Grants:PEG/Mind of the Universe: open video commons/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY Pending has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • You may still comment on this report on its discussion page, or visit the discussion page to read the discussion about this report.
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Project status[edit]

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?

Overall the project has been successful, where some activities did not work out as expected, lessons learned have been extensively captured and published in the paper which is published here.

Is your project completed?

YES (safe further distribution of the paper)

Activities and lessons learned[edit]


  • All the source material from the television series The Mind of the Universe is made available as open video content, under a CC-BY-SA license, it has been provided with metadata and categories and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.
  • Sound and Vision has written a practitioner’s statement on the experiences from VPRO in producing material for open publication. In the coming months Sound and Vision and VPRO will actively liaise with broadcasters (contacted through the International Federation of Audiovisual Archives), the core team of the AV-Thinktank and present the paper in various forms on- and offline.

Lessons learned[edit]

What worked well?

Preparing and organizing the upload of the material was done using state of the art technology:

  • A platform: The Mind of the Universe: Open Source Science TV, co-developed by Sound and Vision, offers access to the the raw materials (over 30 hours of footage) and allows this corpus to be searched through and downloaded.
  • The videos were segmented: each question and answer together formed a single segment.
  • Using open source video annotation software developed by Sound and Vision, VPRO tagged both the full videos and the segments. Initially the idea was to have the community (including Wikimedians) add tags, but during the process VPRO felt it would be a waste to not use the knowledge of the directors and researchers who had done much of the research for the series. Time was allocated to one of the researchers to add tags to the interviews.
  • The tags that were added are mostly terms from the UNESCO thesaurus. This makes it easier to link to other knowledge sources. Also, custom tags could be added as non-structured text.
  • Where possible speech-to-text technology was used to transcribe the interviews. In other cases the translations were outsourced and added to the interviews as transcriptions.
  • Categories were added to the material on Wikimedia Commons.
  • The videomaterial was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons using the GLAMwiki toolset.
  • The videos were promoted among the Wikimedia community and videos were added to Wikipedia articles. (e.g. en:Jennifer Tour Chayes and en:Sarah Seager)
What didn't work?

Engaging with the Wikimedia community around the materials proved challenging. Various attempts at organising editathons had to be canceled due to a lack of interest. We have identified various challenges, also described in the paper:

  • The subject matter of the series: the scientists whose work was presented in the series are performing research at the cutting edge of their fields. There is a level of abstraction that comes with this that makes it hard to translate into a comprehensible encyclopedic article for a wide audience. It proved challenging to find participants for the editathons who were both interested in and capable of making that translation.
  • The nature of the videos: videos with interviews are relatively rare on Wikimedia Commons, we therefore had no “best practices” for the use of interviews in the online encyclopedia to fall back on. In practice we have seen the interviews used only as illustrations in the articles of the scientists themselves, not in articles on the topics that are being discussed in the interviews.
  • The type of content: Wikipedia has a “No Original Research policy” in place. The encyclopedia is a tertiary source that references secondary sources to substantiate the facts that it states. The subject matter discussed in the video’s is cutting edge and in some places speculative, not mentioning sources or publications. This, combined with the fact that video and audio materials are rarely used as references on the encyclopedia, made for a rather narrow application of these materials on Wikipedia.
What would you do differently if you planned a similar project?
  • We would attempt to record some test footage and engage the community in an earlier stage to better understand their needs and wishes.
  • We would like to engage the community in finding ways to add to these videos the transcripts, subtitles, segments, tags, etc. that were available in the project. That would make the videos easier to find.

Learning patterns[edit]

Outcomes and impact[edit]


Provide the original project goal here.

This project will (1) make a content donation of high-quality broadcast content (2) actively encourage the use of this material by the Wikipedia community and (3) highlight potential and provide practical support for setting up collaborations between public broadcasters and the Wikipedia community.

Did you achieve your project goal? How do you know your goal was achieved? Please answer in 1 - 2 short paragraphs.

Collaboration with public broadcasters around the open publication of material is a new way of working. Sharing the experiences from The Mind of the Universe will enable future collaboration to be executed more effectively. By setting an example public broadcasters will be able to see the potential of open publication, but also the Wikimedia community will be made aware of the possibilities for collaboration with these broadcasters. The materials from The Mind of the Universe formed the basis of an online learning experience developed in collaboration with three universities (Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam). These learning experiences were created for an international audience of potentially 5 million students, thus showing the high quality of the content of the series and its applicability in other contexts.

Progress towards targets and goals[edit]

Project metrics

Project metrics Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
“150-200 broadcast quality videos and 150 photographs” We uploaded 77 videos of in total approx. 40 hours in length. We decided against cutting them up in smaller videos, since the Wikimedia platforms allow users to make their own selections.
“250 articles within 3 months of uploading” 17 articles make use of material from The Mind of the Universe See more detail above under 'things that didn't work': subject matter of the video material (abstract), nature of the video material (interviews). This had a negative effect on community engagement and therefore in the metrics listed here.
“Within 6 months a re-use of 25% of the donated Mind of the Universe material in 1 or more articles on Wikipedia” 11 out of 77 videos were used, about 14%. See previous target outcome.
“Within 6 months re-use in 10 language versions” So far, 4 language versions make use of the material from The Mind of the Universe See previous two target outcomes.

Global Metrics[edit]

We are trying to understand the overall outcomes of the work being funded across our grantees. In addition to the measures of success for your specific program (in above section), please use the table below to let us know how your project contributed to the Global Metrics. We know that not all projects will have results for each type of metric, so feel free to put "0" where necessary.

  1. Next to each required metric, list the actual outcome achieved through this project.
  2. Where necessary, explain the context behind your outcome. For example, if you were funded for an edit-a-thon which resulted in 0 new images, your explanation might be "This project focused solely on participation and articles written/improved, the goal was not to collect images."

For more information and a sample, see Global Metrics.

Metric Achieved outcome Explanation
1. # of active editors involved - Since the editathons didn’t happen we have no data on this
2. # of new editors - Since the editathons didn’t happen we have no data on this
3. # of individuals involved - Since the editathons didn’t happen we have no data on this
4a. # of new images/media added to Wikimedia articles/pages 11
4b. # of new images/media uploaded to Wikimedia Commons (Optional) 77
5. # of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects 17
6. Absolute value of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects estimated 350.000 the uploads, including metadata to Wikimedia Commons
Learning question
Did your work increase the motivation of contributors, and how do you know?

The project got positive feedback from the community at its conception (see here). For these Wikimedians the project represented a way to get more multimedia on the projects, but more fundamentally to explore collaboration with public broadcasters. The challenges described above hindered the active involvement of Wikimedians, but we are confident that the paper give the collaboration of public broadcasters with the community a boost.


What impact did this project have on WMF's mission and the strategic priorities?

Option A: How did you increase participation in one or more Wikimedia projects? Through this project we have shown that public broadcasters can become an active participant in the Wikimedia context by contributing high quality broadcasting materials, delivered in a way that makes it accessible to the community. The public broadcasters often have overlapping vision on the sharing of knowledge to a wide audience. For the wider Wikimedia movement, the participation of public broadcasters on its platforms can be an enormous benefit. It will make its platforms more attractive and accessible to younger audiences that are so accustomed to processing audiovisual information.

Option B: How did you improve quality on one or more Wikimedia projects? High quality video materials have been added to Wikimedia Commons and are now being used in various Wikipedia articles.

Option C: How did you increase the reach (readership) of one or more Wikimedia projects? Out of scope for this project.

Reporting and documentation of expenditures[edit]

This section describes the grant's use of funds


Did you send documentation of all expenses paid with grant funds to grants at wikimedia dot org, according to the guidelines here? Answer "Yes" or "No".
No documentation sent due to only declaration of hours.


Please list all project expenses in a table here, with descriptions and dates. Review the instructions here.
Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Actual cost per unit Actual total Budgeted total Currency Notes
1 Hours 1 hour 55.00 120 6.600 6.600 EUR Hours spend on interviewing relevant people involved in the project, writing, copy-editing and designing the whitepaper.

Total project budget (from your approved grant submission)
€ 54,560.00
Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission, this total will be the same as the total project budget if PEG is your only funding source)
€ 10,600
Total amount spent on this project
€ 54,560.00
Total amount of Project and Event grant funds spent on this project
€ 6,600
Are there additional sources that funded any part of this project? List them here.
Own contribution from both VPRO and Sound and Vision, grant from NPO.

Remaining funds[edit]

Remaining funds from this grant have been returned to WMF in the amount of 4,000 EUR.
Are there any grant funds remaining?
Answer YES or NO.
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.)
€ 4,000
If funds are remaining they must be returned to WMF, reallocated to mission-aligned activities, or applied to another approved grant.
Please state here if you intend to return unused funds to WMF, submit a request for reallocation, or submit a new grant request, and then follow the instructions on your approved grant submission.
Return unused funds to WMF