Kennisnet is the Dutch organisation that makes one portal of all kinds of information on the internet that is useful to children who speak Dutch (Nederlands) in education. Currently (2005) Kennisnet has an audience of 2.500.000 students. Kennis is the Dutch word for knowledge.
On the initiative of some Dutch Wikimedians, we have contacted Kennisnet to see how Wikimedia can partner with Kennisnet to make the most of our shared audience. There were two main topics on the outset:
- Vandalism from behind proxies that are schools. A lot of vandalism on NL Wikipedia seems to occur from schools. In the past, 10 proxies have been blocked permanently.
On the first visit on December 15, 2004, we had a really pleasant suprise; we received an extremely warm welcome by the relevant people, and it became clear to Kennisnet that they too will benefit from a good cooperation. Among the highlights:
- Teachers have been complaining to Kennisnet about the often poor performance of wikimedia and had already asked if they could perhaps help out in doing something about it.
- Kennisnet uses open source for their own infrastructure and cooperation with similar organizations is welcomed.
- They publish their own e-zines and magazines and, we can address schools through that medium.
Some misunderstandings about Kennisnet
- They are NOT an ISP, they were a mediatory between a project also called Kennisnet that gave schools access to the internet. From 2004 onwards these contracts do not exist anymore. The idea now not only is wrong but also outdated.
- They are NOT a content provider, they are a portal, though they do build services on top of that portal. Their primary function is delivering content from all relevant parties to the Dutch educational system.
On the second visit on February 2, 2005, there were five Wikimedians. Another productive meeting was held. The highlights were:
- We will write an article to the Dutch teachers about wikipedia and the other wikimedia projects. We will explain about the problems with vandalism and ask for cooperation with the schools to identify the culprits who vandalize from school and deal with them in order to keep the projects open to the other children of the school.
- Kennisnet is in principle willing to host servers for Wikimedia. The contract necessary will state who is the legal owner of the content and will specify that our developers will have all needed access to these servers. This contract needs to be with the Dutch chapter (to be founded) of the Wikimedia Foundation.
- Kennisnet has expertise in setting up legal entities like a "stichting" (foundation). They have done it in the past for other partner organisations and they have their own team of lawyers.
- As Kennisnet is heavily into serving content, they have expertise in IP laws and regulations. They will see if we can get a "strippenkaart" (sort of subscription), an arrangement to see their lawyers and have them clarify stuff for us on a regular basis.
- Kennisnet has regular projects where a subject is developed by kids. These projects are redacted by professional writers. Kennisnet will investigate the use of Wikinews and Wikipedia for these projects.
- In principle Kennisnet can use our projects. However, they will also be part of our community. It is therefore important that the existing wikimedians who are also Kennisnet identify themselves as such. This will give Kennisnet street-cred.
- Many of the Kennisnet editors will become more involved with our projects. We have indicated that we are happy to give a presentation/workshop to these people (over 100 active editors).
- We may write on a regular basis to the schools/teachers/ict-coordinators. So we need to write our first piece.
- There is an urgent need for Wikimedia Nederland as a chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation. It means that we will need to talk about this and make our ideas clear about this subject.
- We need to continue making the board and the Dutch people aware of what is going on and what the stichting will be for.
The Queen Beatrix jubilee project
The Dutch wikipedia, wikinews and wiktionary project cooperate with Kennisnet in a project to have the Dutch schools cooperate on the Dutch wiki projects. For this purpose, they have information about the jubilee from the project's life on their site.
It is an exciting experiment where we will learn a lot about how we can deal with a big influx of schoolkids. How much vandalism will it generate ? How will we be able to cooperate with schools ? This long running project went live on 25th of April 2005. :)
On Monday 23 may 2005, the servers that will host Wikimedia content were installed in Amsterdam. They are SUN V20z and a V40z equiped with AMD Opteron dual processor. They are connected using gigabit ethernet to a CISCO 3560 switch. They are connected to the 1Gbps (Surfnet) Internet connection of Kennisnet.
The equipment was architected in cooperation of mark- and Kate and Kennisnet. One of the aspects that was important was a high mean time before failure (MTBF) and a small footprint. The hardware can be found in its own rack and as you can see in the picture there is some room to grow.
The servers do not have a name but, we hope that Dutch encyclopedists or lexicologists will be honoured by naming the servers after them. The idea of honouring Mr Johan Hendrik van Dale (after whom the dictionary that is the de facto standard for the dutch language was named), would be particularly nice.
Brainstorming session in Zoetermeer july 26, 2005
List of people present (alphabetically by first name)
- Ed Stevenhagen
- Jan-Bart de Vreede (Kenninsnet)
- Jan Kees Meindersma (Kennisnet)
- Jeroen Jansen (Kennisnet)
- Kim Bruning
- Lisa de Vreede (Kennisnet)
- Marije Tiesjema (Kennisnet)
- Nadine Salas (Kennisnet)
- Paul Rijlaarsdam (Kennisnet)
- Wiki in the classroom
- Wiki and homework
- Translation-assignments and the use of Wikis
- Use of audio and video
- Students want summaries
- Statistics from foreign countries (payed for): to have our primary data correctly filled out
- Further discussion and development of ideas on meta at Kennisnet/nl/Kennisnet en Wikipedia (Nederlands) and Kennisnet/en/Kennisnet and Wikipedia (English).