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Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Community Fund/Recommendations/GLAM

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The Wikimedia Foundation GLAM & Culture team created these tips based on lessons they have learned through their support and feedback from Wikimedia communities.

Culture and Heritage Projects[edit]

We welcome projects where communities document and share material and built culture (such as paintings, manuscripts, monuments), natural heritage, oral traditions, and performing arts. These projects often involve a partnership with a library or cultural institution (also known as GLAMs).

If you’re a community working with a partner, demonstrate how the institution is uniquely suited to the needs and interests of your community. Funded partnership projects demonstrate:

  • Clear evidence of the institution’s preparedness for the project.
  • Clear focus on content or capacity building that is in demand by a Wikimedia community.
  • A focus on culture or heritage that is underrepresented in Wikimedia projects.
  • How the project is building capacity or leading change that will be sustained by the organization.

If you’re an institution planning to work with the Wikimedia movement, you will need to demonstrate that:

  • Your activities will improve one or more of Wikimedia’s platforms, most likely Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata, Wikisource, or Wikipedia.
  • You have a commitment to open access and some experience working with Wikimedia platforms or communities.
  • You have community support for your project and a realistic plan to engage volunteers.

If you’re just getting started in the movement, you could research Wikimedia affiliates and sign up to Wikimedia mailing lists.

Project approaches[edit]

Engagement tactics that have been widely adopted for culture and heritage projects include:

  • Using editathons, datathons, and other workshops
  • Making large uploads of content to Commons or Wikidata
  • Embedding a Wikimedian in Residence
  • Organizing photography competitions

If you’re following one of these established formats, be sure to differentiate your project. Is it particularly timely, or addressing content gaps, or innovating within the format?

If you’re working with underrepresented languages or cultures, you might need to digitize the cultural materials that you want to share on Wikimedia platforms.

New tactics that are starting to emerge for culture and heritage projects include:

  • Language documentation and revitalization
    • Such as contributing intangible culture to Wikimedia Commons, lexicographical data on Wikidata/Wiktionary, phrasebooks on Wikivoyage, or even building a new language Wikipedia from scratch.
  • Decolonization
    • Such as researching the underlying provenance of materials that have been digitized, bringing communities of origin into discussion with collection-holding institutions, documenting consent in photography projects, or exploring approaches for cultural restitution.
  • Linked data
    • Such as creating a collaborative authority file in Wikibase, or modelling intangible culture on Wikidata.

The This Month in GLAM newsletter is an inspiring monthly roundup of recent projects.

In-depth: Wikimedians in Residence[edit]

One of the tried and tested ways of working with Wikimedia platforms is to embed an experienced editor or organiser within an institution to build collaboration with the movement. Activities include advocating for open access and organizing events and campaigns. Typically, these positions are supported by local Wikimedia affiliates, or sponsored by the library or cultural institution that hosts the residency.

The Wikimedia Alliances Fund program may support a residency that addresses knowledge gaps, or is in a location that isn’t already supported by an affiliate. In that case, depending on your local conditions, you might achieve more impact by working with a cohort of institutions, or a professional network, rather than being embedded in a single institution.

When proposing a Wikimedian in Residence role, consider how you will:

  • Engage a broader network of staff and peers
  • Engage with the Wikimedia community and its editors
  • Sustain the impact beyond the period of the residency

See this framework for Creating Wikimedian in Residence positions.

In-depth: Large content uploads[edit]

Sharing images, data, and other media files on Wikimedia platforms allows institutions to take advantage of the broad global audience on Wikipedia. When proposing a large upload project, cover the following questions:

Typical workflow of a large upload to Commons or Wikidata

Typical workflow of a large upload to Commons or Wikidata.
  • Are you addressing knowledge gaps on Wikimedia projects, or meeting other community content needs?
  • What format and volume of content will be uploaded to Wikimedia projects? (e.g. number of images or number of scanned pages)
  • Can the materials be provided under CC-BY-SA or freer licenses and unencumbered by other restrictions?
  • Which Wikimedia platforms do you plan to use?
  • What metadata will you provide to ensure that the material is discoverable on Wikimedia’s platforms? (You can improve multilingual discovery by using Structured Data on Commons.)
  • Will you be organizing events, campaigns, or other activities to encourage and support reuse of the content on Wikipedia and other projects?
  • Does your team understand the available tools and have the skills needed to organize batch uploads? If you will be improving or developing software, how will you document and share this?

Read this documentation of the workflow for data and media partnerships to check that you have covered all the steps involved.

In-depth: Digitization[edit]

When considering a digitization project, you should address the following questions:

  • Can you demonstrate that there is a funding gap for the digitization of cultural assets in your country or region? Usually, digitization projects are executed by cultural institutions themselves and funded through national, regional, or thematic grant programs. However, we recognise that such programs are not equally available everywhere.
  • Are you addressing knowledge gaps on Wikimedia projects, or meeting other community content needs?
  • What is the extent of the collection? Do you need to digitize it all, or would a selection of highlights, or a representative sample, be enough?
  • What is the type and condition of the materials, and how will you access, digitize, and document them? Your proposal must describe your proposed workflow and identify the documentation or expertise that you will rely on.
  • Can the materials be provided under CC-BY-SA or freer licenses and unencumbered by other restrictions?
  • Do you have a plan for maintaining the new digital files in perpetuity? Wikimedia Commons is not a platform for digital preservation because files can be deleted or removed by the community. Institutional repositories or the Internet Archive are more durable platforms for the preservation of these materials.
  • What is your plan for integrating the content into Wikimedia projects? (See the Large content uploads section). At the very least, you should capture sufficient metadata to make these materials easily discoverable for reuse.
  • If you need to purchase new equipment for digitization, your proposal should include a plan for its continued use for mission-aligned activities. For example, at the end of your project, you might donate it to your local affiliate, library, cultural institution, or community center.