Grants talk:Project/Bhutan Rare and Historical Documents Digital Project

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Comments from I JethroBT (WMF)[edit]

Hi Mgivel1, thanks for your proposal for this digitization project. Here are some initial comments I have regarding the proposal:

  • One important concern I have is that the current proposal does not appear to meet our eligibility criteria related to equipment. The funds for this proposal are set for equipment purchases, with the owner being the applicant, or possibly the University of Oklahoma / Thangka Conservation and Restoration Centre. While there is planned collaborative work with Wikimedians to incorporate material from this digitization work and some interest in pursuing future collaboration beyond this proposal, Project Grants require that any equipment purchased can be shared amongst Wikimedia community members (especially those in the local community), and that a plan or system be set up in order to facilitate this sharing. Purchases for personal equipment and equipment for non-Wikimedia affiliates are ineligible for funding. In cases where there are no Wikimedia affiliates (such as in Bhutan), a trusted volunteer (for example, a known event coordinator for Wikimedia events in the area who has been engaged with our projects) can serve as a coordination point for the equipment.
  • It is great to see this level of engagement with the local community and experts in terms of scoping and identifying key Bhutanese documents that are important to preserve, and that there is a concrete plan to work carefully with local authorities and stakeholders to ascertain what documents are most important and relevant to prioritize.
  • If the more fundamental question around equipment above is addressed, one other thing I want to understand more is to what extent the context of this proposal fits in with existing work or priorities of other projects that the Wikimedia community is currently doing. Is there some effort on Dzongkha Wikipedia or other Wikimedia projects to make improvements in this or a more general topic area?

Thanks, I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 19:36, 26 November 2018 (UTC)

    • I want to echo the feedback on the design of this grant -- in particular the 4th bullet raises a number of questions for me: How does the material that is digitized get prioritized for use in Wikimedia spaces? How does a community of collaborators benefit from the content being available in the Wikimedia ecosystem? How do we invest in digitization in such a way that it has clear potential for organizing and engaging a community afterwards? The current proposal assumes a "it could be used in x, y or z way" without a plan for implementing those activities -- community engagement in knowledge creation and curation is what makes Wikimedia distinctive and requires deliberate effort to make that possible.
    • Unfortunately at this point in time, we do not have a baseline/standard set of documentation on how digitization planning needs to work in this way within the movement, so in a way, this kind of project may be premature for Wikimedia to be funding with an open grant program like this -- clearly digitization of rare heritage and culture is within the scope of the Wikimedia movement -- especially in regions where funding is not readily available for these projects-- but prioritizing funding in it requires a deeper understanding of how Wikimedia brings its community-oriented distinctive approach to knowledge to a practice which has strong roots in industrial-scale, and professional processes. Astinson (WMF) (talk) 20:29, 28 November 2018 (UTC)

For public documentation purposes: a conversation regarding this eligibility question is ongoing via email between myself, Mgivel1, Astinson (WMF), SGill (WMF), and Doctor 17. Wittylama (talk) 10:38, 30 November 2018 (UTC)


Hello. Thank you for the feedback.

  • At work here are two issues. I appreciate the rule in place related to ownership by a Wikimedia affiliate and a post-ownership plan. Additionally, I think the emerging direction in Wikimedia of expanding into cultural heritage projects is not only quite important, but it is the exact case with respect to this project.
  • I am a Wikimedia outsider. So I write the following below from the point of view of applying for the grant. This rule and this emerging direction need to be carefully balanced and considered. Cultural heritage as in the case of this project is based in a society with a strong oral history and tradition that is now in the Internet age (the Internet was introduced in 1999). As many know in some parts of the world including Bhutan you begin a project with a conversation and then down the road this leads to legalities, plans, and a contract or MOU. This is how this project will work. In the west, we do the opposite quite often. On the table immediately are plans, legalities, and contracts. This is why we have a lot more lawyers than are in Bhutan.
  • What is our specific plan given the above? This proposal calls for all documents that can legally be in the public domain to be placed in Wikimedia commons. There are documents, by law, that we are obtaining that have restrictions. These will be available, subject to these restriction in a free and public format on our proposed web site after we individually secure permission to post these documents. Anyone will be able to view them. We also want to work to expand certain Bhutan related sites on Wikimedia as noted in the project.
  • Regarding community participation and how it relates to other cultures, I understand that this is an important emerging topic/area in Wikimedia. As noted above, and as we all know, there is much cultural diversity in the world. Being able to sensitively balance this diversity with others and Wikimedia's idea of community participation is a worthwhile project. In the case of this project, this requires a sensitive understanding on all sides of cultural ettiquette, cultural customs, and even high level diplomacy.
  • This above is an area I have a lot of experience with having been in Bhutan since 2009. I would be very interested in chatting further about our experiences as it relates to this proposal and in any other context with Wikimedia staff and interested parties. And discussing how it could work in Bhutan as well. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mgivell (talk)

Eligibility confirmed, round 2 2018[edit]

IEG review.png
This Project Grants proposal is under review!

We've confirmed your proposal is eligible for round 2 2018 review. Please feel free to ask questions and make changes to this proposal as discussions continue during the community comments period, through January 2, 2019.

The Project Grant committee's formal review for round 2 2018 will occur January 3-January 28, 2019. Grantees will be announced March 1, 2018. See the schedule for more details.

Questions? Contact us.

--I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 02:52, 11 December 2018 (UTC)

Questions from Superzerocool[edit]

Hi @Mgivel1: thanks for sharing us your project. I have some questions about the project.

  1. How do you think the integration between Wikimedia projects and your project?. I don't see a clear alignment with WMF goals and your project.
  2. On community engagement you don't say anything about Wikimedia volunteers or affiliates, how do you see the relationship between volunteers and your human resources?
  3. How many time do you think will take your project? (1, 6 or 12 months?)
  4. In the proposal I didn't read anything about the equipment usage after the grant ends. Is there any plans or just the grantee will conservate the equipment?.

Thanks! Superzerocool (talk) 02:53, 23 December 2018 (UTC)

Hello Superzerocool,

Thanks for the good questions. The following answers your questions in the order you provided them.

1 and 2. Wikimedia is now engaged in a serious effort to do sensitive cultural outreach to nations, in which there has been little or no Wikimedia contacts in the past. In this regard, I have met with a Wikimedia Foundation staff person doing cultural outreach and have discussed this in detail. We will have an advisory committee set up in Bhutan to address and provide advice on all matters related to Wikimedia. Those documents that have no copyright issues will be provided to Wikimedia Commons for free and univeral access. They will also be on our web site and have public and free access to the general public. Those that have copyright restrictions like from the Vatican Library will be on our web site after we have negotiated copyright issues and will also be free for general public access. We think this meets the spirit and intent as much as is legally feasible regarding Wikimedia's goal of universal and free public access to documents. As noted in the proposal we will work to expand the Wikimedia web pages related to Bhutan. All of this is very much within the mission of Wikimedia.

3. The amount of time will be three months or less. It will entail equipment purchases and set up in Bhutan.

4. The equipment will be used indefinitely as long as it lasts in that the project entails continual and ongoing digitization of documents over a long period of time.

Mgivel1 16:29 24, December 2018 (UTC)

Thanks Migvel1 for your answers. }
An another question/comment is what is your "ideal" workflow to follow after the grant ends?. I don't see the Wikimedia community works in the project (except make some OCR process in Wikisource) and the usage after grant ends is somehow unclear in my opinion. Just "upload new files" is a nice way to use the resources, but it's ideal make a link to engage the local community to improve the new available material on Wikimedia Commons. It's the ideal world, but if can't make the link, just create a new category with the new uploads and drop a line in the local communities pages, it would be great to everyone.
A side note: please, make clear (sorry if I've omitted) the amount of time to execute the grant (3 months?) :).
Kindly (and Merry Xmas) Superzerocool (talk) 18:40, 24 December 2018 (UTC)

Thanks Superzerocool (talk) for your further comment.

In answering your first question, we have developed a detailed work plan with a time line for the entire project that includes and is beyond the grant. The first step in particular in the work plan is focused on equipment purchases for Bhutan. This, of course, is the reason for this grant proposal. We are also seeking out funding for the next work plan steps after this grant proposal particularly from the American Council of Learned Societies.

In general, and after the initial equipment purchase in Bhutan in the next work plan step we will be seeking out and digitizing documents from Bhutan, in several neighboring nations to Bhutan, as well as the Vatican City. As we obtain documents we will be employing translators in Bhutan to translate the digital documents from Manchu, ancient Chinese, Tibetan, Sanskrit, Portuguese, and Sanskrit to English and Dzongkha. A further work plan step will be to establish our free and public mirrored web sites in Bhutan and the University of Oklahoma with the documents, translations, and other background information as well as upload documents to Wikimedia Commons. In this regard, we have created a detailed 23 page peer reviewed digital plan for metadata digitization, cybersecurity, file transfer protocols, and file backups. It includes using a variation of Dublin Core input protocols and Omeka to set up the web sites.

Before, during, and after we establish our public web sites in Bhutan and at the University of Oklahoma as well as upload document documents and enhance all sites related to Bhutan in Wikimedia, we forsee several communities involved in the proposal including the Wikimedia advisory board providing continual advice and assistance as we move through this process. After we establish our web sites and upload documents to Wikimedia and enhance Bhutan related Wikimedia sites we foresee advice continuing from all communities including the Wikimedia advisory committee. This advice will include: technical issues, issues germane to the involved communities including technical, legal, and scholarly, and advice on new document acquistions. In that regard, thanks for the good suggestion of dropping a line to the local communities page. We will do that.

Related to your second question, the amount of time to execute this phase of the grant related to equipment purchase for Bhutan will as we noted be three months or less. We anticipate that this will be the needed time to purchase the equipment, have it sent to the Thangka Conservation and Restoration Centre in Thimphu, Bhutan and set up the equipment. It may take less than three months, but we are trying to be conservative in our goal of the maximum time it will take, which is three months.

Mgivel1 (talk) 19:54 24, December 2018 (UTC)

Aggregated feedback from the committee for Bhutan Rare and Historical Documents Digital Project[edit]

Scoring rubric Score
(A) Impact potential
  • Does it have the potential to increase gender diversity in Wikimedia projects, either in terms of content, contributors, or both?
  • Does it have the potential for online impact?
  • Can it be sustained, scaled, or adapted elsewhere after the grant ends?
7.0
(B) Community engagement
  • Does it have a specific target community and plan to engage it often?
  • Does it have community support?
7.2
(C) Ability to execute
  • Can the scope be accomplished in the proposed timeframe?
  • Is the budget realistic/efficient ?
  • Do the participants have the necessary skills/experience?
6.8
(D) Measures of success
  • Are there both quantitative and qualitative measures of success?
  • Are they realistic?
  • Can they be measured?
5.4
Additional comments from the Committee:
  • Interesting project mainly connected with the preservation of a cultural heritage.
  • I like this proposal for the focus on historic content preservation. I would like to know more about further hopes (stage 3 of the project) so I can see what will be done with the purchased equipment after stage 2 is complete. From an outsider perspective, I cannot educatedly identify what the next stage would be.
  • When we consider the strategic direction of WMF and the movement in general, this project is very much essential to achieve knowledge equity. However, as Alex already pointed out, the plan to make online impact doesn’t sound strong. It is for various reasons; currently there is no community in Bhutan. There is no plan to ensure how the documents will be uploaded to WCommons and be OCRed on Wikisource. Mass uploads and content addition from historical documents seem very easy from while they are planned, but they make things extremely complicated during execution. With no community in Bhutan, it makes things even more complicated.
  • If there is an active Wikimedia community, I would have supported this proposal. There are already activities going on those lines, so it is better to wait for a while.
  • This project can be measured by the uploads and translations and the access metrics to said uploads and translations. This project can also serve as a template for others to do the same with their historic content.
  • I think we can measure success and I believe the solution can be work.
  • The project is innovative and unique by itself, but the potential risk involved seems higher than potential impact. The measures of success are very vague. There are no specifics about the number of files to be uploaded on WCommons, pages of Wikisource, and usage of these files on other Wikimedia projects.
  • This proposal seems to have filled out what the necessary equipment is. I would like to see how they could incorporate the community (perhaps a Wikimedia in Project, edit parties, upload parties).
  • I don't worry about how they execute the proposal because they have a professional team. But, I'd like to understand if it possible to get the equipment by renting, in order to reduce the cost.
  • The timeline of the overall project is unclear. The proposer responded to one the committee member’s comment on the talk page that this particular part of the project will be completed in three months. It is not clear how the metrics will be reported beyond that report. The proposer seems to be well positioned to execute the project, and it is great to see several other organizations were involved in the project.
  • I am glad there is support for the higher level community, but I would love to see a plan to incorporate the content with the community. This could be edit parties, upload, parties, or even just tweeting out upload links periodically through the project to encourage engagement with the content.
  • Though the proposal seems to impact Dzongkha Wikipedia and English Wikipedia, along with other projects like WCommons and Wikisource, the project lacks actual engagement of these communities and volunteers for execution of the project. Since there is no Wikimedia community in Bhutan, it is hard at this point to speak about community engagement. However, considering the neighboring countries India and Nepal, they don’t seem to have much involvement.
  • I suggest a stronger community engagement before funding this proposal
  • I think funding of the proposal will lead to a great project, but I would like to see more community engagement with the broader community.
  • At this point, I would like to see projects focusing growing and strengthening the Bhutanese Wikimedia community along with Dzongkha Wikipedia. This a project that is worth funding to align with knowledge equity, but at this point, I encourage community development projects for Bhutan. Such a project will be a lot helpful after a decent community has been developed, and using them to would be more meaningful.
IEG IdeaLab review.png

This proposal has been recommended for due diligence review.

The Project Grants Committee has conducted a preliminary assessment of your proposal and recommended it for due diligence review. This means that a majority of the committee reviewers favorably assessed this proposal and have requested further investigation by Wikimedia Foundation staff.


Next steps:

  1. Aggregated committee comments from the committee are posted above. Note that these comments may vary, or even contradict each other, since they reflect the conclusions of multiple individual committee members who independently reviewed this proposal. We recommend that you review all the feedback and post any responses, clarifications or questions on this talk page.
  2. Following due diligence review, a final funding decision will be announced on March 1st, 2019.

Questions? Contact us.

I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 19:18, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

Round 2 2018 decision[edit]

IEG IdeaLab review.png

This project has not been selected for a Project Grant at this time.

We love that you took the chance to creatively improve the Wikimedia movement. The committee has reviewed this proposal and not recommended it for funding, but we hope you'll continue to engage in the program. Please drop by the IdeaLab to share and refine future ideas!


Next steps:

  1. Visit the IdeaLab to continue developing this idea and share any new ideas you may have.
  2. To reapply with this project in the future, please make updates based on the feedback provided in this round before resubmitting it for review in a new round.
  3. Check the schedule for the next open call to submit proposals - we look forward to helping you apply for a grant in a future round.

Questions? Contact us.


Further comments have been sent to the applicant privately at their request. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 15:18, 1 March 2019 (UTC)