Grants:PEG/WM US-DC/Summer of Monuments 2014/Report

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY 2013-14 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.
  • You are welcome to Email grants at wikimedia dot org at any time if you have questions or concerns about this report.

Project status[edit]

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?
Is your project completed?

Activities and lessons learned[edit]


In general:

  • Promoting the Summer of Monuments photo contest;
  • Responding to a torrent of public inquiries which resulted from our widely-seen banner on Wikipedia. These emails came in every shape and size and in many cases created the chance to establish a good relationship with new users of Wikipedia—as well as some one-time users who had bad experiences and didn't want to come back.
  • Calling and emailing librarians, archivists, historians, preservationists, professors, photographers, and other such folk with a relationship to historical materials in our target states.
  • Visiting some of these people and institutions in order to have in-depth conversations with them and establish a relationship.
  • Generalized outreach: flyering of libraries and other public places; talking to people on the street.
  • Presentations: such as 'Researching and writing a halfway-decent Wikipedia article from scratch' to the Laurel Historical Society.
  • Meetings & phone conversations with people and groups who want to get involved with Summer of Monuments and Wikipedia in general.
  • Assembling and coordinating a jury to judge the best submissions to Summer of Monuments

In further detail:

  • Kentucky: Traveled to Kentucky, met with representatives from Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Heritage Council, Professors from University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. Put flyers on telephone poles, in libraries and coffeehouses, and in other public places. Unfortunately, some long-awaited contributions have not been able to go through because of apparent legal restrictions.
  • North Carolina: Contacted historical societies throughout the state. Met with representatives from the Department of Cultural Resources. They clarified North Carolina law, suggesting that many of their photos are public domain. However, they are busy and have not yet been able to turn over whole databases for upload. We are expecting to meet the goal here due to the public domain law and willingness of the DCR to collaborate with us.
  • Other States: Initially we decided to target especially the five easternmost states. Georgia probably will be one of the five we get over 50%. However, Mississippi, so far, seems especially resistant to outreach efforts. I hope to visit the state in October but am not sure we will be able to meet our goal here. Louisiana has gone a little better and we have developed some good relationships there. I won't be surprised if they cross the 50% line before Mississippi does.

Due to its broad scope, the job has involved many different tasks and at times seemed overwhelming. Imagine a "circuit Wikipedian" as compared to a "Wikipedian in residence", then add "online complaints department" and various other roles and you'll begin to get an idea. My colleagues at Wikimedia DC have been enormously helpful in this work and I am very grateful for their assistance.

This outreach effort was coupled with an online campaign that ran from July 1–September 30, 2014. We received 10,869 submissions during the contest, reviewed by volunteers. First, second, and third place are as follows:

The other (unranked) submissions in the top 10 are:

Lessons learned[edit]

What lessons were learned that may help others succeed in similar projects, or that may change the way you are doing this project?

The emails received as a result of the banner have been overwhelming and somewhat eye-opening regarding public perception of Wikipedia. Many intelligent & internet-literate people do not see themselves as able to edit Wikipedia, either because they never realized they could or because they had bad experiences in the past. People had very positive reactions when they were able to have a friendly conversation about Wikipedia. We need to make these kinds of interactions easier, with prominent displays on the site (perhaps for users not logged in) inviting would-be editors to dig deeper.

Institutional contacts are still the most uncertain part of this project. We have gotten some great enthusiasm for the idea of contributing large collections, but follow-up is slow and in some cases nixed by lawyers. Currently the biggest & best hope for a large collection comes from the North Carolina State government, but it's taking some time.

We have been focusing on certain contacts that seem especially promising and are taking steps to make sure that some collections are added.

Learning patterns[edit]

New learning patterns:

Outcomes and impact[edit]


Provide the original project goal here.

Our most specific goal was to increase the number of NRHP illustrations to above 50% in five of our ten target states. See Grants:PEG/WM US-DC/Summer of Monuments 2014#Target regions and goals

Do you expect to reach your project's goal? Why or why not?

See table below.

Progress towards targets and goals[edit]

Project metrics

Project metrics Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
50% of National Register of Historic Places in Kentucky illustrated in five of the ten target states Four out of five Three states received very close attention during the campaign: Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Coverage increased significantly in these states during the campaign, as well as during the three months following the campaign. In detail:
  • Kentucky (focus state): 43.6% to 55.5% during the campaign; 55.5% to 55.8% during the three months following the campaign. Goal achieved.
  • Tennessee (focus state): 50.8% to 58.3% during the campaign; 60.0% during the three months following the campaign. Goal achieved. (Although the campaign started with Tennessee above the 50% threshold, the growth by almost ten percentage points is indeed significant.)
  • Georgia: 41.0% to 50.4% during the campaign; 50.4% to 52.4% during the three months following the campaign. Goal achieved.
  • Louisiana: 43.6% to 49.5% during the campiagn; 49.5% to 51.5% during the three months following the campaign. Goal achieved.
  • North Carolina (focus state): 30.9% to 37.9% during the campaign; 37.9% to 40.7% during the three months following the campaign. Almost there.
  • Oklahoma: 28.9% to 41.1% during the campaign; 41.1% to 47.2% during the three months following the campaign. Almost there.
  • Kansas: 33.5% to 43.7% during the campaign; 43.7% to 46.2% during the three months following the campaign. Almost there.
  • Missouri: 33.5% to 38.8% during the campaign; 38.8% to 40.9% during the three months following the campaign. Almost there.
  • Arkansas: 22.3% to 27.5% during the campaign; 27.5% to 31.4% during the three months following the campaign. Significant work needed.
  • Misssippi: 32.5% to 35.7% during the campaign; 35.7% to 36.1% during the three months following the campaign. Significant work needed.

Nationally, coverage increased from 63.4% to 68.3% during the campaign, and from 68.3% to 69.4% during the three months following the campaign.

Build institutional partnerships In progress / Mixed bag We have gotten a lot of enthusiasm from institutions inside and outside of local governments. This enthusiasm has not yet translated into mass uploads but we remain optimistic. In one case, which seemed quite promising, lawyers vetoed a large contribution long after it had been promised. In other cases, the main obstacle seems to be only bureaucratic inertia. We should not bee too surprised that, like their federal counterparts, state institutions take more than one or two months to decide and follow through on a major partnership with Wikipedia.

Provide an overall assessment of how your project is going according to these measures.

From visiting with, and speaking directly to, people interested in local history to soliciting input from the general mass of people who use Wikipedia as a research tool on a daily basis, we have greatly increased the number of submissions of photographs of historical places. Many of the photographs submitted have been of places listed on the National Register of Historic Places not in the 5/10 target states, or they have been of places important to the telling of history, but not listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We have also made solid contact with several institutions which were previously hostile to the idea of uploading their institutional content to Wikimedia Commons but which are now looking for ways around bureaucratic hurdles so that they can upload their collections for the greater good.

While doing this project, have you decided to track any other measures of success not listed in your grant submission? If so, please list them here.

We have found that many important historical narratives are not represented by the National Register of Historic Places. We have found that visiting a place can open insight into important local history which is relevant to its national contemporaries, but which is often missing from other narratives. We believe that including these places and events in the encyclopedia will have a net-positive impact on our national ability to understand history, and on the ability of the international community to understand the complex intersectional dynamics of the histories we have made here.

We have also received dozens of emails, through the "Summer of Monuments" banner, from people who have once attempted to edit Wikipedia and been frustrated out of the project. Many of these people are historians, scholars, and people with valuable contributions to make. By responding in a patient, understanding way, we have smoothed out many of these problems. Most of the problems have had to do with hostile editors; such hostility was most often manifested as unwillingness to explain editing procedures to newcomers. Such editors preferred instead to delete the work of the newcomer, rather than bring them into the community. One concrete step we believe can be taken is for the project manager to facilitate a workshop at subsequent Wikimania events titled "lessons from the Field." We see a problem in the fact that workshops surrounding this issue have historically focused titularly on "Marginalized Editors" or "Countering Systemic Bias" which will necessarily exclude those editors who believe that no systemic bias exists. By opening this dialogue to the larger editing community, and referencing data points from the research field, we hope to encourage more users to welcome new editors into the fold.

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 186 Average number of edits per month between June 1 and September 30 was greater than or equal to 5 edits.
2. # of new editors 936
3. # of individuals involved 1,311 1,261 accounts uploading, 70 participating on the campaign's talk page, for a total of 1,311. We also engaged with 175 individuals over email, but this is not counted, as many who emailed also participated through uploading and there is no effective way to include them in the total without duplication.
4. # of new images/media added to Wikimedia articles/pages 14,353 Including photographs uploaded after the end of the contest. Not including these, the total is 10,869.
5. # of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects 0 This campaign did not focus on textual content.
6. Absolute value of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects 0 This campaign did not focus on textual content.
Learning question
Did your work increase the motivation of contributors, and how do you know?

Yes, for a couple of reasons:

  • Nine of the ten target states grew in photographic coverage above the national rate of 4.9 percentage points (6.0 percentage points including the subsequent three months). We attribute this to our campaign's specific call to action regarding improving coverage of the Southern U.S.
  • We continued tracking metrics beyond the campaign period, and found a significant reduction in growth following the end of the campaign upload period (compare: 4.9% during the campaign period to 1.1% after).


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?

Option B: How did you improve quality on one or more Wikimedia projects?

We have engaged 23 cultural institutions and over 1,300 Wikimedia users in the improvement of quality on Wikimedia projects. The photo contest itself has brought more than 10,000 images to Wikimedia Commons. We have made friendly and constructive contact with many netizens, and, we hope, laid the groundwork for future partnerships. We have also made some significant institutional connections. In some cases, the only barriers to uploads of very large collections are technical. For example, in the case of the North Carolina state collections, the legal hurdles have been cleared and we have the go-ahead to use many photos from their databases.

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".
Yes, except for prizes that have not been distributed yet.


Please list all project expenses in a table here, with descriptions and dates. Review the instructions here.
Budget Line Budgeted Cost Actual Cost Difference Notes
Project Manager Compensation $20,000.00 $20,000.00 Contractor engaged from June 1 to October 31, 2014.
Travel $4,875.00 $2,774.67 -41.3% One trip to North Carolina and one trip to Kentucky. Also includes local transportation costs and related printing costs.
Institutional Prize $1,000.00 $0.00 -100% The Institutional Prize was not awarded.
Individual Prize – First Place $500.00 $500.00
Entertainment Costs $400.00 $0.00 -100% No entertainment expenses were incurred.
Individual Prize – Second Place $300.00 $300.00
Individual Prize – Third Place $150.00 $0.00 -100% Winner opted to donate prize back to the Wikimedia Foundation.
Total $27,225.00 $23,574.67 -13.4%
Total project budget (from your approved grant submission)
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)
Total amount spent on this project
Total amount of Project and Event grant funds spent on this project
Are there additional sources that funded any part of this project? List them here.

Remaining funds[edit]

The funds remaining from this grant in the amount of US$3,392 were deducted from another grant payment for Grants:PEG/WM US-DC/Wikipedia for Health and Safety Research and Data.
Remaining funds from this grant have been returned to WMF in the amount of US$258.33.
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.)
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.
We would like to apply this to the Cultural Partnerships 2015 proposal.