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Grants:PEG/SarahStierch, HstryQT, Peteforsyth - GLAM-WIKI US/GLAMcamp DC/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY 2011-12 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
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Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement? Yes.

Project Goal


The goal of GLAMcamp DC was to bring together Wikimedians and GLAM representatives active in GLAM-Wikimedia partnerships to further develop programming, documentation and outreach infrastructure essential to continuing and building GLAM partnerships within the United States. In addition to establishing strategies and goals specific to the US GLAM initiative, this event aimed to build upon the work completed at previous GLAMcamps, further enforcing the objectives of the GLAM-Wiki community as a whole.

While prior GLAMcamps involved participants from the global GLAM-Wiki movement, GLAMcamp DC was specifically focused on energizing the United States GLAM-Wiki community, which had previously lacked the structure required to address current interest from cultural organizations.



The GLAMcamp model is distinct from GLAM-WIKI conferences: they are small, production-intensive worshops, as opposed to the larger, outreach-focused conferences. They aim to bring together Wikipedians and cultural professionals already engaged with Wikipedia, in order to create tools and documentation to support future GLAM efforts.

In May 2011, GLAMcamp New York brought together highly active volunteers in the GLAM-Wiki movement who brainstormed ideas for global standards and best practices for GLAM-Wikimedia partnerships. GLAMcamp London took place shortly after and was focused on local organization through Wikimedia:UK. GLAMcamp Amsterdam took place in December 2011, following consensus within the GLAM-Wiki community that more time was needed to work together on standards for GLAM partnerships. This event was much larger than GLAMcamp New York, and succeeded in bringing together a wider range of participants from Europe.

Description of activities





  • Early discussion of scope


  • Confirmed date, venue, lodging, and preliminary budget.
  • Submitted grant request.


  • Grant approved, organizers’ roles clarified.
  • Finalized process for participant application & dispersal of travel funds.


  • Invited attendees simultaneous through list servs and via direct invitation.
  • Solicited sponsorship from Creative Commons for Saturday night happy hour event.
  • Participant application submissions and review.


  • Acceptance of attendees.
  • Grant funded (January 13).
  • Book attendee travel (completed by Jan. 14).
  • Confirm lodging details and group dinner reservations.
  • Confirm Smithsonian tour details and GLAM-Wiki Meet Up details.
  • Finalize schedule and key deliverables.
  • Finalize Event Info Packet pdf & distribute to attendees.
  • Create Event Brite site for GLAM Meet-Up and promote via social media.


  • Invitations to specific local GLAM professionals to the Meet Up.
  • Final informational email to attendees.

Application process


A unique component of GLAMcamp DC was the requirement of all attendees to apply to participate. We were deliberate in maintaining a maximum of 25 participants (30 including organizers and Wikimedia staff), which allowed the event to remain focused and manageable. In order to maintain this low number of attendees, we required all interested participants to fill out an application. This application included prompts regarding prior experience in Wikimedia, GLAM, or other outreach events, as well as goals for future GLAM involvement.

See Pete’s blog post, GLAMcamp DC part 1: planning for further details.

Participant criteria / expectations


We did not require attendees to have past experience in GLAM, but they had to illustrate an interest in learning and in remaining engaged after the event. We included a listing of desired characteristics for participants, which helped guide those filling out applications with what we were looking for. We also would use these characteristics if it came down to having to choose between applications.

Establishing US-focus for the event presented a messaging challenge, because the more well-known NYC and Amsterdam GLAMcamps had been global in scope. We wanted to ensure that we had a strong group of US and North America-based participants, but it did prove valuable to include some international attendees, due to their broad background in GLAM-Wiki outreach.

One of our favorite outcomes: laughing Wikipedians and GLAM people. Photo by Alex Hinojo, CC-BY-SA.

The language we used in the applications served four purposes:

  • To guide our selection of the 25 participants. (In this case, however, the number of serious applicants happened to match the number of available slots exactly.)
  • To gather logistical information about potential participants (e.g. identify funding needs for travel and lodging, identify who was committed to participating all three days, etc.)
  • To clearly establish our expectations of event participants (e.g. communicating the perceived issues in GLAMwiki that needed addressing, suggesting that participants seek out their own funding, that they come in a productive frame of mind.)
  • To help the organizers to get to know the interests, experience, and background of each attendee.

The background information we were able to gather through the applications informed our design of the event, and surfaced networking opportunities and potential partnerships among participants.

Communication & travel resources


Following the example of GLAMcamp Amsterdam, we prepared wiki pages and an extensive PDF Information Packet on travel logistics, what to bring, options for food, and local attractions. Participants found the level of detail in the packets useful; the packets were also valuable to the organizers as a resource for quickly resolving questions about logistics and keeping our attention on the program, immediately before and also during the event.

We used Google Docs heavily in event planning, giving organizers and participants ready access to the same information. Some of the more important documents were:

  • GLAMcamp Budget: A spreadsheet with multiple sheets: budget as approved, running total of payments, travel sheet, hostel sheet. (Organizers only)
  • GLAMcamp Applications: A word document containing all applications, supporting a strong understanding of who we were going to be working with. (Organizers only)
  • GLAMcamp To-Do List: A word document as rolling “to-do list.” (Organizers only)
  • GLAMcamp Attendees: A spreadsheet with information on participants’ names, usernames, emails, etc. (with some exceptions due to privacy concerns). (All participants)

Travel booking / funds dispersal


We agreed early on that any task that could be completed prior to the event, should be, so that we could keep focused on the program, rather than logistics, during the event; this meant, for instance, booking plane tickets directly, rather than asking people to book them individually and processing reimbursement requests afterward. This decision proved very beneficial; in addition to the desired result, it helped us maintain a very clear ongoing perception of the status of our budget.

Applicants were asked to estimate their own travel expenses, and the number of nights they would want to stay in the hostel, in the application. These inputs were included in the spreadsheets, in order to refine our initial estimate (from the grant request) and check the budget. We were happy to learn that the funds would be well within our estimates, eliminating the need to either turn away applicants or request additional grant funds.

The timing of the grant fund distribution was very tight; as a result, we missed a 30 day deadline with the hostel to make a group reservation (which increased the cost a little, and caused many logistical challenges during the event due to the hostel’s internal confusion), and we had a very tight window within which to book flights before prices went up (typically 3 weeks before travel). In hindsight, the hostel’s distinction between a “group sale” (requiring 30 day advance payment) and regular booking was significant; we would have avoided many logistical headaches if we had been booked as a group. This may be a worthwhile point to keep in mind if booking future events with Hostelling International.

At the Wikimedia Foundation’s suggestion, funds were deposited into a personal checking account to be used only for the administration of the grant. (A couple of personal transactions were conducted during the event, but few enough so that the bank statements will clearly reflect the bank activity.)



Opening facilitation

Pete leads the introductions. Photo by Benoit Rochon, CC-BY-SA.

For the initial introduction, it was important to us that we help the group get to know each other, and quickly adopt a shared understanding of the issues we were working to address. We had an initial understanding of the issues, but were eager to have the group put its own imprint, and begin to engage creatively with how to best address the problems. Pete designed and facilitated the following process, with important input from Eugene Eric Kim of Groupaya:

  • Lori's brief (15 min) overview of the issues we were seeking to take on,
  • Leaving laptops behind, we gathered in a circle for a round of brief (one sentence) introductions
  • Each participant paired up with a stranger, for a more in-depth introduction (8 min)
  • Each pair joined another pair, continued introductions, began exploring project ideas (15 min)
  • Groups of 8 continued discussing, began categorizing ideas, took notes on butcher paper (25 min)
  • Each group of eight selected one or two people to report back to the whole group.

During the discussions, Pete floated among the groups, getting to know the participants by listening in, and occasionally suggesting ideas originating with one group to another as they composed their notes.

The selection and design of the event are documented on the following blog posts and wiki pages:

In addition, to provide some guiding language in case any significant social problems should occur during the event, we prepared a Friendly space policy, based on a document produced by Sumana Harihareswara for hackathons. We are pleased to report that, apart from some concern expressed in emails before the event about the imposition the document represented, we had no need to refer to the policy.

GLAM-Wiki orientation


On Friday afternoon we presented on GLAM Outreach Basics (Sarah Stierch and Alex Hinojo) and the current state of online GLAM-Wiki documentation (Lori Phillips). It was important to orient those attendees who were new to the GLAM-Wiki community, but eager to contribute; and also to establish a common understanding of the current state of things among, and with the input of, more experienced GLAM-Wiki people.

GLAM Outreach Basics illustrated the types of events the GLAM community has conducted in the past, including case studies of both successes and challenges. The GLAM-Wiki Documentation session highlighted current resources, and prompted discussion of what needed be improved and what conclusions had been reached already (at prior GLAMcamps and elsewhere.)

There was much value in the Wikipedians and cultural professionals who were new to GLAM-Wiki coming together with participants who have been highly involved in GLAM. This transfer of knowledge was one of the event’s more important outcomes, and it was first facilitated by these two presentations. New participants began with an understanding of others’ knowledge, and were able to identify their own goals. They gained confidence and were bolder in their suggestions and their abilities to complete tasks.

Self-directed groups

Kicking butt and taking notes. Photo by Benoit Rochon, CC-BY-SA.

On Saturday and Sunday, we invited participants to self-organize into groups focusing on the specific tasks identified during the opening exercise.

These included groups working on the one-pager, a redesign of the GLAM/US portal, coordination of master contact lists, and those focusing on technical tools such as the Wikipedia citation tool and the image upload case study.

We had a second, smaller room, where technical projects and hacking found a home. We had encouraged some of the hackers to start Friday afternoon, skipping the introductory sessions that were not especially relevant to their work.

During these sessions, we found that it was important for the facilitator to spend most of the time drifting from one group to the next, listening in and offering the occasional suggestion where efforts were overlapping or related, and checking in with participants who were having difficulty finding a task appropriate to their skills or interests. Such cases were the exception, but we found they were easy to correct if we were checking in. We learned this the “hard way,” as Pete got very involved with the GLAM/US portal on Saturday; during a breakfast meeting Sunday morning, Pete and Lori discussed the results of that decision and agreed that Pete needed to step back from active work on projects and play a more strongly focused facilitation role. (Link to Pete's (second?) Blog)

Participant appreciation

The organizer team rambling on, yet again. Photo by User:Slowking4, CC-BY-SA.

Organizers selected 5 standout participants to receive T-shirts and other swag. Organizers met Sunday afternoon to agree who would get the prizes. We felt a bit strange about this, but agreed that taking up valuable group work time to coordinate a more democratic approach would have been too high a cost. We heard no complaints about our authoritarian approach in the event feedback. We also had a little left-over swag; we invited participants to spontaneously express appreciation for anyone they felt deserved it, and give away the remaining swag themselves. This approach prompted some heartfelt statements of appreciation from participants, and seemed very well received overall.

Social events and networking

GLAMcamp participants soaking up knowledge in the vaults of the National Archives. Photo by Alex Hinojo, CC-BY-SA.

GLAMcamp DC included several events outside the main program, including a guided tour or “Backstage Pass” in the National Archives[1] and a behind the scenes look at the Archives’ stacks. On Friday evening, the group had a private tour of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Lunder Conservation Center. On Saturday evening, Creative Commons sponsored a private GLAM-Wiki Meet Up at a local coffee shop, which brought in local cultural professionals and museum studies students to network with the GLAMcamp attendees. Throughout the weekend, optional group dinners were coordinated by the organizers, including a welcome dinner upon arrival and a farewell dinner on Sunday evening. These events all served to further coalesce the group and provided additional time for sharing experiences and networking in general.



Wikipedia citation tool

The site openlibrary.org has long had a tool that permits easily exporting a book's citation template in Wikipedia-friendly format.

The Wikipedia citation tool is a citation engine for MARC library records. Inspired by several cases where sites installed a tool of their own, this web browser extension will allow users to obtain a citation for the use on a specific language version of Wikipedia from any online library catalog, rather than depending on the database to provide this option to users.[2][3]

Bulk Upload Documentation


The Walters Art Museum has stepped up as the first cultural organization to directly work with Wikimedians to develop a documented process for uploading images to Commons. What has been called the “bulk upload tool” has been re-envisioned as a set of easy to understand tools and best practices that can be replicated by cultural organizations. The Walters’ collection is being used as a case study for this process, which will continue to be developed over the coming months.[2] The image upload will be completed in the coming weeks.[4]

GLAM/US portal


A team worked to improve the layout and flow of the new GLAM/US portal (on the English language Wikipedia), which will serve as the hub for connecting cultural organizations with Wikimedia volunteers based on location or project type. Emphasis was placed on making the landing page easily digestible for GLAM decision makers, with less emphatic links to more details for Wikimedia volunteers and cultural professionals looking for deeper resources and case studies.[2]

The shortcut URL us.glamwiki.org now redirects to the GLAM US portal.

GLAM: Connect


Ideas were further developed for the GLAM Connect page, which will serve as the space for Wikimedian volunteer sign-up and for cultural professionals to seek out individuals to assist with both online and on-location projects. A state-based system for localized contacts and resources is being piloted, as well as a master list of professional organization contacts. Additionally, the GLAM-Wiki US Facebook page was created in an effort to better share information with specific audiences.

Specific pages produced include:

GLAM: Bookshelf


Cultural professionals in attendance assisted with listing documentation needs and reviewing existing resources, while Wikimedians with experience in GLAM projects worked to create and upload high-need documentation. The GLAM Bookshelf will serve as a space to compile these handouts, powerpoints, videos, and on-wiki guides that can assist Wikimedians and cultural professionals with GLAM partnerships.

Documentation deliverables include:

GLAM One-Pager

The one-page brochure produced at GLAMcamp DC.

In preparation for upcoming presentations at GLAM conferences, a group worked to complete a two-sided handout directed at GLAM professionals. The GLAM one-pager provides an overview of GLAM-Wiki information, including case stories on current partnerships, pull quotes from GLAM professionals, and contact information. A side effect of this one-pager was the creation of a GLAM style guide, which will serve to establish clear terminology and branding of GLAM concepts such as “Wikipedian in Residence” and “Backstage Pass.”



There were many photos taken during the event; Benoit, Àlex, and Jim were especially prolific. Photos from the workshop can be found in Commons Category:GLAMcamp DC. You will also find sub-categories there for photos of note pages from throughout the event, photos of the National Archives building, and photos from the Backstage Pass event in the Archives.

Blogging & write ups


Lessons learned




When asked in a post-event survey, “What aspect of GLAMcamp could be improved?” , a number of respondents pointed to the lack of coffee and tea on-site. This was indeed an issue throughout our planning. Beyond our initial underestimation of catering costs at the venue, we also had great difficulty coordinating with the venue staff. Many of our communications went unheard, whether due to email problems or short attention spans, we are not certain. The end result was catered snacks that were very expensive and insufficient; however, we believe that having engaged the caterer permitted us to bring our own drinks and snacks (not formally allowed by the venue), which mitigated the problem.



Respondents also commented on the need for additional pre-planning for goals and deliverables. This was an interesting point, because the organizers repeatedly pointed people to the planning page on Meta prior to the event, with very few people engaging in the discussion surrounding topics and deliverables to focus on. Perhaps in the future more attendees will find value in this ahead of time, and be more prone to participating ahead of the event; or perhaps there are better ways to encourage advance engagement.

There is also the point about achieving a balance between the typical open flow of a Wikipedia event and the expectation to have strong deliverables from the beginning. These two ideas seem to be at odds, but we believe that GLAMcamp came close to bringing the two together. Since there were multiple requests to be even more focused on deliverables, we’ll likely be more deliberate in future events, with less fear of straying from “the wiki way” of leaving things more open-ended. In general, we consider the positive reception for an event with careful planning and more structure than past GLAMcamps a very positive development, opening the door to wider variety in the planning of similar events in the future.

It would be ideal to plan more deliberately for an on-site visit at the venue prior to the event beginning. While we did do this for GLAMcamp DC, it was a last minute suggestion and we were not afforded enough time to ensure that all of the loose ends had indeed been tied up.

One important detail: although NARA assured us that wireless Internet would be provided, we were not aware until after the event had begun that many ports (including those for SSH, IRC chat, and some mail protocols) were blocked. This impacted the technical team most strongly, but also interrupted the communication habits of many participants.

Technical track coordination


We did not initially include a lead organizer for the technical hacking in our plans; doing so would have helped greatly. We engaged one of the participants, Danny B., to play this role late in the planning process; his help was invaluable, in that it helped the original organizers keep our attention on the documentation and social aspects of the event, while staying up-to-date on the technical projects in progress. Planning for the technical aspects of this event was met with challenges due to the current climate of technical needs in the GLAM-Wiki sphere.

Funding for social events


In the grant request, we did not plan for evening social events. The main events we were able to put together were a “backstage pass” event at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, which was free of charge; and a happy hour event sponsored by Creative Commons. Sarah planned the logistics for these events, and also prepared reservations for several social outings that were at the participants’ own expense. While these plans ended up coming off successfully in the end, the organizers met with difficulty in securing sites without a budget to reserve the spaces. Since these events, especially the GLAM-Wiki Meet Up, were so successful, we would recommend funding for them be solicited in advance for future events.



When asked, “What was the most valuable component of GLAMcamp DC?” every single respondent gave a response related to meeting in person, collaborating, and the opportunity to come together to accomplish tasks. Specifically, respondents pointed to the opening orientation activities as important in bringing together the participants and sharing ideas, followed by a narrow focus on goals for the weekend. As one person stated, “<The most valuable component of GLAMcamp was> putting together different ideas in one room and making them happen.”

In a podcast following the event (link forthcoming), the organizers agreed that the small group of selected participants went far in maintaining a focused atmosphere, which supported the completion of a number of significant outcomes. It really was impressive to see the level of work that resulted from the weekend, and continued in the weeks after the event.



Increased reach: The advancement of partnerships with GLAMs, who generally have an aligned goal of broadly reaching the public, serves this goal. Relationships with the GLAMs that participated directly in the event were deepened, and by generally providing new means for cultural professionals to more easily connect with Wikipedians, we served this goal to increase the impact of our outreach both online and on-location in cultural institutions.

Increased quality: The engagement of experts in the GLAM community, in the long run, serves to improve the quality of Wikipedia and Wikimedia content. In the short term, the engagement of a number of highly active Wikipedians served to increase the quality of GLAM-related content within the English Wikipedia project space, namely the introductory pages of the new GLAM US portal. This space will serve to orient both Wikimedians and GLAM professionals who are looking for information on US-focused GLAM projects. The increased clarity of this set of pages will go far in making it easier to connecting cultural professionals with Wikimedians, which then leads to the related goal of increased and diversified participation.

Increased credibility: Having GLAMs understand Wikipedia’s values, mission, and production process helps them to work alongside us both in content generation/improvement, and in advocating around the projects’ credibility. The GLAM personnel directly involved in the project advanced in their appreciation for Wikipedia, and additionally, the improved ability to support GLAMs more generally will serve this goal. The participation of GLAM professionals also led to future plans for sharing about Wikimedia among staff or more broadly on blogs. For instance, the Maryland Institute of Technology in the Humanities shared about GLAMcamp, and the Library of Congress is planning a blog highlighting GLAM projects. This kind of publicity goes far in increasing the credibility of the GLAM-Wiki movement and of Wikimedia as a whole.

Increased and diversified participation: This is perhaps the strongest area of potential impact. GLAMs traditionally have a higher percentage of women than Wikipedia editors, and many GLAMs specifically target underrepresented demographics. In our event, we had 11 women, 20 men; far from a perfect balance, but certainly an improvement over Wikipedia’s gender imbalance. Perhaps more significantly, we believe that by cultivating an environment based in mutual respect and shared values, we are propelling Wikipedia in a direction that will be more palatable to underrepresented demographics.

Reporting and documentation of expenditures


Documentation of expenditures has been received by WMF.

A request for reallocation of remaining funds has been submitted by the grantee and approved by WMFon the discussion page of this grant report.

Remaining funds from this grant have been returned to WMF in the amount of US$ 470.95.

Did you send WMF documentation of all expenses paid for with grant funds? Forthcoming

Details of expenditures:

Category Description Spent Budgeted Over/(Under)
Venue Venue, Internet connection, some office supplies were in-kind donation from NARA 0 0 0
Accommodations includes breakfast (combined 2 rows from original budget) 2,115.00 2,240 (125.00)
Per diem includes lunch, dinner, incidentals, metro (combined 2 rows from original budget) 3,087.00 3,675 (588.00)
Travel 3,417.00 4,000 (583.00)
Miscellaneous [1] Snacks, drinks, meeting supplies, taxis 908.05 250 658.05
Total 9,527.05 10,165 (637.95)
[1] See the original grant talk page for an approved request to increase this amount. The total approved amount was $875, which we exceeded by $33.05. Taxi fares, also approved on that page, account for the overage.

Will you be requesting re-allocation of remaining grant funding? No

Will you be returning unused funds to the Wikimedia Foundation? Yes: $637.95

Next steps


In the GLAMcamp feedback survey, attendees stated what they will be working on in the future. It was encouraging to see the level of enthusiasm for moving forward with establishing cultural partnerships in the US. Nearly every respondent stated that they would promote the resources in the GLAM-US portal, connecting with cultural professionals, and remaining involved in GLAM-Wikimedia outreach. Many also noted that they were now confident in moving forward with organizing their own local events with cultural institutions, based on what they had learned at GLAMcamp. Edit-a-Thons have already been held, using resources produced at GLAMcamp. The US Cultural Partnerships Coordinator will be following up with all attendees who stated a specific task to ensure that these outcomes are completed or are moving forward effectively.


See also the section above, #Blogging & write ups


Will you be requesting an extension or were you granted an extension? No

Please link to related grant proposals here: None closely tied (though this is related to GLAMcamp NYC which was funded by this program).