Small libraries can be big resources for their communities
Having a branch of The Wikipedia Library can benefit every language version of Wikipedia. TWL Light is a lightweight version of an online library for smaller language communities with fewer active volunteers. It can also serve as a starting point for Wikipedias that don't yet have many volunteers or who want to experiment before committing to larger projects.
You can use this guide to set up a library branch for your community that fits its size. The instructions below enable you to start branch without developing big programs or running a community consultation.
We recommend that your TWL branches start with just 1 page:
Home page: Use the TWL template to make a central page for your library. Here is the template: The Wikipedia Library/Kit/Lite. On that page you'll include...
- Description of the Library project: explain how Library branches can operate as research hubs and help the community support each other and make reading easier.
- List of local library-related pages: Your community likely already has activities that support research. Highlight these resources on our Wikipedia Library Branches to make them easier to access on your Wiki.
- Links to globally available resource sign-up pages: we list resources available for editors in the global community at The Wikipedia Library/Journals
- Links to other global branches your community might be interested in (like ones your editors are multi-lingual in). See this page for the full list of other TWL branches.
At the same time, create a global branch page (see sample) with space for recording future branch development. Enter your language in the box below and click the button. You will then be taken to a preloaded page.
Even the smallest community can build a bookshelf
Once you have set up the main page, you can add a few resource pages to make the library more useful and encourage editors to regularly interact with the resource pages. Below are several lightweight projects that you can create on separate pages that don't require long-term maintenance. Remember that resource pages only support the community if editors know they exist: we recommend notifying and reminding editors where these pages are and how to use them.
Free Resources List
Many editors don't know where free resources are available on the web. Creating a bibliography of the most useful digital resources allows editors to find what they need, when they need it.
- Start the page using the kit page The_Wikipedia_Library/Kit/Free_resources
- If possible, borrow lists of resources from existing guides (such as en:Wikipedia:The_Wikipedia_Library/Resources and use them as a basis from which to build a list of sources relevant to your community.
- Include a list of Open Access Resources in your language using tools like the ROAD search engine.
- Ask editors to help by posting a link to the page on a community forum like English Wikipedia's Village Pump.
- People: One editor can start a Free Resources list. They can encourage other editors to contribute, particularly by inviting experts in particular subject areas.
- Skills: One editor with an awareness of online free resources that might be of interest to other editors; on-wiki communication and community development skills.
- Time: The time investment on this is as little or as much as you make it, from one hour for a very basic list to much longer for a more extensive subject-based guide.
The first project that most small communities can focus on is a creating a Community Library. Community Libraries are a location for editors to record what hard-to-access resources they can share with other editors. These resources might include physical research materials, like print books; digital research materials, like paywalled databases; or location-based resources, like access to research libraries.
Examples of such projects can be found at:
The template page for setting up a community library can be found at The Wikipedia Library/Kit/Community library
- Establish Community Library page using markup from the Community Library kit page
- Recruit initial contributors to the page with talk page messages
- Announce the Library at your community noticeboard, once you have content
- Encourage community members to list accessible resources
- Provide occasional reminders to your community about the project
- People: At first, one editor with resource access can start a Community Library. They can encourage other editors to use the space; however, to ensure that project develops and expands, more editors will be needed.
- Skills: One editor with access to desirable resources that might be of interest to other editors; on-wiki communication and community development skills; ability to monitor on-wiki exchanges using watchlist, and experience facilitating discussions on wiki.
- Time: The time investment on this is as little or as much as you make it: the library will probably require 1–2 hours to set up at first, and 2–4 hours of communication and encouragement to get editors to use and participate in the exchange. Subsequent maintenance is low.
The best way to increase access to resources throughout a Wikimedia community is to for editors to share access they already have through academic and research institutions. A Resource Exchange or Resource Sharing project is a place where an editor can ask if anyone has access to a source, and an editor who does have access can send them a copy. This model of collaborative research is common in communities around the world, but it must respect your local copyright, access, and distribution laws.
For information about setting up such a page see:
- Establish an exchange page using the share kit; make sure exchange policies are appropriate for your community
- Announce the new exchange, and encourage the community to ask for sources
- Encourage other contributors to share sources
- Provide occasional reminders of the program
- People: At first, the development of a Resource Exchange can involve one volunteer who has access to sources in demand, and who can encourage editors to use the space. However, to ensure that a Resource Exchange is both prompt and active, a community of editors with access to resources will need to be established.
- Skills: One editor with access to a research library to respond to the initial source requests (someone with library experience might do best); on-wiki communication and community development skills; ability to monitor on-wiki exchanges using watchlist; and experience participating in discussions on-wiki.
- Time: Though the time investment on this is as little or as much as you make it, there are some expected time commitments: beginning set up will probably require 3–5 hours, and a further 5–10 hours of communication and encouragement of editors to use and participate in the exchange. Subsequent maintenance is low, based on the number of resource requests and the number of resource providers supporting the page.