Grants:Project/WMTR/Reintroducing Wikipedia to Turkey/Midpoint
Welcome to this project's midpoint report! This report shares progress and learning from the first half of the grant period.
In a few short sentences or bullet points, give the main highlights of what happened with your project so far.
- Group members received non-profit status for a new association called Dijital Bilgi Derneği (Digital Knowledge Association), based in Istanbul.
- The Wikipedia Education Program has been started in 5 courses at 3 different university departments in Turkey during October.
- Museums, archives and libraries mostly in Istanbul were visited and partnership opportunities explained.
- 4 different municipalities of Turkey were visited and the related departments of two of them were trained about Wikimedia projects.
- 7 online meetings with increasing participation have been held with the community members between July-October.
Methods and activities
How have you setup your project, and what work has been completed so far?
Describe how you've setup your experiment or pilot, sharing your key focuses so far and including links to any background research or past learning that has guided your decisions. List and describe the activities you've undertaken as part of your project to this point.
"Reintroducing Wikipedia to Turkey" is a project consisting of several parts:
- Establishing a non-profit organisation;
- Starting Wikipedia Education Program in Turkish universities;
- Meetings with local editor communities to strengthen them;
- Introducing Wikipedia to GLAM Institutions.
During summer, we have focused on completing the bureaucratic works related to establishment of the non-profit. After that the works on other parts continued in parallel. Two project manager organized those events. Below, please find the works that has been completed until November for each topic.
Getting Non-Profit Status
- A group of volunteers among user group members have filed with the Department of Associations within the Ministry of the Interior to set up a non-profit. Aligned with the requirements set by the By-law of Associations;
- certificate of incorporation was prepared;
- an office place was rented in İstanbul(required for providing address to the Ministry of the Interior);
- seven persons applied for establishing a non-profit association.
- The group got the non profit status for a new association called Dijital Bilgi Derneği (Digital Knowledge Association), based in Istanbul.
- Temporary board members of the association met several times and took decisions on getting a tax number, opening of the bank account, getting donations abroad; bureaucratic works with government offices related to those decisions were completed.
- The web site of the non-profit was established (Dijital Bilgi Derneği)
- The office of the association was visited by the government auditors and passed the inspection in October.
- New educational partners for carrying out the education program in their courses were searched and contacted.
- A small social media campaign to be displayed to academia members in selected universities was run.
- When some universities opened in Turkey during October, the Wikipedia Education Program started in 5 graduate and undergraduate courses. Wikipedians visited two courses in person, others were made online.
Meetings with local editor communities
The project included strengthening communication in local editor communities by organising local meetups in different cities. Since the pandemic does not allow such physical meetups, regular online meetings where community members from different places could join were organised. In the first half of the project, 7 online meetings were made. Differents formats were tried : informal chat and information-sharing; presentation by a community member for skill development; more structured meeting with invited guests and prize ceremony for wiki contest; meetings with the participation of potential partners. Meeting notes of each meeting is available here (in Turkish). 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Talks with GLAM Institutions
During the first half of the project partnership talks were made with below institutions:
- Pera Museum
- Goethe Institute Library
- İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) Digital Media Department
- Nilüfer Municipality Public Relations Department
- Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality Data Analysis and Statistics Department
- Kusadası Municipality Public Relations Department
Let us explain why we had talks with those institutions.
We prefered first contacting the Pera Museum, because we had a project with this museum years ago prior to the block of Wikipedia where QR Codes by the Orientalist Paintings Collection linked Wikipedia articles developed after an article contest. We first wanted to ensure that the codes would take visitors to Wikipedia pages again; which would have a symbolic value for "reintroducing Wikipedia to Turkey".
Secondly we visited the Library of Goethe Institute in Istanbul and suggested to have some events, because the librarian of that institution had supported our community during the block by joining our online meetings.
We wanted to work with Istanbul Metropolitan Municipalities (IBB), because they have very important libraries, museums and archives under their management; however we were not sure with which department we should contact and start from where. We were extremely happy when the Digital Media Department of IBB reached us and told us they want to work together and they could guide us in relations with all affiliates of the municipality. What took their attention was good media coverage related to our Wiki Loves Earth campaign.
We then contacted Bursa Nilufer and Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality because they are at where our project managers live and started to plan activities. Having IBB served as a good motivation for them. Per their demand, we made Wikimedia projects training for the personnel of related departments at Kocaeli and İstanbul Municipalities.
We wanted to work with Kuşadası Municipality because it is a very touristic small town and we wanted to try a good case about improving content about touristic places in Wikipedia.
What are the results of your project or any experiments you’ve worked on so far?
Please discuss anything you have created or changed (organized, built, grown, etc) as a result of your project to date.
- Established a non-profit organisation that would support Wikimedia related work in Turkey.
- The Wikipedia Education Program, the most important activity of the user group before Wikipedia was blocked in Turkey, was initiated after the lifting of the block.
- Agreed on a yearly plan with Pera Museum, Istanbul for making activities for developing the content in Turkish wikipedia related to the theme of the temporary exhibitions of the museum and getting image donations from the artists with the help of the museum. QR Codes of Orientalist Paintings Collection delivers Wikipedia pages to visitors again!
- Agreed on making an edit-a-thon at SEKA Documentation Center, Kocaeli.
- Agreed on making a wiki-project "Nilüfer'in Köyleri" (Villages of Nilüfer) by using the documentation made available by Nilüfer Municipality.
Please take some time to update the table in your project finances page. Check that you’ve listed all approved and actual expenditures as instructed. If there are differences between the planned and actual use of funds, please use the column provided there to explain them.
Then, answer the following question here: Have you spent your funds according to plan so far? Please briefly describe any major changes to budget or expenditures that you anticipate for the second half of your project.
The major change in the budget was that; the original budget included 2560$ expenditure for the university events; but we did not use this budget wherefore the university courses are being made at distance and therefore requested a budget change to use that amount for equipment needed to join courses online.
The best thing about trying something new is that you learn from it. We want to follow in your footsteps and learn along with you, and we want to know that you are taking enough risks to learn something really interesting! Please use the below sections to describe what is working and what you plan to change for the second half of your project.
What are the challenges
What challenges or obstacles have you encountered? What will you do differently going forward? Please list these as short bullet points.
- The uncertainties related to changes in life due to pandemic was a major challenge. The project includes carrying out the Wikipedia Education Program in 16 courses; however during the summer the instructors we have touched with were hesitant about adding something new to their schedule because they didn’t know the calendar, the method of the lessons (offline or online, synchronized vs asynchronous). As a result, there were moments we worried that it would not be possible to make the program at all; on the other hand there were times we worried that the number of students doing assignments will be higher than we could handle. At the end we learn to leave things to time and be more flexible.
- The uncertainties also affected the talks with GLAM institutions. The libraries and cultural institutions had to redesign their programs and working methods because of the pandemic. The potential partnership projects we suggested were new to them and all received positively but we saw that when it comes to actually carrying out a project, it takes more time than we think. We also see that after the lifting of the block, some institutions are still hesitant to do something related with Wikipedia, before moving on, they first want to see another similar institution of theirs have made a similar partnership with wikipedians. We learn giving time, being patient and keeping contact.
- We did a small social media campaign to promote the Wikipedia Education Program and wanted to see if it is effective in getting applications from educators. We could not effectively use and understand the effects of the campaign. Next time, we would need to get support about this or develop our competency about managing social media campaigns.
What is working well
What have you found works best so far? To help spread successful strategies so that they can be of use to others in the movement, rather than writing lots of text here, we'd like you to share your finding in the form of a link to a learning pattern.
Next steps and opportunities
What are the next steps and opportunities you’ll be focusing on for the second half of your project? Please list these as short bullet points.
- Carrying out Wikipedia Education Program in more courses.
- Carrying out an edit-a-thon with the partnership of one of the GLAM Institutions we have partnership talks with.
We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on how the experience of being an grantee has been so far. What is one thing that surprised you, or that you particularly enjoyed from the past 3 months?
- Being a grantee allowed the project group more time on organising and carrying out wiki projects.
- It becomes clear how in the past, Wikipedians remained as a small and very unreachable community. And during the past 3 months, it was good to see this is changing. For long time it was us who had to knock on the doors and try to explain who we were. And it's good to see that, slow by slow some people or institutions are actually knocking the door of wikimedians! Istanbul Municipality was a good example of such situation. We also had some instructors who heard about the Wikipedia Education Program and wanted to contact; there have been journalists who wanted to get in touch to understand better how it was edited before using the information on wikipedia. We are still getting surprised when someone reach us. Many members of the community value anonymity very much but it's clear that there must be some non-wiki mechanisms for people to use for being able to contact the community. We are glad to see that such mechanisms are developing.