, continued our relationship with bot and database experts User:Madman, and User:Johnuniq, and recruited 3 new account coordinators. This expansion of the circle of coordinators empowers us to take on greater opportunities without the dependency on a single manager. We also added two new account coordinators to handle the management of free research account signups and distribution: User:Nikkimaria and W:EN:User:ChrisGualtieri.
Build a sense of ownership, identity, belonging in the Library space: Our various library initiatives were not centralized or coordinated. A key goal of the first round became creating a sense of shared and reinforcing identity around these projects.
Promote broadly inside Wikipedia: Key to building ownership, identity, and belonging was developing a portal that collected all of our goals in one place, a navigation header that collected all of our related pages and projects, and a rolodex of volunteers that collects our experts, helpers, and aspiring members. We also attended regular GLAMouts and participated in the library, cultural partners, glam, and open access mailing lists.
Develop project pamphlets: For the key areas of potential activity we developed one-page promotional brochures that clearly define the scope of the project and explain the principles and points of mutual benefit. This is especially useful for the donations and visiting scholar positions, as it permits us to rapidly expand our outreach using a best practices list of talking points and rationales. See: WP:WVS and WP:TWL/Partners.
Pilot projects: Round 1 was a series of experiments. We planned and put in place processes to try out a research desk, a reference enquiry service, wikipedia visiting scholars, account coordinators, library co-management, distributed partner outreach, portal profiles, and a newsletter. All of this involved trying new things, seeing what worked, and improving upon our initial efforts.
Develop credibility off-wiki: In addition to promoting the library as a shared research space and portal on Wikipedia, we wanted and felt the need to establish credibility outside of Wikipedia as well. Connecting to library experts is a key goal, both to legitimize our efforts and to bring on board new members with library expertise. Our partnership with OCLC was instrumental here. It yielded direct contacts with dozens of top academic research libraries. We gave a talk to a top digital humanities university (GMU's Roy Rozensweig Center for New Media and History), we were approved to co-present with OCLC at the American Library Association's mid-winter meeting, we joined and participated in the widely used Code4Lib mailing list, and we were accepted to write a feature article for Library Journal and The Digital Shift, two key publications in the library world.
Community stakeholder survey: Almost 200 top editors shared their thoughts on the library's concept, activities, and direction. This provided immense guidance on how we prioritize future development.
Account Coordinator training: For the first time, someone other than Ocaasi delivered HighBeam and Questia's next round of free research account distributions. We have 3 editors trained to manage the account distribution process; having these 3 trained and trusted volunteers in place will permit us to expand well beyond our current number of partnerships without creating a management burden that would interfere with other aspects of library operations.
Create a primarily volunteer team to build infrastructure for sustainability: Pat Earley as lead librarian; Merrilee Proffit as academic outreach coordinator; Cindy Cunningham as library relationships coordinator; Roy Tennant and Bruch Wasburn as technical experts; Madman and Johnuniq as bot and database experts; Nischay Nahata as technical code developer; Max Klein as structured data leader; Peter Suber and John Willinsky as open access scholars; Daniel Mietchen and Aubrey Mcfato as open access coordinators; Amanda French as digital humanities and offline events coordinator; Tim Thompson as metadata developer; Phoebe Ayers as library reference expert; Michael Panzer as library catalogue authority... Building a team is essential to accomplishing our goals; distributing expertise is critical to the project’s growth.
Donations: added Cochrane (100) and Cochrane Spanish (100), renewed HighBeam (1000), extended JSTOR (100), started talks with EBSCO, ProQuest, NYTimes, Lexis-Nexis, Wiley, with plans to call 10-20 more
Visiting scholars pilot: Locked in visitng scholar positions at UC Riverside and GMU… tens more academic libraries interested and attending ALA mid-winter. We're aiming for at least 3 partners in the pilot round--visiting scholars would start around Feb 2014
Community outreach: The Books & Bytes is approaching it's 3rd edition, with 250 recipients and growing
Library portal: 27 members signed up with profiles at WP:TWL. This provides a great base of interest to connect volunteers with ongoing and new pilots, partnerships, and projects. It also gives a face to our initiatives, shows people, and celebrates our reference experts.
ALA midwinter meeting: We're presenting at the world's largest Library Association alongside the world's largest library cooperative, with planned attendance from several of the top librarians at the top universities in the world.
Library Journal/TheDigitalShift article: We're approved to run a feature article in two of the leading library and library tech publications in the world. We will run this online and hopefully in print as well between Dec-Feb.
Partner call blitz: We have 20 top contacts prioritized by editor interest. In January Pat and Jake are hosting an outreach drive, contacting each of the top partners our editors have expressed a desire for.
Books & Bytes #3: The well and widely received newsletter will roll out with its 3rd edition in early January.
New metrics: We will have demonstated impact with Cochrane, Questia, and JSTOR, giving us new numbers to validate the impact of our donation partnerships.
We mass messaged a Qualtrics survey to all of the editors who had signed up for a free account before October 2013. This was 2000 editors, many of them our top content contributors. The survey started on Dec 9 and we analyzed responses through Dec 17. 254 started the survey and 197 completed it. All of the questions were optional.
Editors rated and ranked our 5 goals. Here's what they care about most (on a 1-5 scale, 5 being most important):
Priorities (mean score, 1 to 5)
4.52 - Partner to provide free access to paywalled publications, databases, universities, and libraries
4.14 - Facilitate research for Wikipedians, helping editors to find and use sources
3.64 - Promote broader open access in publishing and research
3.26 - Connect editors with their local library and freely accessible resources
3.10 - Build relationships among our community of editors, libraries, and librarians
Editors rated 13 areas of ongoing and potential activity. The most desired activites are more paywalled source access, by far.
Participation in TWL
Editors shared how involved they had been in TWL activities and project spaces. The greatest number of editors had received accounts and signed up for the newsletter. Notably, several editors who were surveyed hadn't heard of TWL before or visited any of its pages, suggesting that further community promotion is needed. Also, a relatively small number of editors created profiles at the library portal. A potential phase 2 goal would be to make that portal more interactive and give editors more motivation to engage there.
As the wordclouds below suggest, the overwhelming response to TWL was positive, and the clarion call across the board was for more access to more sources. This is somewhat expected since we primarily surveyed editors who had previously signed up for accounts, rather than a broader cross-section of the community. Editors seem laser focused on content creation and are interested in sources to achieve that, then support to accomplish it, then more open access to enable it broadly, and only then connections with libraries and librarians.
This could be taken either way: Our editors clearly want sources, on the one hand. On the other hand, perhaps this identifies a niche role for TWL to expand, since it perhaps zeroes in on an area that since no one else is doing it, we should fill that role. I choose *both*, but sources first.
Overwhelming positive sentiment was about access given, and overwhelming area for improvement was more access.
It is a good way to provide access to hard to find resources that are very useful when writing articles.
It provides essential backup for the lone editor who does not have access to an academic library.
Love my HighBeam account.
My jstor access. It's inavluable!
That they somehow manage to get pay-to-play accounts free for active Wikipedians
We need access to superior online databases, like JSTOR to be able to write high quality articles.
Giving existing Wikipedians access to high-quality reliable sources is a very easy way to improve Wikipedia. Doing more of that is awesome.
Having done the grad school thing (twice!), I'm used to having the resources of a research university library. I still have this, but now need to drive 90 minutes to do my research on campus. Given the (comparatively) modest resources available at enWP versus a 90 minute drive for comprehensive resources, I find that I'd rather make the drive. There will come a point where enWP coverage will be sufficient that the drive is no longer worthwhile and instead I spend those 180 minutes editing. We'll get there; but that point is a ways away.
I'm fortunate to work at an institution that pays for access to a great deal of engineering literature as well as giving me access to the UC library system. If I were to go into private industry, I would lose all of that, even if I was willing to pay a subscription fee (per-article pricing is a non-starter). I'd like enWP to be a position to make access to this material independent of my current employment, and this project is an excellent start to that effort.
I've used the Highbeam access to improve and cite numerous articles and use that access to help other editors improve their articles and check on the notability of different topics. The goal of increasing access to sources that I cannot get through my local library has indeed helped me write better articles and I've started producing Good Article work in part because of the TWL's efforts.
The rise of this project is so critical, especially in the wake of the demise of Google News Archive. I had been able to use Google News Archive search tools to find so many sources that were available online and linkable, which are now impossible to search or find, even though they are somewhere on the Internet. Access to search tools such as those offered here, which provide broader and deeper access to sources, would allow so much more work to be done on Wikipedia.
Improve the number of resource subscriptions available to Wikipedians.
Improve a wider range of database platforms - the more, the better!
Editors valued TWLs potential to improve verifiability for both readers and editors, all of which would give more credence to Wikipedia's reliability. The other side of this coin was a nagging regret that most of the paywalled source access would not be easily or cheaply verifiable to those without accounts. (TWL's position has been Wikipedia's policy: We advocate for open access but we facilitate research in the best available sources, open or closed, in the interest of creating a better encyclopedia as the first priority).
It connects the world of non-free knowledge with the world of free knowledge quite nicely
It's made editing and getting factual data a lot better, and I love that.
I'd also like The Wikipedia Library to become more of a presence at WP:RSN and some of the larger WikiProject RS-boards.
Getting donated accounts is nice, but ultimately, the long term goal needs to be moving toward open publishing models. There is no excuse in this day and age to lock up academic knowledge behind paywalls. A chosen few with access to the resources is far from ideal. Without the widespread ability to verify the claim to a source, paywalled sourcing is almost the same as no citation at all.
I am a Wikipedian with 100+million pageviews. On articles I write, I want my references to be verifiable by others, so it does not help me much whether I can find a source that others can't check. I got a free subscription to Highbeam a while ago, but my Highbeam references are uncheckable by others, so I tend not to use it much.
Great people are prepared to get documents for me without making me jump through any hoops.
Stimulates a scientific Wikipedia
Use of good resources will increase if the Wikipedia culture changes from 'Encyclopedia where anyone can make stuff up" to "Encyclopedia where editors expect themselves and their colleagues to use reliable sources.'
A vocal minority wanted stronger and deeper connections with our partner, community, university, and local libraries and librarians.
Connect with the ALA. Connect with the SAA. Wikipedia increases visibility and can really help libraries and archives.
There are many existing libraries that answer questions by e-mail and phone. Partnering with specific libraries, and posting their information at WikiProject pages, could make answering questions more efficient.
There are research services in many countries that will photocopy or scan material from a network of physical libraries. Either such services should be hired for certain requests or such a system be built from scratch using volunteers.
*I think the outreach to brick&mortar libraries is a good thing...build a bridge to these institutions to show them that Wikipedia, even though it is an open-access project that anyone can edit, is not an enemy to careful & thoughtful research
Most were quite pleased with the community and project facilitation thus far and heartily encouraged further expansion in the direction TWL has been heading. A sense of possibility and eagerness filled many comments, as well as a yearning for a stronger sense of community around the library and our research efforts.
I'm quite impressed by this work!
I have just heard about Wikipedia Library, and REALLY like the direction that is inferred by the survey.
I like that you're trying innovative ideas
I like that TWL has the opportunity to improve our research opportunities, and the fact that other volunteers have taken it upon themselves to manage these opportunities.
TWL builds community, it gives legitimacy to both Wikipedia and research, and it provokes discussion
I like: Its potential...Its existence...That it exists!...That it exists is fairly amazing in itself, that it has opened doors to closed areas for research is another amazing outcome.
The idea is terrific. Once this comes together the quality of our articles should go up noticeably.
What can I say about something that keeps getting better and better?
So far its better than anything I could come up with and its doing a better job than I had imagine...
Thanks for making The Wikipedia Library a reality, guys! I look forward to seeing what it becomes.
This project's work is among the most valuable on Wikipedia! Thanks so much to all who are involved.
Creating a portal for all of our library partnerships has been very useful. We have so many initiatives and experts in our community but I did not feel they previously were coordinated and empowered to work together.
There are 13 very inventive pilot program ideas that could each become meaningful projects. We have real leads for 4 of these projects, interested institutions, library professionals willing to participate, and enormous room for growth.
Community interest has been excellent with lots of people creating TWL profiles and signing up for the newsletter.
Management of existing partnerships has kept pace with demand for new accounts (where available). One major partnership was renewed, one was formed and deployed, and 4 are being pursued with NY Times, LexisNexis, EBSCO, and ProQuest.
I have found an ideal candidate to co-facilitate the library partnerships in Patrick Earley (The Interior). He is a library professional with an excellent reputation on Wikipedia, an administrator, and a willing partner. I believe he can help me bring these many exciting threads to life.
I have reached out to fantastic folks in the library movement: university librarians, technology gurus, open access leaders, and professors.
I have developed an increasing understanding of the field of library and information science through phone call, in person meetings, and current literature on the subject.
I have built a fantastic relationship with OCLC, the leading library cooperative
I managed to use and adapt existing designs to create the portal and profiles (thank you Heather and Siko and Individual Engagement Grants/IdeaLab!), avoiding the need to contract with a graphic designer.
I have taken on enormous tasks, dreamt big, and began to scope these projects into small and achieveable pieces.
I have admitted my ignorance in areas where I do not yet have expertise, and sought counsel from experts in this field and within our community. Progress has been made here, although there's much to continue to learn.
In addition to Pat, I 'hired' three additional coordinators--2 for account management and 1 for reference usage metrics.
We had great feedback from the survey which was delivered to 2000 editors. This information emphasized focus on source access and prioritized which sources are most desired (e.g. JSTOR)
I still a lot of hands-on management in organizing. In order to expand our partnerships, I need to continue to delegate granular maintenance and expansion of pilot programs.
I need to follow through on implementing the pilot programs in the areas I have identified. With Visiting Scholars in particular, it's time to start executing on the connections we've already formed and locked-in.
I have yet to contact many remaining potential partners. This has been partly due to the initial work of community organizing which only abated after appointing 4 co-coordinators. We also began with the major database providers to cover the most important ones first.
We have yet to re-up our donations with Credo and JSTOR. These are supposed to be lasting relationships and I want to move them from one-off pilots into ongoing partnerships.
I have built a program that is gaining sustainability outside of my individual mangement. Me and my set of part-time volunteers and staff need to develop the work we've started while also looking for full-time partners who can take on bigger roles. Pat is a fantastic person but he can only devote 5-10 hours per week. As we grow, we should look for full-time staff who can devote all their focus and energy to the project.
I have yet to integrate the Reference Desk into TWL properly. It is still a quite active but separate program and I have treaded carefully so as not to presume too much. There's more outreach to do there.
I need to continue to beef up my own expertise in open source debates, library management, and digital humanities. With a political science background and teaching experience, Wikipedia editing activity, and outreach efforts to universities and librarians... I still have only an advanced beginners knowledge of this field. It has been sufficient so far, but as I dig deeper with these projects my own knowledge of the field has to keep pace with the program's ambitions.
I have not yet built significant partnerships globally, neither in terms of bringing on non-English Wikipedia editors, nor arranging non-English language partnerships. TWL has been focused on ENWP, although I did arrange a great opportunity with a Spanish language medical library; I also mirrored the TWL portal on Meta, so at least it is not completely localized to English Wikipedia. Nonetheless, TWL is primarily an English language, English Wikipedia project at this point, and it eventually needs to grow outward in reach and language.
I surveyed TWL library coordinator Patrick Earley (User:The Interior) about his role assisting in the organization of the library.
What about TWL has been working really well for you?
Clear tasks - You've been very good at giving clear objectives, as well as discussing why the objectives are important. Excellent communication - You've been very good at keeping me informed of the background of various initiatives and replied to my questions promptly. You are also a great at positive reinforcement - very important for people working apart from each other. Work sessions - working remotely can be difficult, spending time working together helps with focus and motivation.
What are you most excited about doing next?
Moving TWL into a wider role for the editing community. Just as the Teahouse has become a go-to place for beginner's questions, TWL should be the go to place for editors starting out researching a new topic. This will be realized by bringing in more Wikipedian library and research professionals, curating useful resource guides or pathfinders, and expanding our collection of free research accounts with large database providers. I'm very excited about getting the two "majors" I've contacted up and running, as well as starting a resource guide project.
How could TWL engage and employ you to even greater impact and effect?
This is difficult. My time constraints keep me back, and it is hard to figure out a solution there. I think, as I mention below, a more structured hierarchy of tasks, and more team members, would allow me and other TWL members to focus on singular objectives, and really go deep on them. For me at present, my brain is trying to work with big concepts relating to three organisations, and the more focus, the better.More team meetings and work sessions - video chat sessions help reconnect me with the tasks at hand. Bringing other team members into meetings might be beneficial too - on-wiki discussions happen in slow-motion, and often lose momentum.The role of "chief librarian" should be a full-time position, ideally. This person should be able to singularly focus on TWL, and give TWL the mental energy it deserves. I wish I was in a different place in my career where I could offer to be that person, but unfortunately I'm not.
If there was one thing you might tweak about how you've been directed and put to use, what would it be? Or multiple tweaks...
We started with a very large laundry list of objectives. Personally, I can have difficulty focusing if I've got too many exciting ideas floating around my head. This is the nature of TWL - so many interesting and fruitful directions to go in. But perhaps a more hierarchical organisation of TWL's objectives would help me manage my time better.
What project organizing and personal growth areas do you think I might advance towards and expand into?
Team building/management - I think we've started well, but TWL could benefit from more dedicated team members, more clearly delineated roles, and the beginnings of an institutional workflow - i.e., what TWL needs to get done on a weekly/monthly basis, and how to go about it. Currently, we have many dedicated volunteers who have shown interest, but we lack ways to let them complete tasks for TWL.
Who else should be involved in TWL in order to maximize its potential?
A second library professional as a TWL librarian - ideally someone with both WP and academic library experience. Nikkimaria, although already involved, is taking her first year in the MLIS program, and will need work experience for her resume. We should approach her for involvement. Barring that, we could look for external recent library school grad candidates, although this would present difficulties in terms of learning the WP ecology. A working librarian with experience in their library's digital services department would also be a good fit - offering a competitive wage would be a challenge there. A motivated and enthusiastic donations soliciter/wrangler. Jason Moore/Another Believer would be ideal, though he may be too busy. This is someone who is comfortable negotiating and working with large institutions, and perhaps has a background in sales. While I may have a good background to develop pitches for donations, I lack the salesperson's spirit.
Feel free to share any other thoughts you have about any aspect of TWL.
I have very few doubts about TWL as a concept. It is a wholesome approach to improving content, and giving volunteers the resources they need. It is immensely popular. So all we really need to do is keep growing our resources, building a larger pool of contributors, and keep momentum up. Outreach to brick and mortar libraries, and the wide world of library workers, will help bring in the contributors we need, as well as spurring outreach in the other direction - libraries/librarians coming to TWL to find ways to be involved. Improving our global impact is also of major importance. To be truly part of the Wikimedia movement, TWL needs to be multilingual and cross-cultural. It needs branches in our other active language communities, and needs to shed it's current Anglo-centric focus. This requires bringing on multi-lingual partners, exploring non-english partnerships, and reaching out to libraries outside the English-speaking world.
I've detailed an Extension request for a second phase of the project. Phase 2 involves expansion of existing successful programs, integration of volunteers to increase sustainability of these programs, creation of usable deployed reference tech tools, deeper outreach to library professionals. In order to accomplish these goals and build a more sustainable Library, more time and funding are needed.
Please provide links to all public, online documents and other artifacts that you created during the course of this project. Examples include: meeting notes, participant lists, photos or graphics uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, template messages sent to participants, wiki pages, social media (Facebook groups, Twitter accounts), datasets, surveys, questionnaires, code repositories... If possible, include a brief summary with each link.
All created pages are linked in our TWL index: TWL Pages
Please copy and paste the completed table from your project finances page. Check that you’ve detailed all approved and actual expenditures. If there are differences between the planned and actual use of funds, please use the column provided to explain them.
Please answer yes or no. If yes, list the amount you did not use and explain why.
Yes, $67.56. Plus 100 less for a code specification that turned out to be slightly less expensive than anticipated, minus $32.44 of overspending on books which I'd like reimbursed if possible. I'm requesting the remaining $67.56 be rolled over into an extension request for completion of phase 2 of the coding project.
Note: Pat's third check for $550 is being sent out the second week of January due to rolled over task timing and some travel complications. All of his hours are tracked and invoiced.
Note: Nischay's funds for $400 is being wired to him the second week of January due to timing and travel as well. Nischay's contractor agreement for project completion and payment is signed and on file.
If you have unspent funds, they must be returned to WMF, please see the instructions for returning unspent funds and indicate here if this is still in progress, or if this is already completed:
We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on what this project has meant to you, or how the experience of being an IEGrantee has gone overall. Is there something that surprised you, or that you particularly enjoyed, or that you’ll do differently going forward as a result of the IEG experience? Please share it here!
I still love this grant. I'm exhausted, excited, elated, engaged. It's really pushing me to develop in lots of different ways, especially prioritizing goals and coordinating volunteers. My growth as a networker has been remarkable to me and the comfort I have onboarding new helpers has really increased the confidence in my vision. It's been no small revelation that I can force-multiply my impact by taking on amazing people and putting them to great use.
I have been given free rein and flexibility to develop this library in any meaningful direction I think will be best, and I take that as a great trust that I hope I have honored. It has been exhilarating to conceive of an idea, to develop it, to see pilot programs take root, to build towards sustainability, to validate research with metrics and surveys, to share news and learnings, and to work with such amazing library experts.
As usual, this reporting process completely sucks and completely positively blows me away at the same time. It adds such great perspective and reflection and is extremely useful. I wouldn't change a thing, except maybe finding a way to work in Learning Patterns into the process in some lightweight way.
And as usually exceptional, Siko's guidance is par excellance and it gives me great courage, faith, and delight in the direction of my grant to have her project management wisdom and constant support. She typifies the kind of Keep it Simple creativity and execution that makes me encouraged and happy to be becoming a project manager and a member of IEG and the Grants program.