In this issue we highlight Wikimania, global developments and, as always, a roundup of news and community items related to libraries and digital knowledge.
Wikimania 2019, which ran from 14 to 18 August, included a Libraries Space to showcase intersections between libraries and Wikimedia projects. Goals of the space included sharing best practices, capacity and partnership building, and providing opportunities for collaborative working.
Before the main Wikimania event, the Swedish Library Association hosted an edit-a-thon, including lightning talks and discussions. The space opened on day 1 of the conference proper (16 August) with a workshop that aimed to introduce librarians to Wikidata and advocate adding data about libraries worldwide to the site.
Day 3 (18 August) opened with a series of lightning talks. Topics included strategic inclusion of library data on Wikidata, inventaire.io, library outreach for user groups, and Wikidata and bibliographic infrastructure. This was followed by a round of five-minute "idea pitches". After a break, the space continued with a set of brainstorming and discussion groups, a Wikimedia and Libraries User Group lunch, and two Wikidata-focused workshops.
We're building something great, but..
Many of you probably already know of the Library Card platform, our centralised platform for applying (and soon for accessing and searching!) for access to high quality sources. The platform is constantly evolving to meet the growing needs and interests of Wikimedia contributors, to be user-friendly and to serve users of varying language backgrounds. We're giving the final touches to EZproxy – scheduled to roll out soon, followed by the integration of EBSCO Discovery Service, bringing the platform two steps closer to a one-stop solution for all of your research needs.
But to be a truly one-stop solution, we need your help. Over 250 editions – that's the number of languages in which Wikimedia projects are made available; we intend to serve every single editor regardless of their language background. That is what we mean by 'truly'. The Library Card platform currently has translations of 90% or more of its content available in nine languages (French, Traditional Chinese, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Simplified Chinese, Turkish and Hindi), thanks to the volunteer translators at translatewiki.net.
- If you are someone who knows how to write in a language other than English, is interested in translation, and has some time to spare, please visit translatewiki.net. If the language you are trying to translate is fully translated, you can review the contributions of other translators.
- If you are someone who knows how to code, you can help us too by starting at Phabricator.
If you have any questions, reach out to us at
Wikimedia and Libraries User Group
The user group was gearing up for Wikimania in June and have been working on resources and activities for the group post-Wikimania. The steering committee met twice, once in July and then in August. The July meeting's agenda was oriented towards shaping the group's presence in Wikimania, and to that end designing a poster for the organizational gallery and bringing the Libraries space to fruition.
The post-Wikimania meetup of the steering committee was geared towards engaging the user group members in different activities and making the user group a true rendezvous for librarians and Wikipedians. The group's participation in the upcoming WikidataCon 2019 and WikiConference North America was also briefly discussed.
One point that was discussed in both the meetings and currently in the works is the training resources. Various materials pertaining to #1Lib1Ref, Wikidata, Commons, etc. are being collated for the benefit of the user group. Once completed, the document would be uploaded to Meta for further input and sharing. An activity that would involve user group members, particularly librarians, entering their library into Wikidata is also being designed and will soon be publicised for participation.
A Wikibrarian's story
One's arrival into the world of Wikimedia projects is almost always a noteworthy event. Here we share one such account of a librarian who was introduced to Wikipedia in an unusual way and began their adventure trying to better understand Wikipedia and now helps others understand it too!
Laurie Bridges is an Instruction and Outreach Librarian at Oregon State University in the US. She was introduced to Wikipedia by her son: at age 9, he was assigned a class project to research and present about a species of frog, and was told to only use Wikipedia for his research. When he related this to her, she thought, "If 9-year-olds are being introduced to research using Wikipedia, I better learn more about Wikipedia". So she got involved because she wanted to better understand the resource her son, and the students at her university, use. She explains:
Students and faculty are familiar with [Wikipedia] because many use it daily, although they do not cite it in their papers. As a librarian I teach about information literacy and help students and faculty with their research. Wikipedia is a familiar website that I can use to teach information literacy and afterwards students and faculty leave equipped with a better understanding of how the information source works. Students are used to teachers and professors saying, "Don't use Wikipedia." However, this dismissive statement doesn't teach the students how, why, or when they can use Wikipedia or other online resources. We are living in a time of misinformation and I want students to understand the information they are using and become critical consumers of that information. Using Wikipedia to teach students about information literacy is fun! In addition, it's fulfilling because I can see students' excitement as they learn more about Wikipedia, a website they use on a daily basis. I've found teaching with Wikipedia to be so rewarding that I want to spread the word.
Finally, if librarians don't teach students about Wikipedia and what it is (or isn't), who is going to teach them? I'd like to see more activity and interest from librarians related to Wikipedia. This is why whenever I get a chance, I will introduce other librarians to ... the Wikimedia Movement. Last year I received a scholarship to attend Wikimedia + Education in San Sebastián, Spain. I was only one of two librarians in attendance (in addition to Basque librarians who were volunteering at the event). It was a great learning opportunity and I connected with so many enthusiastic educators. I'd love to see enough interest from librarians to host a Wikimedia + Libraries conference! That would be a great conference!
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