This page provides an overview of Wikimedia and outlines areas of potential collaboration between UN agencies and Wikimedia with examples. There are many possible areas of collaboration with Wikimedia centered around sharing knowledge and content.
Education is essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and has its own dedicated Goal, to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Wikimedia sites including Wikipedia receive 15 billion page views per month from 500 million people and are some of the most used educational resources in the world.
Education is both a goal in itself and a means for attaining all the other SDGs. It is not only an integral part of sustainable development, but also a key enabler for it. That is why education represents an essential strategy in the pursuit of the SDGs.
Wikimedia is a global movement whose mission is to make the sum of human knowledge freely available to all, it does this through websites including:
|Wikipedia: the most popular encyclopaedia in the world, written by 10,000s of volunteers, it has over 40 million articles, available across 299 languages.|
|Wikidata: a free, structured, multilingual database of facts. It holds information on over 40 million concepts, it can be read and edited by both humans and machines.|
|Wikimedia Commons: a repository of over 40 million free photographs, diagrams, maps, videos, animations, music, sounds, spoken texts, and other free media, avaiable in many languages.|
|Wikivoyage: a worldwide travel guide written by volunteers in the same spirit of sharing knowledge that makes travel so enjoyable.|
|Wikisource: a multilingual project to collect free and open license texts.|
Wikimedia websites are some of the most used educational resources in the world, they receive 14 billion page views per month from 500 million people. This includes access through zero rated services including Facebook Free Basics and Wikipedia Zero. Additionally, information from Wikipedia and Wikidata appear in Google Knowledge Graph and on Facebook.
Wikipedia has been available for over 15 years and has become an important part of many people's education.
“By 'open access' to the literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself."
Open licensing/Open Access is achieved through open licenses, Wikimedia projects use content available under the following licenses:
Licenses with non commercial or no derivative clauses are not accepted by Wikimedia projects. UN agencies and other IGOs are able to use a specific set of Creative Commons licenses for Intergovernmental Organisations.
Wikimedia is a decentralised movement, consisting of organisations and indiviudal volunteers:
|Wikimedia Foundation: provides support for Wikipedia and other projects, and works to create or improve access to information around the world.|
|Wikimedia Chapters and User Groups: are independent organizations founded to support and promote the Wikimedia projects in a specified geographical region (in most cases, a country).|
|Volunteers: the tens of thousands of contributors to Wikimedia projects come from many cultures and backgrounds but all share the common aim of bringing free educational content to the world.|
You can contact your local Wikimedia chapter or user group, you can also contact John Cummings, Wikimedian in Residence at UNESCO, J.Cummings(@)unesco.org.
Wikimedia has a long history of collaborating with organisations in education, science, culture and beyond, with documentation, tools, guidance and metrics available for activities. This list provides an overview of the kinds of projects which are possible with examples from UN agencies. A specific area of Wikimedia called Wikiproject United Nations has been set up to help all UN agencies share content and knowledge on Wikimedia projects.
- UNESCO produce a monthly report on the use of their public information which includes a section on Wikimedia (go to latest issues, click report, then section 3.4).
Wikimedia can provide a very large audience in many languages for an organisation's images, audio and video content. Thousands of organisations have shared their content on Wikimedia projects, including though formal partnerships, UN agencies have unique content which has a unique role in improving the public's understanding the areas of work of the UN. Tools are available to show where media from an organisation is displayed on across Wikimedia projects and the number of views for those pages.
Text available under an open license can often be added directly to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects to improve the content and provide a new audience to the work. For example the English Wikipedia article for Violent Extremism article is created entirely from text from two UNESCO publications and receives 80 views per day.
- UNESCO: copied text from their publications which is available under Open Access into Wikipedia to create and improve over 200 Wikipedia articles, currently these articles receive over 2 million page views per month.
- Text from the WIPO publications Understanding Industrial Property and Understanding Copyright and Related Rights was used to create the English Wikipedia article Industrial property which received over 12,000 page views in 2017.
Open data can be added to Wikidata where it is shared on other Wikimedia projects, including graphs, maps and information boxes on Wikipedia. The data is linked and combined with other datasets making it more useful. Wikidata is used by Google Knowledge Graph and semantic results in Google search results and many data visualisation services like Histropedia (timelines e.g The Apollo missions) and Monumental (a built heritage explorer). There are also more technical tools like Wikidata Graph Builder, Wikidata Query Service which allow the user to query the data directly World Heritage sites.
- UNESCO has shared several datasets on Wikidata including World Heritage, Biosphere Reserves and data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.
Wikimedia Commons holds over 40 million media files (images, audio and videos) that can be used by anyone, including commercially. A guide has been developed in cooperation with UNESCO staff to help people people reuse the content.
- UNESCO has used images from Wikimedia on their social media channels to promote their projects.
Promoting Wikimedia activities encourages the production of educational content, free for everyone to use and benefit from.
- In 2016 and 2017 UNESCO promoted Wiki Loves Africa 2016 as part of the UNESCO Unite4Heritage project.
- In 2016 and 2017 UNESCO and the United Nations promoted Wiki Loves Monuments on their social media as part of the UNESCO Unite4Heritage project.
- In 2016 and 2017 UNESCO promoted Wiki Loves Earth and ran Wiki Loves Earth Biosphere Reserves.
Events like editathons, competitions and expert meetings can support the creation of content on a specific subject and facilitate knowledge sharing between Wikimedia and the UN.
- United Nations Women Edit-a-thon is a global project and edit-a-thon that was held on International Youth Day in 2016 and 2017, it created Wikipedia content that will help close the gender gap and launched the Her Story Campaign. This event was organized by the United Nations Women and UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth supported by the Wikipedia community. The main event was held in United Nations Headquarters in New York City, and in Cairo, Egypt by UN Women Arab States/North Africa as well as many local events and virtual edit-a-thons.
- UNESCO hosted a meeting of Wikimedia staff coordinating with the cultural sector in 2017.
- UNESCO ran a competition to use their images on Wikimedia projects, this lead to an increase from 1 million to 10 million page views per month.
UN organisations and Wikimedia organisations have collaborated to produce work including:
- UNESCO, Wikimedia Sweden and Wikimedia Italia produced a photography exhibition on cultural heritage at risk, which has been displayed at United Nations Office at Geneva, UNESCO HQ in Paris and 10 other locations in Europe and North America.
- The German Commission for UNESCO, Wikimedia Deutschland and the North Rhine-Westphalian Library Service Centre (hbz) co-published Open Content A Practical Guide to Using Creative Commons Licences, a booklet providing practical guidelines for the use and application of open content licences in 2014.
Wikimedian in Residence is a role in which a Wikimedia editor accepts a placement with an institution to facilitate a close working relationship between the Wikimedia movement and the institution through a range of activities, both internal and public-facing. Wikipedians in Residence are usually financially compensated by the institution or by a Wikimedia chapter, but they may also be volunteers.
- UNESCO: John Cummings has been working as Wikimedian in Residence at UNESCO since 2015 to help UNESCO share its knowledge and content through Wikipedia.
- UNESCO: in 2017 Sandra Fauconnier worked with Dutch cultural institutions (Utrecht University Library, Zeeuws Archief and International Institute of Social History) that hold documents included in the Memory of the World register.