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

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

The project proposal seem to be very exciting and worth supporting. Just one question:

  • How popular in Bulgaria is using QR codes? I mean how many people have the smarthpones with resonably cheap access to internet? Does Zoo provide a free wifi hotspots?

Polimerek (talk) 21:55, 23 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Hello, Polimerek and thank you for your questions. (1) I cannot cite any researches on QR code usability in Bulgaria, but it is sensibly gaining momentum in the last half an year. They are increasingly often used in outdoor and press advertising, as well as for business cards. To the best of my knowledge, no institution has applied QR codes in such a large scale as we're planning to, and for sure no use of QRpedia itself has been registered. A reportage on the Bulgarian National TV from 21 January 2012 discussed QR codes. The reportage mentions: "Placing QR codes is one of the ways that helps foreign tourists not to feel lost in our towns. With their smartphone they may access the necessary information about the public transport, street or a cultural landmark."
(2) According to a research made by the agency "Mobile Review", announced in January 2012, more than 1,04 million people in Bulgaria have smartphones by the end of 2011, which is 12% of all mobile services users in the country. In the beginning of 2011 their number was 700 thousands, which makes 42% growth on annual basis (More statistics in "Capital" Weekly, in Bulgarian).
(3) The Zoo itself is not (yet) in the list of free wifi zones of Sofia, but the Municipality has been working for the provision of public wifi. Last year three city parks were equipped with it. Applying for such a statute is one thing which we have been also discussing with the colleagues from the Zoo. Spiritia 18:27, 24 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for detailed answer. Polimerek (talk) 19:38, 26 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for the submission. Your project is fine and supported with a reasonable budget, especially with an amount that will be funded from other sources. My questions are the following:

  1. Who will be the people engaged with the creation of missing articles (active Wikipedians, experts, employees in the ZOO, or others)?
  2. Is it possible to post a board tutorial with instructions about the QR codes inside the ZOO, and thereby reduce the amount for flyers? How did you come up with a number of 4,000 visitors (any statistics or only prediction)?

Best regards.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 00:12, 24 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Hello, Kiril. Let me answer to your questions. (1) Mainly Wikipedians will be (actually, already are, in present tense) engaged in the creation of missing articles, as the colleagues in the Zoo have a lot of "field work" away from the keyboard. However, they are already feeding us with information about the exhibited species and we're making together brainstormings about the precise Bulgarian names of some species. The employees in the Environmental, Educational and Research Centre are themselves in contact with other experts from the Museum of Natural History, institutes from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BirdLife Bulgaria, etc., so they are thus broadening our own Wikipedian network of specialised contacts and expertise (and published sources of information).
(2) Yes, several information plates are considered, and their number is calculated in the total number of "large" info plates. The number of flyers is actually quite humble and flyers shall be handed together with tickets only to those visitors who reportedly use smartphones. The colleagues from the Zoo said that the annual number of ticket payers (which is certainly less than the number of visitors) is about 400,000 per year and more than 3,000 visitors may come in just one sunny summer day. Of course, the number of flyers can be reduced, but it was appropriately chosen in consideration with the price, too. Just a sample of a flyers pricelist (both sides printed, VAT included): 1000 flyers - BGN 96, 2000 flyers - BGN 132, 4000 flyers - BGN 192. So it's reasonable choice, I think. Spiritia 18:27, 24 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for answering it in details.--Kiril Simeonovski (talk) 18:38, 24 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for these comments, Kiril. Funding from an additional source would indeed make me a lot more comfortable with this proposal. Although putting QRPedia codes on the signs certainly helps us spread free knowledge, the funds in this grant are essentially funding a renovation project for the zoo, which is a questionable fit to our mission. If the city of Sophia, or a third party, would be interesting in co-funding this, or matching our grant, it would be a more reasonable use of our donor funds. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 00:32, 24 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Hello, Asaf. I'm afraid the Zoo can't attract budget for renovation from the Municipality. This is a problem for them (and their visitors) for many years. If Wikimedia can help solving the problem, in both financial and content aspect, this would make very positive impression.
As for the third parties, I would be very cautious at this point. As a Wikipedian (both volunteer AND idealist :)), I myself wouldn't engage in any initiative in which Wikimedia funds are co-funded by any commercial enterprise, which may require anything in return, like placing their logo next to Wikipedia's, or, even worse, promotional articles in the encyclopedia. This is one thing which we want to avoid. The co-funding of 30% is kindly provided by one of the Wikipedians, i.e. it's again a donor fund, a direct one, and a rather large sum being a single donation. (My colleague doesn't even want to show off, but should you require further info, it will be sent by email.) In any case, I believe that the budget is really modest, and, what is more important, the results will be visible and reproducible, and will last for years ahead. Spiritia 19:11, 24 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
I share Asaf's concerns about funding a renovation for the zoo, but as it is a nonprofit and because 30% of the funding is coming from elsewhere I think it is tolerable. I do have a question regarding the existing plates that have been placed - is there any measure that they are increasing participation or awareness? For instance, do the relevant articles on the Bulgarian language Wikipedia have increases in traffic attributable to this project? Craig Franklin (talk) 12:00, 27 March 2012 (UTC).[reply]
Hello, Craig and thank you for your comment. I'm afraid I don't quite get your questions, could you please clarify? Spiritia 15:55, 27 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
I think Craig asks if there is any evidence that the codes increase traffic to the linked articles as compared with similar articles without codes?--Victoria (talk) 15:47, 5 April 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Well, so far we cannot provide material evidences that this has already happened, however common sense says it would. The availability of this new communication channel provides readers with one more way to access Wikipedia, so incoming traffic from the Zoo should make a "non-zero" change :) Some of the exhibited species can be practically only seen in the Sofia Zoo (not in sale, not exhibited elsewhere in BG). For other species (like the plethora exotic fish), the QR codes will probably be the only channel by means of which readers would access the articles. Especially for some of the exotic fish, I confidently expect that BG Wikipedia will become the very first provider of information within Bulgarian webspace (I'm doing some research right now of these species and quite often see witness the lack of Bulgarian web sources of info). Hope this answers the question. Spiritia 16:55, 5 April 2012 (UTC)[reply]
At the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, some of the QRpedia codes account for about half of the monthly traffic to the respective pages (example: QRWP, grok). I would regard this as an upper limit for what is possible at a zoo. -- Daniel Mietchen - WiR/OS (talk) 08:37, 6 April 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I think this project is clearly written, well detailed and transparent. While incorporating some elements of what been done elsewhere (QR codes were used in Derby Challenge etc.), this definitely extends the scope of GLAM project. Zoos is something that on one hand has educational content, on the other hand attracts audience (parents with young children), which may be less represented in art galleries.

The QR plates will be made durable, which means that unlike "here and now action" they will last for many years and the smartphones are becoming more and more common in Eastern Europe. The grant would help to organize volunteers and make links with wider scientific community. I agree with Craig Franklin, that nonprofit status and attraction of additional funds by the organizers diminishes possible concerns about some of the funds being used for the renovation. May be it would be possible to negotiate mention of WMF somewhere (press?)?
I understand that WMF is used to be on the accepting side of charitable donations but one of the goals of the Foundation is to help spreading free knowledge in less well off countries and education is permanently underfunded in former Soviet Block countries. I think that this project is well suited to the goals and should be fully funded.Victoria (talk) 15:47, 5 April 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Victoria, thank you for the clarification above and the positive comment here. Especially for your understanding of our SEE situation. :) There'll definitely be proper mentioning of WMF, of course. :) Maybe those who come from smaller and slow-paced projects, understand that being developed by much less people with much less resources (in terms of free content, institutional support, etc.), BG Wikipedia is often a subject of public criticism for its overall lower quality and quantity compared to other versions, like English. So, one of the goals is bringing positive attitude to Wikipedia, its sister projects, the Foundation and the whole movement. Spiritia 16:55, 5 April 2012 (UTC)[reply]

GAC members who have read this request but had no comments[edit]

Request for prolongation[edit]

We would like to ask for an official prolongation of the project "Sofia Zoo Powered by Wikimedia". We would like to change the provisional completion date from August 30, 2012 to December 30, 2012. This is necessary because of the delay caused by the sophisticated license agreement required by Wikimedia Foundation and the discussion that followed.

Now the license is singed but meanwhile a lot of new species arrived at the Zoo that require new labels as well as new articles in Wikipedia.

The prolongation will provide us with enough time to carefully prepare the labels texts, to make the translation, to choose the best possible images (which is also a very time consuming process), to create the distribution map for each species as well as to create all the required articles in Wikipedia.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation on this matter.

Best regards,

Venislava and Vassia (Spiritia), 06:57, 17 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for this update. The extension is approved. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 16:12, 17 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Report and request for second (last) extension[edit]

Dear colleagues,

I am ready to present sort of a report of our work on the project so far, but I'd like also to kindly request for second (and last) extension of its term with 4 more months, until 30 April 2013. In contrast to the budget plans and allocations, which were quite realistic and are completely kept, we (the Zoo team and me, mainly) couldn't quite estimate the time needed for completing the project.

The project generally proceeds well, a very positive long-term relation with the colleagues from the Zoo was formed. When necessary, they provide us with consultations on how certain English/Latin names of species are adopted in Bulgarian, or with facts and information from their specialized written sources.

Our work on the creation of the information boards was the most time-consuming activity so far. It consisted of several stages:

  • compilation of information about the presented species from published sources, IUCN, English Wikipedia articles withe their respective cited sources
    This is normally the slowest part of our job, especially when there are ongoing taxonomical scientific disputes (like in primates), or the precise (sub)species of the presented animal is unidentified (which happens with some genera of fishes).
  • language correction in Bulgarian and English,
  • making lists of all relevant species' names in Bulgarian (for full accessibility of the BG WP articles),
  • creation of QR codes through the Latin names,
  • selection (in certain cases: original creation) of illustrations,
  • graphical design of the plates (again, a slow and tedious aspect of the work).

A very positive outcome of the project, as confirmed by the colleagues from the Zoo is the raised awareness about copyrights, and in particular, the usage of freely licensed content from Wikipedia. They were very accurate in maintaining a complete list of the used images so far is prepared, their number reaching 100 by now. My plans for the end of the project are to ask a colleague bot operator to run a bot over this list, and place on the respective files' talk pages the filled-in template "Published", thus notifying the image authors of the usage of their works.

I am very happy to mention that, thanks to a colleague from BG WP, we found a very accurate firm to design and manufacture the metal holders and the final portion of them was recently ready, delivered and paid, in full correspondence with the signed contract between the firm and the Zoo, and strictly fitting in the allocated budget. The invoices -- two for the metal holders, and one for the flyers and the entrance information plates -- are sent together with English translation to Asaf and Winifred's emails.

Most of the holders, however, are not mounted yet, especially those under open air. Winter is the low season for the Zoo, there are almost no visitors coming. For this reason, we figured out that placing the ready plates in December may unnecessarily expose them to harsh climate and amortize them before even the first visitors have seen them.

We also need several months to complete the work on the information plates. Practically, a substantial part, about 4/5, of the files with designed plates have been prepared (Primates (~20), Big carnivores (~20), Small carnivores (~20), Herbivores (~20), Birds (~40), Fishes (~120) summing up to about 240). We have not yet finished with the rest about 60 terrarium species (including Reptiles, Insects, Arthropods). No plates have been printed so far, except for a test series of 5 plates, because the printing firm suggested to receive all of the files together, in order to optimize the arrangement and reduce the wastes. Printing of the plates will be completely covered by the co-funding, which is offered by the Wikipedian colleague, as indicated in the grant proposal.

The requested prolongation is also needed for the completion of all the Bulgarian WP articles on the presented species. I regret to say that this part of the work is lagging the most. Right now, I can't make the calculation how many of the articles were created and/or substantially improved, and how many are still missing, but in general this turned out to be one of the weakest links in the whole process, and I have my fault for this. :( And it would be good to have all of these papers at least started on stub-level before we mount all the plates, so that visitors can really access Bulgarian content, when they follow the QR codes.

The good thing about the bad thing :) is that in the meanwhile the project has gained certain publicity in the specialized and mass media, namely:

  • an article in the Autumn/2012 issue of 'Zooquaria', the quarterly magazine of the European association of Zoos and Aquaria, see pages 28-29, and
  • a reportage in the largest private TV Channel bTV (with the fancy title "Wikipedia conquered the Zoo", erh...).

This media coverage gives us, the Zoo team and me, another motivation to complete the project by the beginning of Spring 2013.

In conclusion, I hope that our request for that (second and last :) ) term extension until the end of April will be considered. Ready to answer to any questions. Spiritia 21:42, 28 December 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for the update. Can you please upload some photos or other version of the plates created so far? -- Daniel Mietchen - WiR/OS (talk) 22:08, 28 December 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Maybe after the holidays? Spiritia 22:09, 28 December 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Sure. -- Daniel Mietchen - WiR/OS (talk) 22:16, 28 December 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for this detailed and helpful report! The extension is approved. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 22:12, 28 December 2012 (UTC)[reply]