Grants:Project/Public Domain Day event toolkit

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statusnot selected
Public Domain Day event toolkit
summaryPublic Domain Day is 1 January every year when media enters the public domain after the expiration of its term of copyright. This proposal seeks to package documentation, tools, and collections so that any community group can more easily present their own event for this holiday.
targetcross-language and cross wiki scope, but Wikimedia Commons primarily
type of granttools and software
type of applicantorganization
contact• Bmw9t (_AT_)
affiliateScholar's Lab at the University of Virginia Library
created on18:12, 8 October 2018 (UTC)

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

What problem are you trying to solve by doing this project? This problem should be small enough that you expect it to be completely or mostly resolved by the end of this project. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

The public domain in United States in 2019 will bring a great social change as for the first time since 1998 the term of United States copyright for media works can expire. This will be the start of an annual tradition, as now every January another year of media counting from 1923 forward will enter the public domain. American public domain matters for the global Wikimedia community because the Wikimedia publishing platform can only host works which are free to use in the United States.

At the University of Virginia, we are taking advantage of this event to educate our local community about the possibilities these materials offer for new research and teaching by hosting a series of Public Domain events. By offering case studies in the uses of open culture for digital research, workshops in how to take advantage of new materials, and Wikipedia edit-a-thons, we hope to engage our community in the creative use of these new materials. But we are just one institution. Other organizations that might host their own Public Domain Day event, particularly those that might draw on a Wikimedia partnership, might find a lack of targeted infrastructure to be a barrier. Without systematic guidance in building programming, resources, and a community engaged with questions of open culture, local organizers might have difficulty determining where to start.

What is your solution?[edit]

For the problem you identified in the previous section, briefly describe your how you would like to address this problem. We recognize that there are many ways to solve a problem. We’d like to understand why you chose this particular solution, and why you think it is worth pursuing. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

Building out infrastructure for events promoting understanding and use of the public domain would make it easier for more groups at other institutions to organize events with this theme. We will, thus, leverage the legal changes in the United States bringing content into the public domain yearly starting in January 2019 to begin immediate programming pertaining to the topic. At the same time, funding this project would allow us to hire two university students to develop summer research projects dedicated to documenting the process, building infrastructure, and promoting an engaged community on campus. By engaging students, in particular, in this work we hope to build interest and engagement with Wikimedia among our community on campus while simultaneously cross promoting the concepts of public domain, Wikimedia projects, and Creative Commons.

Project goals[edit]

What are your goals for this project? Your goals should describe the top two or three benefits that will come out of your project. These should be benefits to the Wikimedia projects or Wikimedia communities. They should not be benefits to you individually. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

  • free, publicly available toolkit available online for use by other institutions documenting our efforts and how they might be replicated
  • case study of usage at the library developing the toolkit, the University of Virginia
  • sharing of the toolkit in Wikimedia projects to create more events at other institutions
  • publicity for the public domain, Wikimedia projects, and Creative Commons
  • increased student engagement with both the public domain and Wikimedia

Project impact[edit]

How will you know if you have met your goals?[edit]

For each of your goals, we’d like you to answer the following questions:

  1. During your project, what will you do to achieve this goal? (These are your outputs.)
  2. Once your project is over, how will it continue to positively impact the Wikimedia community or projects? (These are your outcomes.)

For each of your answers, think about how you will capture this information. Will you capture it with a survey? With a story? Will you measure it with a number? Remember, if you plan to measure a number, you will need to set a numeric target in your proposal (e.g. 45 people, 10 articles, 100 scanned documents). Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

The first outcome of this project will be the Public Domain Day event toolkit which student workers develop in summer 2019. Characteristics of this include the following:

  • publication of documentation pages to assist any community group in organizing a Public Domain Day event
Target - 5 workflow documentation sets created
  • curation of tools for engagement with public domain media. These tools will be a mix of on-Wikimedia tools and off-Wikimedia resources common to libraries and archives.
Target - 1 toolkit page
  • Count of Wikimedia community member comments to a level which demonstrates community feedback
Target - feedback from 10 Wikimedia community members, or similar to the amount of feedback from a Community Wishlist Survey 2017 proposal

The second outcome of this project will be various community groups listing themselves as celebrating Public Domain Day with Wikimedia projects in January 2020.

  • We will track and report anyone participating in Public Domain Day 2020 through the standard process at Grants:Metrics
Target: 200 total participants, 100 newly created accounts, 500 pages created or improved
  • We collect whatever information we can to report how institutions invest their own money and resources to present Public Domain Day events with registered Wikimedia affiliation and theming. A metric from this will be a dollar amount.
Target: $75,000 in sponsorship for Wikimedia themed events in 2020

Do you have any goals around participation or content?[edit]

Are any of your goals related to increasing participation within the Wikimedia movement, or increasing/improving the content on Wikimedia projects? If so, we ask that you look through these three metrics, and include any that are relevant to your project. Please set a numeric target against the metrics, if applicable. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

  • preliminary research through January 2019 - no funding requested for this
    • Solicit for anyone to organize events even before tools developed
    • Target: 30 total participants, 10 newly created accounts, 50 pages created or improved
  • events hosted in January 2020 - funding would cover summer 2019 to prepare
    • Target: 200 total participants, 100 newly created accounts, 500 pages created or improved

Project plan[edit]


Tell us how you'll carry out your project. What will you and other organizers spend your time doing? What will you have done at the end of your project? How will you follow-up with people that are involved with your project?

Public Domain and Wikipedia Programming

This project engages with ongoing work at the University of Virginia aimed at educating the local community on how changes to copyright laws offer new opportunities for engaging with cultural materials. Current plans include:

  • Public domain exhibition in conjunction with Special Collections at the University of Virginia Library
  • Workshops exploring the use of public domain materials for digital research
  • Wikipedia edit-a-thon's themed around particular library collections

These events are currently offered primarily in the spring and can be considered road testing for the work that would be undertaken given successful funding of this program. Successful funding of this project would enable us to expand these offerings over the summer, reach more students, and document the work for easier delivery in the future.

Development of a Public Domain Toolkit

The centerpiece of the project will be the development of a toolkit for events engaging in Wikimedia, the public domain, and open culture. In doing so, we follow on the example of projects like The Nimble Tents Toolkit, a project developed by the digital library community to document one-off events responding to emergent cultural crises. Developing a similar project for engaging higher education institutions in the public domain and Wikimedia will help to build infrastructure for institutions with fewer resources to develop their own programming. We imagine this toolkit documenting at least three of the following components:

  • Connecting public domain materials to Wikipedia
  • Building a local community engaged with free culture and Wikipedia
  • Fair use and digital research
  • Workshops on how to use public domain materials for digital research

These components may shift with the participation of the students, as we will actively encourage them to connect their own research interests to the project. Each of these events will provide public documentation, usable by others, of events road-tested on the University of Virginia campus.

Student Engagement

The project will be carried out by two students at the University of Virginia who will be hired to work on the initiative over the summer. Additionally, these students have administrative limits on the amount of funding and extra-curricular employment they can undertake during their degree programs. These restrictions and student time commitments are more intense during the academic year, so the summer is the ideal time for engaging student work. In addition to the activities and direct deliverables devoted to the public domain toolkit, the development of these student workers as engaged participants in the Wikimedia community is a goal for the project. These students will be mentored by the project participants in this regard, and they will be encouraged to publicly reflect on their activities pertaining to the project in the hope that doing so will encourage a culture of engagement with the public domain, creative commons, and Wikimedia at the University of Virginia and in higher education more generally.

Conference Participation

Our student workers will be encouraged to travel to conferences to present their ongoing work with the project. Likely candidates for these presentations are 2019 conference sessions of the Wikimedia Summit, OpenCon, Digital Library Federation Forum, or the Association for Computers in the Humanities. These events represent a cross section of Wikimedian, open culture, and digital library communities, exactly the groups we imagine this project bringing into conversation and collaboration with one another. Conference presentations at these events will help promote the toolkit and encourage similar events at other institutions.


How you will use the funds you are requesting? List bullet points for each expense. (You can create a table later if needed.) Don’t forget to include a total amount, and update this amount in the Probox at the top of your page too!

  • 10,000 - compensation for 2 students, $5000 each
  • 610 - Hourly benefits for student compensation at rate of 6.1%
  • 2.000 - 2 students, $1000 each - documentation and presentation expenses, including conference travel to present on the project
  • 5232 - 5% of Project Director's salary to support consultation on design, technical, management, and administrative questions.
  • 3568 - 20% required administrative overhead. The University of Virginia Library is eligible to apply for external grants only through the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) which may sign as the legal authority, Rector and the Board of Visitors.  The 20% administrative overhead is for OSP serving as a fiscal sponsor.

Community engagement[edit]

Community input and participation helps make projects successful. How will you let others in your community know about your project? Why are you targeting a specific audience? How will you engage the community you’re aiming to serve during your project?
In an abstract sense, the project aims to engage both the Wikimedian community and institutions of higher education. These two audiences have much to offer each other when connected through the lenses of the public domain and uses of open culture for scholarly research. In terms of more concrete, specific constituencies, we are hoping to use our local campus as a case study for the toolkit and the event programming it aims to develop. In addition to audiences interested in the domain-specific content of a public culture, we imagine the project being of heavy interest to the University Library, Special Collections, digital humanities, and scholarly communications communities on campus. By providing documentation for engaging local audiences, the project can lay the foundation for other institutions to grow their own local communities.

We will solicit feedback from Wikimedia community groups for the project and encourage our students to engage the Wikimedia community, both to benefit the project as well as to offer them a transformative experience for their future scholarly activities. Presentations at related conferences will allow us to seek out future collaborators and receive feedback from broad audiences about how our work might better engage a large number of people. In terms of engaging a local audience, we will perform assessments of both the workshops and the project as a whole so as to determine what is working, what is not, and what might be iteratively corrected in the toolkit documentation as we go.

Get involved[edit]


Please use this section to tell us more about who is working on this project. For each member of the team, please describe any project-related skills, experience, or other background you have that might help contribute to making this idea a success.

  • Program leads
    • Brandon Walsh, user:Bmw9t, Head of Graduate Programs in the Scholars' Lab at the University of Virginia Library, is the project lead and will organize the toolkit
    • Brandon Butler, user:Bc_butler, Director of Information Policy at the University of Virginia Library
    • Lane Rasberry, user:bluerasberry, Wikimedian in Residence at the Data Science Institute at the University of Virginia, will act as an adviser and commits to arrange for any Wikimedia reporting.

Community notification[edit]

Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. You are responsible for notifying relevant communities of your proposal, so that they can help you! Depending on your project, notification may be most appropriate on a Village Pump, talk page, mailing list, etc. Need notification tips?

Notified -


Do you think this project should be selected for a Project Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project below! (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the discussion page).

  • Support Support Obvious and logical to do when Wikimedia Commons asks for Public Domain works. I would also like to criticize WMF for weakly opposing the CLASSICS Act which passed last month. —Dispenser (talk) 12:10, 21 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Support. This project would be especially beneficial to the larger university library and archival community, and will help in the work of improving scholarly communications. With enough support this will allow important work to be duplicated at other locations, and will be appreciated by those of us in public university systems. I look forward to hearing about this work proceeds. Mozucat (talk) 14:29, 21 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Support. I agree with Dispenser and Mozucat that this work will benefit the larger university library and archival community, but beyond that it will benefit the larger Wikimedia community by bringing and enabling more awareness of the Public Domain concept and newly Public Domain works, and will consequently improve humanity through increased human knowledge and free access to those works, and it will possibly influence legislation to free more works sooner.   — Jeff G. ツ please ping or talk to me 12:29, 22 November 2018 (UTC)
  • the clock is ticking Slowking4 (talk) 03:47, 23 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Support. Good way to celebrate PDD 2019 Vulphere 05:34, 24 November 2018 (UTC)