Grants:PEG/Sofia Zoo and Bulgarian Wikipedians/Sofia Zoo Powered by Wikimedia/Report

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY 2011-12 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.

Compliance and completion[edit]

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?
Answer YES or NO.
Is your project completed?
Answer YES or NO.
Did you use any of the grant funds?
Answer YES or NO.

Activities and lessons learned[edit]

This section describes what the grantee did, and what the grantee learned from implementing the project. This section should be useful to others implementing similar projects and is an opportunity for the grantee to reflect on the project's performance.


Provide a detailed list of activities performed to complete this project, descriptions of these activities, and the amount of time spent on each activity. This section should also include a list of participants, or a link to pictures, blog posts, or videos from the project or event.
The project as initially submitted and approved was for 4 months, which soon turned rather insufficient for all the work involved, which required two 4-month prolongations, so the whole project lasted exactly for one year (1 May 2012 - 30 April 2013). Financial plans were, however, strict and the funding provided by WMF was almost completely spent by December 2012 (end of the second prolongation; only one expense for event organization is made in April 2013). During the last 4 months (January - April 2013) the team has only worked on Wikipedia content, and the final spendings in March 2013 were made from the co-funding provided from a voluntary source within the Bulgarian Wikimedia community.
The project included the following list of activities:
  • Preparing a list of biological species, exhibited in Sofia Zoo. This proved to be harder and longer job than it may sound, due to the constantly changing collection of exhibited animals. The Zoo obtains all smuggled animals, caught by the customs officers on entry/leaving the country borders; there are travelling exhibitions; animals are exchanged with other zoos, are born or die, etc.
  • Creating and/or developing the articles about them in Bulgarian Wikipedia. Based on the prepared list of exhibited species, we created a list of red and blue links for the articles about these species. A small team of Wikipedians (some having joined after the project start, some having dropped out) started contributing, although the significant volume of work done along this activity was in the final period of the project (December 2012-April 2013). Despite our initial intention to have the Zoo team contributing the writing articles in Wikipedia, this was impossible, mainly due to seasonal commitments (summer schools in zoology, etc.), as well as unexpected staff reductions in the Zoo, resulting in heavily increased workload for the people who remained. Thus, unfortunately, only one person from the Zoo's original project team from May 2012 has remained there by the end in April 2013, and this significantly influenced our work.
  • Creating information boards for all exhibited species, containing free graphical content from Wikimedia Commons, and QR codes to the respective articles in Wikipedia. The boards were placed in two templates: large boards (approx. A2 size) and small boards (approx. half A4 size), depending on the placement: in open air or in the Terrarium and Aquarium buildings. Both design templates were used as the legacy of a professional designer who in the past had volunteered for the Zoo and donated some paid copyrighted images of animals in wildlife. Given the high quality and relevance, and well settled copyright status of these images, the Zoo insisted to have them used on the boards. However, a very large portion of the boards contain freely licensed illustrations from Wikimedia Commons: a total number of 130 free images have been used and properly attributed. A small part of the images have been created by the Zoo staff, too, and some of these have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and illustrated Wikipedian articles, too. The QR codes were created from the Latin names of the species, starting from the English Wikipedia, and care was taken to have all of these Latin names as redirect pages in Bulgarian Wikipedia, too, as well as correctly link all BG articles to those existing elsewhere, first by interwikis, later on via Wikidata. Currently, all printed QR codes are correctly functioning. The texts were prepared by the Zoo's team, and a Wikipedian helped for proofreading them in both Bulgarian and English.
  • Printing and mounting the information boards. In comparison with all the activities, listed above, which required completely voluntary workload, the final activity, which consumed practically all the approved funding, was printing the information boards on durable PVC plates and mounting them on especially designed metal frameworks in front of every exhibited species. Both providers, of printing services and metal constructions, were kindly ensured with the help of Wikipedians, and the prices offered were the best possible, with no surplus commercial charge. For the printing, while negotiating the prices with the printing company, they kindly offered to contribute the 20% VAT tax, in order to have more copies printed for the same price.
The project is implicitly included in the "Analysis for opportunities of using information and communication technologies for improvement of the communication mechanisms in the context of Sofia's application for European Capital of Culture (Downloadable PDF)
A total number of 2000 flyers were printed for the official opening of the installed information boards (27-04-2013) and two large PVC boards for the two entrances of the Zoo, providing information about the project, the funding by Wikimedia Foundation, usage of QR codes by smartphones.
In March 2013, members of the Skopje Zoo's staff contacted the Sofia Zoo's staff and requested contacts with Macedonian Wikipedians, as well as showed interest to build on the gained experience and make a similar project with QR codes and Wikimedia contents in their venue, too. In the end of April 2013, together with the official end of the project, was carried the annual Zoo's Holiday, 27 April 2013. We used this opportunity to announce the results of the project.
As a positive side effect from the project, during the last 8 months, the Zoo team actively researched the possibilities to get support from Sofia Municipality and private Internet service providers, operating in the locality, for establishment of a "Free Wi/Fi Zone" on the territory of the Zoo. Unfortunately, there is no progress on this matter so far.
Practically, all the activities were being performed in parallel, and it is hard to estimate the precise amount of time spent on each.

Lessons learned[edit]

What lessons were learned that may help others succeed in similar projects? Consider the following questions and respond with 1 - 2 paragraphs.
What went well?
The reported project is the first Wikimedia funded project on the territory of Bulgaria, where, by now, there has not been established a Wikimedia Chapter. From this perspective, we have quite well made the estimation of the necessary resources to request from the WMF and properly managed the approved budget. It is also noteworthy that more than 35% co-funding was provided, which exceeds the approx. 30% co-funding that was initially ensured, and, in addition, it didn't come from a commercial source, but was provided by a dedicated long-term fellow Wikipedian.
Creating the large corpus of missing articles and improving the existing ones went relatively well, despite that it was generally an irregular process and many problems from various nature delayed and affected it negatively.
Although the members from the Zoo team did not become regularly contributing Wikipedians, they are now much more familiar with the specifics of Wikipedia, of the terms of use and free licensing, than ever before, and effectively became "Ambassadors" of the Wikimedia movement in their circles and media contacts.
Together we produced a long-term resource, that will support the Zoo's educational role in Bulgarian society, with stable references to Wikipedia as a valuable source in this highly relevant and friendly environment. The Zoo's future plans are to keep carefully maintaining the boards, and produce new ones, while acknowledging the support of the Wikimedia Foundation, and promoting the results of the project in future publications and presentations.

What did not go well?
The fact that we twice requested prolongation of the project period means that the project had its weaknesses on both the planning and the implementation stages. The two major problems (and correlated ones) concern the human resources and the time scheduling/management.
None of the members of Wikipedian team had had long-term contacts with the Zoo's staff before applying for the project, and when writing the project proposal and the project's time parameters, there was no full awareness of all job duties and seasonal dynamics in the Zoo. In the EERC unit, a lot of summer schools in zoology are organized for schoolchildren, who, on one side, are an important target group for the project, but on the other hand, represent a rather time-consuming commitment for the Zoo's staff. Moreover, in the beginning of 2013, for reasons undisclosed, three active members from the Zoo's team quit their jobs, which additionally increased the overall workload for the remaining person (Katya Zareva) and led to stress and delays in the project reporting. Technical problems with computers were also reported.
On the other side, the voluntary nature of the Wikipedians' contributions has also risen concerns about the project's successful timing: intense workload, PhD studies and defenses for two active members of the team (Venislava from the Zoo, and Vassia from BG WP), as well as the need to consult various article issues in highly specialized literature, were some of the regular reasons that led to delays of the project, as well. The inactivity of a part of the Wikipedia team was partly compensated by other editors who joined forces later on, yet commitment for long-term regularity was in general hard to secure.
Another significant problem that we met in the beginning of the project was related to the licensing contract for the Wikimedia logos, which Sofia Zoo had to sign. We were informed about the need to have this rather sophisticated legal document signed after the approval, while none of the guidelines for project application contained any hint about it, and about how complex is that process, especially when you are not a professional lawyer. In our case, all clarifications and communications between the legal offices of the WMF and Sofia Municipality (as Principal of Sofia Zoo) went via the project team, thus diverting us from our preplanned work schedule. The overall process consumed more than two months (30 April - 12 July 2012) and reasonably lead to the need to request the first prolongation. Hoping that this feedback will be considered positively as advice for improvement of the overall funding procedures, we would suggest that for such completely non-profit projects as ours, moreover ones supported by the WMF itself, the terms of usage the names/logos should be more relaxed (given the "Trademark_policy: Things You Can Do, a Summary"), and participants should enjoy more of WMF's good faith. Or, if this turns to be an irrevocable part of the process of WMF funding, it must be explicitly explained in the project application guidelines, and a copy of the contract must be available in advance for reference and preliminary preparation, in order not to affect negatively the scheduled work on the project.

What would you do differently if you planned a similar project?
Vassia: If I happen to plan a similar project in future, I would definitely prepare a more relaxed and less ambitious time schedule, and would surely try to involve more people, at least from Wikipedia community. Of course, it very much depends on the particular topic: topics where a lot of people contribute are usually well developed, while the real need of quality and quantity of content is just where the contributors are fewer. In future, I would allow both teams - from the Wikipedia community and from the external GLAM organization to get to know each other better and for longer time, before we attempt to apply for a funded project. In the present case, that proved to be a weakness, although one stemming from our enthusiasm and eagerness to do some great job for both Wikipedia and the Zoo. Usage of WMF trademarks will also be avoided, if the present policy remains the same or gets even more difficult.

Project goal and measures of success[edit]

This section should reference the project goals and measures of success described in the approved grant submission. See Grants:PEG/Sofia Zoo and Bulgarian Wikipedians/Sofia Zoo Powered by Wikimedia to review the goals and metrics listed in the approved submission.

Project goal[edit]

Provide the project goal here.

As stated in the project proposal: The goal of the project is to foster the recently started collaboration between Bulgarian Wikipedians and Sofia Zoo. This collaboration will result in:

  • Creation of new information plates for the exhibited biological species, containing short texts and illustrative content (like photos and species distribution maps) from Wikimedia, and multilingual QR codes to the full Wikipedia articles, as generated with QRPedia.
  • Contributions to the Bulgarian version of Wikipedia with the creation and improvement of articles about the exhibited biological species (about 180-200). For the development of the articles, the in-depth expertise of the staff in the Zoo’s Educational Centre will be of critical importance.
Did you achieve your project goal? How do you know your goal was achieved? Please answer in 1 - 2 paragraphs.
In general, the project goal was almost completely achieved. A total number of 180 large metal frames (A2 size) and a framework for 200 small boards (half A4 size) were produced for the installation of the information boards for the exhibited species. All produced information boards contain QR codes to Wikipedia, in about 95% of the cases the opened article is in Bulgarian, in the rest of the cases: English. These 5% of the articles (11 out of 236) have not been written yet due to certain taxonomic issues, issues related to correct titling, or needing more time for finding reliable sources in Bulgarian. More than 110 new articles about exhibited species were written from the scratch, about 50 others were edited. All newly written articles strictly adhere the standards for Wikipedia content and are based on verified sources.
A very positive contact was formed between BG Wikipedia editors with the representatives of Sofia Zoo, which is the largest and oldest Zoo in Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula. The Zoo is one of the 100 national touristic attractions and a preferred place for recreational activities for children and parents; the Zoo's Environmental, Educational and Research Centre permanently organizes public lectures, zoology schools and other educational and volunteering initiatives, and the well visible support from the Wikimedia Foundation fosters its educational role in the society, while promoting Wikipedia as a valuable source for relevant information.

Measures of success[edit]

List the measures of success exactly as provided in the approved grant submission, and evaluate your project according to each measure listed there.
As stated in the project proposal: Given the tangible nature of the goals set, we will consider this project successful if:
  • All information plates for the (about 180-200) biological species exhibited in Sofia Zoo are designed, printed and installed.
  • All the respective (missing) articles about the species are created and contain at least the basic information about physical characteristics, geographical distribution, behaviour in nature and captivity, conservation status, plus taxobox template, illustrations and precise category.
Another measure of success is going to be the number of visitors who access Wikipedia by scanning the QR codes in Sofia Zoo (example for the QR code shown in the image above).
Provide an overall assessment of how your project went according to these measures.
The payment for printing the PVC information plates was made from the co-funding, provided by a fellow editor of Bulgarian Wikipedia. He prepaid, as calculated, 180 large size (approx. A2) boards and 200 small size (approx. half A4) boards. These numbers are a bit more than the number of exhibited species, and the latest records show that 171 large and 172 small boards have been printed. This allows for additional printing and replacement when new species join the Zoo's collection in near future (especially needed for the Aquaria species). All printed boards have been installed in the metal frames, giving the Zoo uniform design and easy high-tech access to Wikipedian content.
Of the list of 236 species, only 11 articles have not been written yet, which is less than 5%. Our work on these will soon finish, once taxonomical and naming issues are solved, based on reliable sources. 116 (49%) of the articles were written after the actual beginning of the project (May 2012), and about 30 more were written after the beginning of the collaboration with the Zoo (December 2011). All these Wikipedia articles are based on verifiable, reliable sources, containing information about relevant aspects like species' physical characteristics, geographical distribution, feeding and reproduction, behaviour in nature and captivity, conservation status, as well as taxobox template, photo(s) and precise category(ies).
If you were to plan a similar project, would you measure it differently? If yes, please explain how.
Probably, in a similar project in future, more attention shall be paid to the number of contributors/editors, and raising even more awareness among the Wikipedian and other online communities, like the communities of web forums for aquarists, falconers, pet lovers, ecologists, etc. More people with their specific competences and knowledge of animals in the wild and captivity can be invited and attracted to contribute to Wikipedia in the frames of such a project with Sofia Zoo.
Also, other zoos in Bulgaria, like those in Stara Zagora and Varna can be contacted to join, as well the produced content and gained know-how can be shared with them, if there is such interest.
Attempts can be made to organize editathons with the pupils who attend the Zoo's zoology schools and public lectures. There are also opportunities for improving media contacts and publicity, for instance a special Facebook group of the contributors can be established, or a specialized blog. However, since in Bulgaria we still haven't established a Wikimedia Chapter, organization of such events and activities is rather time consuming and difficult in terms of human resources from Wikipedia's side.


This section ties this project to Wikimedia's broader goals, and shows what the project accomplished.

What impact did this project have on WMF's mission and the strategic goals? Please answer in 1 -2 paragraphs and include specific measures of impact such as the number of readers or editors reached by a particular project, or the number of articles edited or improved.
Stabilize infrastructure

The project had a rather positive impact on the Sofia Zoo's infrastructure; being a non-profit municipal entity, the Zoo has a very tight budget and suffers from permanent underfinance when it comes to its purely educational role in society. As a result of the project 171 large size and 172 small size infoboards were created, featuring bilingual (Bulgarian/English) information, Genus membership, Latin name, distribution map, photos, information about physical characteristics, longevity, breeding, nutrition and interesting facts, as well as a QR code to the article in Wikipedia. The metal frames in which these PVC information boards are placed are designed in a way to allow flexible handling, replacement, etc. of the boards.

An attempt was made also to negotiate with Sofia Municipality and local Internet providers to provide necessary infrastructure for turning the Zoo into the next "Free Wi/Fi Zone" in Sofia; that would have been of importance for all the Zoo's visitors and the whole city. The efforts in this direction have not yet yielded result, but when this happens, it would add even more value to what has been achieved during the project so far.

Increase participation

The Wikipedia team, as listed in the proposal, did a big part of the work, while it was also steadily supported by another Wikipedian, who joined later, and who is now being elected for administrator of BG WP. Sporadic contributions to the project were made by students in the "Wikipedia and Wiki Technology" elective course in Plovdiv University, lectured by Vassia. The Zoo team supported the process by sporadic consultations about species namings and facts.

Improve quality

During the project, a list of 236 articles for exhibited species was prepared. From these, 109 articles existed (55 were not edited, 52 were slightly edited, 2 were significantly improved and 1 was even chosen for featured article); 116 new articles were written from the scratch, and 11 have not been started so far. The attempt for the new articles was to create qualitative and ample content, rather than simply stubs. Most of the existing articles in the list were for popular and widespread mammals and birds, while new articles were mainly needed for the more exotic and rare exhibits in the Sofia Zoo collection - tropical fishes, snakes, tarantulas, parrots. All articles are well wikified and contain a "taxobox" template, relevant deep categories (the project resulted in sophistication of the "Animal Kingdom" branch of the category graph), illustrations, cited sources, external links to appropriate resources, internal links. New related articles about other biology terms were also created.

Increase reach

The project successfully achieved its goal to reach new audiences and promote Wikipedia as a relevant and well maintained online source of information. First and foremost, during the project, the team from the Environmental, Educational and Research Centre at Sofia Zoo, was trained about what Wikipedia is, how it functions, what available resources it provides and how to use them. Although the Zoo's team members didn't become active contributors, they built positive attitude towards Wikipedia and have expressed it repeatedly during their summer schools, conference participations and media contacts.

Many media publications from that period mention (and some explicitly focus on) the Wikimedia-funded project, and explain about the new printed information boards and the QR codes leading visitors to the articles in Wikipedia. These media publications further help for reaching more audiences.

Encourage innovation

An important aspect that was repeatedly emphasized in the project proposal, the interim report, and the media publications, is that the project encourages the innovative use of technologies in Bulgarian society, and the brand new way to access to Wikipedia via QR codes. It has also proved to be a very innovative technology for the Sofia Zoo partner, too. In this relation, the Zoo is mentioned on the first place in the list of innovators in a report of Sofia Municipality, titled "Analysis for opportunities of using information and communication technologies for improvement of the communication mechanisms in the context of Sofia's application for European Capital of Culture". The Zoo team members Venislava and Katya share that when they have presented the Wikimedia-funded project on conferences of EAZA, they got very enthusiastic feedback and interest from their European and worldwide colleagues.

Reporting and documentation of expenditures[edit]

This section describes the grant's use of funds


Documentation of expenditures has been received by WMF.

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".


Please list all project expenses in a table here, with descriptions and dates. Review the instructions here.
These expenses should be listed in the same format as the budget table in your approved submission so that anyone reading this report may be able to easily compare budgeted vs. actual expenses.
Note that variances in the project budget over 10% per expense category must be approved in advance by WMF Grants Program staff. For all other variances, please provide an explanation in the table below.

Important notes:

  • VAT tax in Bulgaria is 20%.
  • Some of the issued invoices have the unit price before VAT. For consistency with the invoices, in column "Actual cost per unit" the respective prices are given with the (VAT excluded) note. Everywhere in column "Actual total" the prices are calculated with the VAT tax with the (VAT included) note.
  • The expenses covered by the co-funding are those marked with blue on lines 4 and 5.
Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Actual cost per unit Actual total Budgeted total Currency Notes
1 Metal constructions 180 large size metal frames for information boards and a framework for the Aquarium building 1 frame 180 27.00 (VAT included) 4860.00 (VAT included) 4050.00 BGN The price got slightly higher (BGN 27 than BGN 20) during the time that passed from preparing the proposal to making the order. It was compensated from redirecting all expenses for printing the PVC boards from the voluntary co-funding, which was also larger than negotiated in the beginning.
Invoices: 0000000418 from 31-10-2012 0000000439 from 21-12-2012, Eka Ltd
2 Printing Flyers, providing information about the WMF-funded project and the QR codes to Wikipedia 1 flyer 2000 0.0785 (VAT excluded) 188.40 (VAT included) 200.00 BGN Invoice: 1000009140 from 21-12-2012, Dijor Print Ltd
3 Printing Information boards welcoming visitors information about the WMF-funded project and the QR codes to Wikipedia 1 board 2 65.00 (VAT excluded) 156.00 (VAT included) From the budgeted 3060.00 BGN Invoice: 1000009140 from 21-12-2012, Dijor Print Ltd
4 Printing Information boards for the exhibited species - Small size 1 board 180 4.40 (VAT excluded) 950.40 (VAT included) From the budgeted 3060.00 BGN Paid from the external co-funding. Invoice: 0000000031 from 11-03-2013, Magnet Consult Media Ltd
5 Printing Information boards for the exhibited species - Large size 1 board 200 8.80 (VAT excluded) 2112.00 (VAT included) From the budgeted 3060.00 BGN Paid from the external co-funding. Invoice: 0000000031 from 11-03-2013, Magnet Consult Media Ltd
6 Event organization Rented sound system and sound-engineer 1 event 1 200.00 (VAT included) 200.00 (VAT included) 200.00 BGN Invoice: 0000000044 from 24-04-2013, Svidas Ltd

Total project budget (from your approved grant submission)
BGN 7700.00
Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission, this total will be the same as the total project budget if the WMF grant is your only funding source)
BGN 5400.00
Total amount spent on this project (this total should be the total calculated from the table above)
BGN 8466.80
Total amount of WMF grant funds spent on this project (this total will be the same as the total amount spent if the WMF grant is your only funding source)
BGN 5404.40
Are there additional sources of revenue that funded any part of this project? List them here.
BGN 3062.40 of co-funding provided by a fellow Wikipedian (with BGN 762.40 more than the initially negotiated BGN 2300.00)

Remaining funds[edit]

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.)