WikiConference North America/2017

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WikiConference North America 2017
When and Where
Date9-10 August 2017
City, StateMontreal, Quebec, CA
VenuesMcGill University Library, BAnQ-Vieux-Montreal, Le Centre Sheraton Montreal
Official website

WikiConference North America 2017 took place in Montreal on August 9-10 as a pre-conference to Wikimania (August 11-13).

The program started with our annual Culture Crawl and ended with a sharing session with participants giving organizers feedback on the event. In between, the conference included a photo drive, four keynote addresses, speakers, panelists, lightning talks, training, editathons, and more. The all-volunteer event, organized without the need for a grant, was a great experience for attendees, organizers, and venue hosts. We worked closely with the Wikimania 2017 team to cooperate on space, registration and catering logistics which resulted in a highly successful conference. Thank you to all who participated.

On behalf of the conference organizing committee,

Kelly Doyle
Richard Knipel
Andrew Lih
Kevin Payravi
Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight


This year's theme was "amplify", written in the three main languages of North America -English, French, Spanish- as Amplify | Amplifier | Amplificar. Our colors were a deep blue field and white lettering in support of the flag of the flag of Quebec. Our branding was carried out in our stickers and the conference T-shirts, which were worn by conference organizers, so it was easy to identify whom to reach out to in case of an issue, and could be ordered online by attendees. The colors and theme were also used on stickers, which were made available to all conference participants.


Culture Crawl schedule
Submission categories

People were invited to submit talks and ideas, but in a more limited fashion than last year's peer review system. Themes included:

  • Advocacy & Outreach
  • Technology & Infrastructure
  • Education and Academic Engagement
  • Community
  • GLAM


There were no scholarships awarded as there was no grant.


  • Registration for WikiConference North America was done through Wikimania's registration system.
  • Registration fees:
    • Day 1, Culture Crawl - free of charge
    • Day 2, Full day preconference at Le Centre Sheraton Montréal - CDN $50
  • Check-in occurred at the event headquarters, Le Centre Sheraton Montreal. Participants received a lanyard, name badge, and handout regarding venue locations, tour offerings, safe space policy.


  • April 1, 2017: Organizing team meating with Kacie Harrold (WMF) at WMCON, Berlin.
  • June 4-5, 2017: Site visit to Montreal by Andrew Lih and Kevin Payravi.
    • Visits to conference hotel, museum venues, BaNQ, McGill University
    • Meetings with the staff of BaNQ, Wikimedia Canada and Wikimedia Foundation (Louise Wo, Erin Lacey, Ellie Young)
  • Weekly meetings: Tuesday nights, 1800 Pacific Time, via Google Hangouts.

Day 0: Preparation[edit]

August 8, 2017

  • Afternoon: Room inspections and planning; printing of Culture Crawl one page guides for attendees (PDF)
  • Evening: Organizer and volunteers' safety training at Le Sheraton.

Day 1: Culture Crawl[edit]

Wikiconference NA Culture Crawl one page guide given to attendees

Our second-annual Culture Crawl connected Wikimedians with Montreal's cultural institutions. The day's activities afforded an opportunity to explore and connect with the city.

At Le Sheraton
  • Welcome and introduction. Handouts. Information about safety (look for people in blue shirts if you need help).
At McGill University
  • Three unique tours, including backstage tours with their collections and archive.
  • Free access to the Redpath Museum
  • Editathon with university library materials and the Maude Abbott Medical Museum
  • 10 am - 36 signups (Archives, Rare Books and Special Collections)
  • 11 am - 15 signups (Battle of Vimy Ridge exhibit and Canadian Architecture Collection)
  • 12 noon - 27 signups (Archives, Rare Books and Special Collections)
At the BAnQ Vieux-Montréal

This was the venue where we requested people meet for an edit-a-thon and

At Les 3 Brasseurs/3 Brewers, 105 Rue Saint Paul Est, Montréal, QC H2Y 1G7

  • Social gathering from 6:00PM-10:00PM in Old Town Montreal. Full food service and drinks available.
  • No-host reception, facilitated by WikiConference North America, was open to all Wikimania pre-conference attendees
  • Designed to get attendees to historic part of the city
  • Estimated attendance - 100-150 people over four hours

Day 2: Program Day[edit]

Schedule - WikiConference North America 2017 Day 2
At Le Sheraton
  • Welcome and introduction
  • Multiple brief keynotes
    • The keynote session featured four speakers, with representatives from Canada, the United States, and Mexico present.
      • Benoit Rochon (president), Wikimedia Canada, who shared Wikimedia Canada's activities and First Nations project.
      • Sherry Antoine (program and outreach manager) and Alice Baker (founder), AfroCROWD
      • Iváy Martínez (president) and Salvador Alcántar (vice-president), Wikimedia México
      • Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight (co-founder), Women in Red, Gender Diversity Mapping project
  • Speakers included a combination of peer reviewed submissions and invited talks
    • Wikipedia and academia
    • Wikipedia and libraries
    • Community Wishlist and tech
    • Tool demos
  • Unconference
  • Roundtable discussion on innovating edit-a-thons and meetups
  • Lightning Talks
Wikidata in one page
  • Wikidata Training
    • Andrew Lih held a whole afternoon of Wikidata training and bulk editing techniques
      • Debuted the Wikidata One Pager for the first time - a PDF with Wikidata essentials
      • Estimated attendance - 25-30 people
    • The training also included a number of guest speakers:
      • Léa Lecroix - Project Manager Community Communication for Wikidata: Talked about Wikidata's direction and WikidataCon in Berlin
      • Sandra Fauconnier and Amanda Bittaker - Structured Data on Commons: This was technically the first-ever official talk about the Structured Data on Commons project since it was funded and the team constituted, since Wikiconference was held before Wikimania.
      • Maarten Dammers - developer and coordinator of Sum of All Paintings project
      • Paweł Marynowski (User:Yarl) - Developer of Pattypan Commons uploading tool: Described how the tool works by using spreadsheet data to facilitate uploading images and corresponding metadata
  • Wrap-up session and feedback
    • General comments
      • Culture Crawl was very popular: people appreciated seeing the city before the next few days being spent inside a conference facility
      • Discussed future plans for Wikiconference in different cities
    • Estimated attendance: 40-50 people

Future planning[edit]

We are pleased to announce that we have 2018 and 2019 plans lined up already.

  • 2018 - Columbus, Ohio - Ohio State University and OCLC sponsoring with in-kind donation of space and staff. October 18-21, 2018.
  • 2019 - Mexico City, Mexico - Wikimedia MX has graciously offered to host

External links[edit]