Grants:PEG/Sofia Zoo and Bulgarian Wikipedians/Sofia Zoo Powered by Wikimedia

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Funded
This submission to the Wikimedia Foundation Grants Program was funded in the fiscal year 2011-12. This is a grant to an organization.

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Legal name of organization or individual requesting this grant
Sofia Zoo
For organizations: Are you a for-profit entity? No.
For organizations: If non-profit (US) or equivalent (outside the US) status is available in your country, do you have or are you pursuing such status (please be specific): Sofia Zoo is a fully non-profit organization under the umbrella of Sofia Municipality.
For individual applicants: Please note that if your request is accepted you will be required to provide documentation verifying your full legal name and address.
Grant contact name
Venislava Racheva
Grant contact username or email
sofzooed {at} abv {dot} bg
Grant contact title (position)
Ecologist and Head of the Environmental, Educational and Research Centre at Sofia Zoo
Project lead name
Vassia Atanassova
Project lead username or email
vassia.atanassova {at} gmail {dot} com
Project lead title (position), if any
Editor and administrator of Bulgarian Wikipedia
Full project name
Sofia Zoo Powered by Wikimedia
Amount requested in USD or local currency (USD will be assumed if no other currency is specified)
BGN 5400 (ca. USD 3600)
Provisional target start date
May 1, 2012
Provisional completion date
August 30, 2012 December 30,2012 30 April 2013

Team members[edit]

The proposed grant recipient, Sofia Zoo (Website), is a non-commercial legal entity under the umbrella of Sofia Municipality. Established back in 1888, this is the oldest and largest zoo in Bulgaria and on the whole Balkan Peninsula. It has been officially designated as one of the 100 tourist destinations in Bulgaria.

The staff of the Environmental, Educational and Research Centre (EERC) at Sofia Zoo consists of several young people who like Wikipedia a lot and admit that they quite often use the English version for their research and training seminars. They are:

  • Venislava Racheva, ecologist and head of the Environmental, Educational and Research Centre at Sofia Zoo
  • Katerina Zareva, ecologist
  • Iva Asenova, ecologist
  • Velizar Angelov, technical assistant

The rest of the project team are active editors and administrators of the Bulgarian version of Wikipedia:

Budget breakdown[edit]

The project will cover the creation of 180 large (approx. A2) and 200 small (approx. half A4) information plates and metal frames (holders). The calculations show that 3 large and 4 small plates can be made out of 1 m2 of foam PVC, which will cost 26 EUR/m2 or approx. 51 BGN/m2 (4mm thickness, printing included). Hence, 60m2 will be enough for all the information plates. The small information plates are needed for the Aquarium and shall be placed within a specially designed circular metal construction, about 30 meters long. The chosen material PVC foam is waterproof, and has UV-filter which protects the colours. The metal frames will be designed in order to have the PVC foam plates easily replaced whenever necessary.

Flyers with instructions about using QRcodes and QRpedia will be needed for the visitors, and a press conference in the end of the project will be organized.

No payment is expected for labour (design and installation of the information plates, writing and improving the articles in Wikipedia).

The whole budget of the project sums up to BGN 7700 (approx. USD 5133), but 30% co-funding from another voluntary source within the Bulgarian Wikimedian community will be provided. Hence, the total sum from the Wikimedia Foundation, for which we apply, is BGN 5400 (approx. USD 3600).

Type of expenditure Amount / Number of items Price per item
(VAT incl., BGN)
Total price
(VAT incl., BGN)
Total price (USD,
approx. currency rate
USD/BGN = 1.5)
1. PVC foam information plates
  • Large (approx. A2)
  • Small (approx. half A4)
60 m2
  • 180 / 3 = 60
  • 200 / 4 = 50 < 60
51 3060 2040
2. Metal frames for the large information plates 180 20 3600 2400
3. A circular metal framework for the small information plates (in the Aquarium) 1 450 450 300
4. Flyers with instructions about using QRpedia 4000 0.05 200 133
5. Press conference 1 200 200 133
6. Incidental expenses - - 190 127
Total 7700 5133
From Wikimedia Foundation 5400 3600
Co-funding provided from another voluntary source (approx. 30%) 2300 1533

Project goal[edit]

V. Angelov and A. "Salle" Keremidarski scanning the first QRpedia code placed in Sofia Zoo, 12 January 2012. The aim of the project is to install new plates with improved design for ca. 180 species on exhibit in the zoo. They shall make use of materials from Wikipedia, Wikispecies and Wikimedia Commons and contain a QRpedia code to provide easy access to further information.

The goal of the project is to foster the recently started collaboration between Bulgarian Wikipedians and Sofia Zoo. This collaboration will result in:

  • Creation of new information plates for the exhibited biological species, containing short texts and illustrative content (like photos and species distribution maps) from Wikimedia, and multilingual QR codes to the full Wikipedia articles, as generated with QRPedia.
  • Contributions to the Bulgarian version of Wikipedia with the creation and improvement of articles about the exhibited biological species (about 180-200). For the development of the articles, the in-depth expertise of the staff in the Zoo’s Educational Centre will be of critical importance.

The collaboration started in mid December 2011, inspired by an idea in the Bulgarian Wikipedia Village Pump to place QRpedia codes to Wikipedia articles on exhibited biological species, thus raising Wikipedia's popularity among the Sofia Zoo visitors, as well as their awareness of the opportunities to use the mobile version.

However, not all plates allow placing QR code stickers, due to exposure to climate, easy access to visitors, or scarce space. Some of the present info plates are missing, damaged by climate or visitors, some provide too little information or illustration, and some are outdated (e.g., with respect to species conservation status).

Thus, there is a clear need to have new, better info plates developed for the Sofia Zoo. This need is a rather significant one, since the Zoo is a non-profit entity and it suffers from permanent underfinance when it comes to its purely educational role in society.

We believe that if during the project we can create new bilingual information plates, using attributed textual and illustrative content from Wikimedia, this will be a really tangible and sustainable result of the project, a precious acquisition for the Zoo and its visitors, as well as a success in the promotion of the valuable content of Wikimedia and the Movement’s values.

Project scope and list of activities[edit]

An important initial project activity will be a short training course that Wikipedians will deliver to the EERC's staff for:

  • Navigation in a wiki: Searching for illustrative content in Commons and information in Wikipedia and Wikispecies,
  • Free licenses: Using and attributing freely licensed content from Wikipedia and Commons,
  • Contribution: editing Wikipedia and uploading content to Commons, adding references, etc.

This training is needed, since the specialists in the EERC will then start preparing the design of the information plates of the exhibited biological species, and any free content from Wikimedia that will be used in the process ought to be properly attributed. Alongside, the multilingual QR codes will be generated and placed on a well visible portion of the plate.

Whenever missing, new articles about exhibited species will be created in the Bulgarian Wikipedia. Some of the animals that are underrepresented on Wikimedia Commons will be photographed, and the images uploaded under a free license. This activity of adding local content has already started (see commons:Special:Contributions/EERC Sofia Zoo). The work will be organized in a taxonomical way, per order, starting with the most interesting species (according to the Zoo's staff). This editorial part of the project work, aimed at adding new knowledge and illustrative content to the projects of Wikimedia, will remain fully voluntary and open for further community involvement.

Funding will be needed for:

  • printing the designed plates to durable waterproof foam PVC plates, and
  • framing them in metal frames that will be mounted to the currently existing stands.

The staff will be further trained to explain to visitors how to use their mobile devices to scan the QR codes and access the encyclopedic articles for more information about the species.

Non-financial requirements[edit]

No.

Fit to strategy[edit]

The project is fully aligned with Wikimedia's mission and strategic priorities. Despite not being exactly a "GLAM cooperation", the project will make a qualitative difference by introducing Wikimedia's content so deeply within the educational and knowledge spreading practices of an external institution.

The project will essentially help the promotion of free knowledge in Bulgaria, and Wikipedia in particular, before an audience mainly consisting of children and their parents in the recreational and pleasant ambience of the Sofia Zoo. The presence of textual and illustrative materials (like photos and species distribution maps) from Wikimedia projects will strengthen their positive public image as a relevant source of information within the Bulgarian society. The proper attribution of authors and Wikimedia will help for raising awareness of the proper usage of freely licensed content.

The project also involves the participation of specialists (Master and PhD students) from the Environmental, Educational and Research Centre at Sofia Zoo. They can provide their professional competences in several directions:

  • To create, improve, update and consult articles in the Bulgarian Wikipedia about various biological species that are exhibited in the Zoo, and beyond.
  • To consult Wikipedians in article naming discussions (especially needed for biological species whose names in Bulgarian are not established or popular enough) with their expertise and availability of sources of reference.
  • To contribute to Wikimedia with own freely licensed illustrative and multimedia content.

With the information plates that will be produced and installed, the project will have really tangible and sustainable results. Moreover, its impact will be high, since the lessons learned during this pioneering project can be shared with other zoos and/or museums of natural history in Bulgaria or abroad. We believe that this partnership is nontraditional and innovative, and can inspire other local groups of Wikimedians and Wikimedia chapters to establish contacts with other zoos and initiate their own "QR codes @ Zoo" projects.

Other benefits[edit]

Besides the Wikimedia movement in Bulgaria, the project can potentially benefit the visitors of Sofia Zoo (respectively, society) in various ways.

By analogy with the Case Study of QRPedia in The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, we can mention here that the audience of Sofia Zoo is not only “children”, but “children with parents”. QR codes stimulate children's curiosity to discover what is behind the nice black-and-white pattern and thus learn more from, and about, Wikipedia. A visit to the zoo encourages inter-generational sharing of knowledge and joy, while using QR scanning technology can further stimulate this sharing and raise families' awareness of the novel ways of deriving and providing information.

Also, QR codes give both parents and children a way to bring home a piece of the experience by bookmarking and reading the Wikipedia articles. Provided that all the Wikipedia articles about the exhibited biological species will be written, improved and/or consulted by the specialists from the EERC at Sofia Zoo, who are Master and PhD students in ecology, the quality of the articles will be very high, thus adding credibility to Wikipedia, especially its version in Bulgarian language, which is traditionally (and reasonably) considered of lower quality than, for instance, the English one.

Measures of success[edit]

Given the tangible nature of the goals set, we will consider this project successful if:

  • All information plates for the (about 180-200) biological species exhibited in Sofia Zoo are designed, printed and installed.
  • All the respective (missing) articles about the species are created and contain at least the basic information about physical characteristics, geographical distribution, behaviour in nature and captivity, conservation status, plus taxobox template, illustrations and precise category.

Another measure of success is going to be the number of visitors who access Wikipedia by scanning the QR codes in Sofia Zoo (example for the QR code shown in the image above).

Contacts[edit]

The cooperation has a public wiki page (in Bulgarian). One way to contact the members is the talk page. Another way is the private mailing list partnership-zoosofia {at} wikimedia {dot} bg

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