The Wikipedia Library/1Lib1Ref/Lessons/January 2019

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#1Lib1Ref Year 4
January 2019 Report


The January #1Lib1Ref campaign saw an energy exhibited by participants that was infectious. The campaign saw major additions, new entrants and a new sense of competition between languages and institutions. In this iteration #1Lib1Ref reached record highs and saw extensive participation from emerging communities and languages. For the first time the French Wikipedia took the lead with over 33% of the total number of contributions made during the campaign. Based on these results, we anticipate that #1Lib1Ref has the potential of supporting outreach in diverse communities.


In the run-up to the campaign, the campaign homepage was redesigned to direct readers to the pathway most appropriate for their context (editing, organizing, or sharing). These pathways provided tailored resources, including how-to-guides (in video, GIF and one-page jpeg formats), cases studies, organizers guides and pre-created posts to allow easy campaign sharing on social media. The main campaign video was also open for translations to ensure localization and enhance the reach of the campaign. The organizer page had a set of case studies exploring lessons learned and tips for success, providing support for new organizers. The share section also promoted sharing of the new materials via embedded social media links.

There was also a concerted effort to recruit a global team to participate in the campaign, lead outreach in their local context and extend/disseminate information about the campaign both online and offline.

  • Ambassadors: Experienced community leaders who have organized a 1Lib1Ref activity before, and are willing to provide support to other participants who want to participate or host events as part of the #1Lib1Ref campaign.
  • Champions: Avid volunteers who want to enlist new librarians and libraries while encouraging their institutions to promote and participate in the campaign.
  • Amplifiers: People who want to spread the word about 1Lib1Ref and are eager to publicize it before, during and after the campaign.

One major setback in our planning was the late announcement of the campaign as people were still wondering whether the campaign was going to hold. This prompted us on the fact that the campaign had not yet gained notability for its dates of organising like other global campaigns in our movement such as Wiki Loves Monuments, Wiki Loves Earth, Wiki Loves Africa, etc. and there was a need to create and openly stipulate a definite date for the campaign(s) (January & May), to avoid doubt and delays for organizers in the future.


The Hashtags tool was again used as the primary means of tracking campaign-related edits across the projects. As compared to previous campaigns it was able to track additional projects and more effectively exclude bot edits, despite some data collection problems. This allowed for monitoring statistics in near-realtime throughout most of the campaign.

A number of improvements made to Citation Hunt since the previous campaign helped significantly augment its usability. It was generally helpful to new organizers as they found it easy to use and very easy to explain to their audience. A new language edition was also achieved through the campaign this year.

The Programs & Events Dashboard saw significant usage for local tracking of campaigns: 45 programs including 464 editors tracked the editing of over 6000 articles, including over 500 that were newly created during the campaign. A significant percentage of these programs were from the pan-Canadian competition, but there were also programs in Europe, Israel, Africa, India, and the United States.

For future campaigns, additional improvements to the Hashtags tool and the Dashboard should allow for more effective tracking and analysis, as well as supporting cross-institutional competitions.

Community Engagement[edit]

There was a lot of enthusiasm and energy exhibited around the January campaign. The creation of the mailing list allowed interested participants to connect before the campaign, and we encountered many questions as well as suggestions from organizers which influenced the development of the campaign.

Over forty in-person and online events were conducted during the course and immediate aftermath of the campaign. The mode of engagement was extended beyond just social media, as more than six webinars were hosted to help participants all across the world.

There was a significant expansion of the 2018 Canadian competition: rather than being limited to Quebec-based libraries, the 2019 edition was a pan-Canadian event. This resulted in significant edits to both English and French Wikipedia. Participants were motivated by a desire to win the competition and a spirit of friendly competition in addition to the values of the campaign. However, this group also request improvements to the Dashboard to allow easy tracking of stats and earlier announcement of the campaign dates.

A significant increase in participation from Africa and Asia saw more than eight online and offline activities in Africa (spanning South Africa, Ghana, Cameroon and Sudan) with several other countries committing to participation in the May campaign. The activities in South Africa and India grew particularly from the Wikipedia Library pre-conference at Wikimania 2018 and TWLCon respectively.

An analysis of the hashtag data demonstrated significant participation by new and reactivated editors on English Wikipedia, although at a slightly lower rate than in 2018. On French Wikipedia, conversely, the rate of new editors rose slightly but was significantly outpaced by the rate of reactivated and active editors. Activity on Serbian Wikipedia was almost entirely from active editors, and on Hebrew over half of all edits were made by new editors. There were significant contributions from other language Wikipedias and even though many other small languages received some contributions many of those people still edited on the English Wikipedia.


  • The final hashtags tally was 10,877 edits in 47 languages, including first-place French Wikipedia with 3685 edits:
  • There were 79 edits across 7 projects in the opening hours of the campaign.
  • 1.3 million words were added as recorded on the Dashboard
  • 708 editors participated
  • 516 articles were created and 6110 total were edited
  • 27 wikis saw more than 10 edits, 6 more than 100, and 4 more than 1000
  • Over 3.5 million people were reached on social media by 3831 posts made by 1310 users
  • Campaign-related Tweets from 34 countries had over 12 million impressions.
  • About 40 press mentions of the campaign were noted.


The final results signified the growth of the campaign into areas and languages previously not represented.

The feedback survey received a relatively low response rate given total participation, but was a fairly representative sample geographically and by participant type. Most respondents felt the campaign was relatively effective, and noted high points such as the statistics by language, retweeting of campaign participants by TWL/WLUG, and the competitive aspect. Opportunities for improvement noted by survey respondents included improvements to the Dashboard, changes to the timing and length of the campaign, extending the campaign to Wikidata, access to resources in local languages, creation of an organizer toolkit, improved promotion, and a post-campaign debrief, among other suggestions.

Some communities noted that they were not able to participate in the campaign due to delays in obtaining grant funding for events, time constraints relative to the timing and length of the campaign, and lack of broad community awareness.

Future Plans[edit]

The campaign has been adopted as a yearly activity with two major campaigns in January and May. That and a potential change to the length of the campaign should allow for more participation. Some other detailed future plans include: