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Grants:PEG/WM US-DC/Projects 2014

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This submission to the Project and Event Grants Program was funded in the fiscal year 2013-14. This is a grant to an organization.

IMPORTANT: Please do not make changes to this page without the explicit approval of Project and Event Grants Program staff. They will be reverted.

Basic information[edit]

Grant details[edit]

Project details[edit]

Official project name
Projects and Events in 2014
Project start date (include month, day, and year)
1 January 2014
Project completion date (include month, day, and year)
30 September 2014
Please describe the project in 1–2 sentences
Wikimedia District of Columbia seeks to carry out projects in its annual plan. Our program plan is designed to promote the content, technology, and community that move the Wikimedia movement forward.

Financial details[edit]

Currency requested
United States Dollars
Amount requested in currency requested
Equivalent amount in US$ on the date of this submission
List the exchange rate used to calculate the amount listed in US$

Grantee details[edit]

See the eligibility requirements for more information.

What is the official name of the organization requesting this grant?
Wikimedia District of Columbia
Are you an organization, an individual, or an individual submitting on behalf of a group?
Are you a for-profit entity?
Answer YES or NO.
Are you able to provide local proof of nonprofit status within your country?
Answer YES or NO.
Does your organization currently employ any fulltime or part-time staff or contractors?
Answer YES or NO.
If you answered YES, please indicate how many. You may use fractions or percentages for part-time staff if appropriate.
EX: 4 fulltime staff and 2 part-time contractors (50% each).
0.0 FTE
If yes, please provide a list of their job functions, or a link to your organization's staff page, if it lists all employees and contractors employed or engaged by your organization.
EX: A complete list of staff and contractors is available at http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Staff_and_contractors.
Wikimedia District of Columbia employs no staff or contractors.

Contact information[edit]

Primary contact name
Peter Meyer
Primary contact username or email
User:Econterms: peter.meyer(_AT_)wikimediadc.org
Primary contact title (position within the organization)

If this project will be executed by someone other than the primary contact for your organization, please list that person's details here:

Project lead name
James Hare
Project lead username or email
User:Harej: james.hare(_AT_)wikimediadc.org
Project lead title (position), if any

Goals and measures of success[edit]

Project goal[edit]

Please briefly describe what will be accomplished if the project is successful.

Project goal
Our goals include new institutional connections and recruitment of volunteers, improved Wikipedia articles, more digitized content for the Wikimedia projects, and the completion of technical projects that enhance Wikimedia projects. These goals are discussed in further detail below.

Measures of success[edit]

Please provide a list of measurable criteria that will be used determine how successful the project is. You will need to report on the success of the project according to these measures after the project is completed.

Measures of success
Number of events, numbers of volunteers and volunteer-hours, number of institutional partners, number of articles created or improved, number of digitized documents, number of completed technical projects, number of volunteer-led projects funded.
The above measurements are based on the following program activities:
  • 2 scan-a-thons at the National Archives, yielding at least 50 digitized documents
  • 3 hack-a-thons (incl. at least one with WMF), completion of at least two technical projects
  • 13 edit-a-thons with at least eight institutions, including at least two new institutions, with an aggregate total of at least 50 volunteers/700 volunteer hours and creating/improving at least 175 articles. At least six of these events will be held with the Smithsonian Institution.
  • Awarding $1,000 worth of grants to at least three community-pioneered outreach projects.

Project scope and activities[edit]

This section describes what will happen if this project is funded. Who will do what, and when?

List of activities

Wikimedia DC will be carrying out programs in support of the content of Wikimedia projects, as well as its underlying technology. We are also interested in supporting a grants program that supports outreach and community building throughout the United States.

Content programs[edit]

Edit-a-thons have been visibly successful at reaching out to new Wikipedia editors while working with partner institutions to fulfill their goals. Most of the edit-a-thons held to date have been hosted by professionals within cultural institutions, with Wikimedia DC providing expertise, funding, and a promotional platform. As we have seen successes with our edit-a-thons, including over 150 articles created or improved and over 200,000 bytes of text added to Wikipedia, we are interested in expanding the scope of this program to include additional subject areas and institutions.

Wikimedia DC organized edit-a-thons with six partnering institutions in the past fiscal year. Our goal this year is to hold events with at least eight institutions, including at least two new institutions. These institutions will ideally be centers of specialized knowledge, with access to resources that can be used to improve Wikipedia articles on subjects that currently lack adequate coverage, including women's history. We will also hold non-editing events such as scan-a-thons, which allow institutions to share their collections with a broad, global audience.

We are dedicated to building on our collaborative successes with the Smithsonian Institution over the past three years. Having successfully run outreach events with four units within the Smithsonian Institution, our goal this year is to hold six events with the Smithsonian. A broader base of partnerships will allow for more opportunities to improve the Wikimedia projects through outreach events.

With the assistance of new tools from the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia DC will make a stronger effort to reach out to individual attendees. By collecting Wikipedia usernames at events, we will enable the use of Wiki Metrics to determine specific event outcomes, including the number of bytes contributed to articles, as well as to measure long-term editor retention. Basic voluntary data collection also provides opportunities to reach out to Wikipedians through the Wikipedia interface and to provide assistance where needed. Our goal for this fiscal year is to develop a record of at least 50 volunteers logging a total of at least 700 volunteer hours and creating or improving at least 175 articles.

Additionally, we are interested in holding two scan-a-thons at the National Archives, yielding at least 50 digitized documents. We will work with the National Archives and their full-time Wikipedia specialist to enable volunteers to scan documents; we are particularly interested in seeing digitized documents being used to improve Wikimedia content.

Technology programs[edit]

We are interested in holding technology-centric events that we anticipate will raise awareness of the underlying technology that empowers Wikimedia projects, and will improve our engagement in DC's technology sector.

Technology can help us find new ways measure the success of our outreach activities. We will explore the use of analytics, including the new Wiki Metrics tool, to measure the outcomes of our events, such as the number of bytes added to Wikipedia and the number of articles contributed, as well as the retention rates for workshop participants. We will work with our institutional partners to develop customized analytics tools that demonstrate the concrete ways that Wikimedia projects allow institutions to share their knowledge with the rest of the world.

New and easier-to-use software functionality will help expand Wikimedia content and enable it to be viewed and changed on different platforms and by new people. The work done by the Wikimedia Foundation to support MediaWiki must be supplemented by further initiatives that help make sense of big data and help make it easier for individuals and organizations to contribute their content and expertise to Wikimedia projects. We are especially interested in developing tools to allow cultural institutions to easily upload their collections to Wikimedia Commons en masse. We are also interested in creating tools and apps that will allow people to engage with Wikimedia content in new ways, including apps based on Wikidata and image discovery tools that make use of Wikimedia Commons' extensive collection of free media.

Starting with the second quarter, Wikimedia DC will begin holding a series of quarterly hack-a-thons, holding a total of three hack-a-thons this fiscal year. These hack-a-thons will be our means to develop a volunteer community dedicated to improving technical infrastructure, with each event building on the results of the last one. This will include at least one hack-a-thon planned with the guidance of the Wikimedia Foundation, as well as others intended to develop auxiliary tools or presentations of structured data that can serve as sources for Wikipedia articles. The specific deliverables of these hack-a-thons will depend on the initiative of attendees, but we anticipate the completion of at least two technical projects.

We are fortunate in having a sizable local community of tech-savvy individuals using technology to improve the world around them. Both Wikimedia DC and the DC technology community value free access to knowledge, including structured data made available by government agencies. Outreach to this sector presents many opportunities for the improvement of Wikimedia projects.

National outreach grants program[edit]

Wikimedia DC has demonstrated its capacity to support outreach programs throughout the United States. During fiscal year 2012–13, we approved $3,528 of grant proposals to individuals, groups, and charitable organizations in support of Wikimedia outreach activities. While the majority of the grants we approved were for edit-a-thons—events designed to directly benefit Wikipedia—we also approved $368 in grants to local meetup groups interested in holding community outreach events. These events have helped to build local momentum for Wikimedia in cities like Boston and Chicago.

We believe this momentum in the long term can translate into increased efforts to reach out to new Wikipedians and institutional partners. We request funds to help promote the continued development of local outreach activities.

Budget and resources[edit]

Please provide a detailed breakdown of project expenses according to the instructions here.

Grantees are subject to line-item scrutiny of expenses. Changes to the approved budget beyond 10% in any category must be approved in advance.

Project budget table
Item Budget Note
Direct program costs
Edit-a-thons $4,200.00 Estimate based on an average cost of $420/event, based on data from fiscal year 2012–13; covers food and beverage costs and other incidental costs.
Hack-a-thons $3,000.00 Estimate based on an average cost of $1,000/event for a 2.5-day hack-a-thon; covers food and beverage costs and other incidental costs.
Scan-a-thons $1,000.00 Estimate based on an average cost of $500/event, base on being slightly longer than an edit-a-thon; covers food and beverage costs and other incidental costs.
National outreach grants $1,000.00 Funding for outreach activities throughout the United States distributed through Wikimedia DC's small grants program; estimate based on grant applications approved in fiscal year 2012–13.
Total direct program costs $9,200.00
Program overhead cost
Internet connectivity $660.00 Mobile Internet through our CLEAR Hub costs $55 per month and will enable us to hold events where there is no Wi-Fi otherwise.
Total costs $9,860.00
Total cost of project
Total amount requested from the WMF Grants Program
Additional sources of revenue that may fund part of this project, and amounts funded
Reallocation of $2,628.38 from Bootstrapping Grant

Non-financial requirements[edit]

See a description of nonfinancial assistance available. Please inform Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) of any requirements for non-financial assistance now.

Requests for non-financial assistance
We are interested in planning at least one hack-a-thon in collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation regarding MediaWiki. It is understandable if the technical staff cannot contribute assistance in-person or otherwise assist with the planning; however, general guidance on how to plan a hack-a-thon around MediaWiki would be greatly appreciated.


This section is optional. It may be used to highlight the potential grantee's potential for successfully executing this project.

Consider including the following information:

  • List of team members (names or usernames):
  • Onwiki evidence of community support (such as a project about this discussion):
  • Endorsements from community members or movement groups:
  • Special skills or qualifications this potential grantee or project lead brings to this project:
  • Evidence of past success in executing similar projects:
Washington, DC is home to major institutions of knowledge and is known for its highly educated residents. Washington's cultural institutions, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations are the site of collections, archives and artifacts of national and international significance. For the past three years, a variety of Washington-based organizations have expressed interest in improving Wikipedia's content, and we have had several successful collaborations with diverse institutions of knowledge.
During the past fiscal year, we held five edit-a-thons with the Smithsonian Institution, resulting in 47 new articles, 105 existing articles improved, and 8 images uploaded. All of the images contributed have been from the Smithsonian's collections, and the articles have been on subject matters of interest to the Smithsonian.
George Washington University worked with Wikimedia DC to hold three edit-a-thons at their libraries and archives, covering subjects such as global affairs, labor history, the history of the university, and the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. As a result, 31 articles were created or improved, including one article in German. Access to university resources was instrumental in the improvement of these articles.
Wikimedia DC volunteers have assisted the Cato Institute in its efforts to document bills introduced in Congress on Wikipedia. According to Jim Harper, Cato's Director of Information Policy Studies, the articles written through this effort have been read more than 70,000 times, promoting public knowledge of the legislative process.
Wikimedia DC also collaborated with the National Archives, the Laurel (Maryland) Historical Society, the Historical Society of Washington DC, the Economic History Association, the American Statistical Association, and NIH's National Library of Medicine.
The events planned with these institutions have been fruitful in developing organizational relationships. Wikimedia DC will build on these relationships by devising longer-term program plans, including a schedule of planned events and metrics for content contributions and volunteer outreach. As Wikimedia DC leverages the cultural resources of DC to improve free content, we notice that further efforts need to be made to enhance the technology that underpins the Wikimedia movement. We seek to build on the Wikimedia Foundation's substantial investments towards improving the MediaWiki software by identifying additional technological opportunities which can enhance our work and outreach efforts.
Wikimedia DC has accomplished this diversity of successes with low costs, open plans and budgets on its wiki site (wikimediadc.org), and cooperatively with other institutions. Our organization operates in line with the movement principles, and our pratical idealism has attracted a growing membership base.


In the sections below, please describe how the project is related to the Wikimedia mission and Wikimedia's strategic priorities.

Fit to strategy[edit]

How will this project support the key organizational objectives of
  • increasing reach (more people will access or contribute to Wikipedia or our other projects),
  • participation (more people actually contributing),
  • quality (more content, more useful content, or higher-quality content),
  • credibility (more trust in our projects),
  • organizational maturity and effectiveness (how it will move you or the Wikimedia community forward),
  • or financial sustainability (how it will help you achieve more in the long run)?
This statement should address at least one of the strategic priorities listed here specifically. See WMF Grants Program criteria for decisionmaking.
Our projects will directly result in increased participation and trust and improved content quality, and will work in the long term to improve organizational effectiveness. We have plenty of experience collaborating with cultural institutions that are eager for the opportunity to share their knowledge with the rest of the world. Our use of volunteer data collected at outreach events organized with these partners will allow us to determine what we can do to make more effective use of volunteer resources, in addition to determining how precisely the Wikimedia projects are improved.
Part of this effort includes branching out into different volunteer opportunities, including hack-a-thons and scan-a-thons, which provide technological solutions and primary sources for the benefit of Wikimedia projects. As we develop these volunteer activities, we will continue to evaluate their impact on the Wikimedia projects. Our mission is to provide free access to the world's knowledge; these projects work directly toward those goals, and additional work being undertaken will help us do so in the future.


If the project will benefit a specific online community, please tell us.
Projects will primarily benefit English Wikipedia, English Wikisource, and Wikimedia Commons.
Please provide a brief statement about how the project is related to other work in the Wikimedia movement. For example, does the project fit into a work area such as GLAM, education, organizational development, editor retention, or outreach?
Most of our events are grounded in outreach to the GLAM sector. They assist in organizational development through research conducted at events, and will study the best approach to take regarding volunteer retention.
If successful, will the project have the potential to be replicated successfully by other individuals, groups, or organizations? Please explain how in 1–2 sentences.
We publish quarterly and annual reports on our activities. Our public event meetup pages are substantial and easy to copy. As we conduct studies, we will publish the results of these studies for the benefit of fellow organizers.
Please list other benefits to the movement here.
Tools and MediaWiki enhancements developed as a result of our hack-a-thons will make Wikimedia project-related data more readily available for institutions interested in their impact. Our hack-a-thons will also develop a base of technical volunteers and could result in interesting tools that make creative use of Wikimedia project content.
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