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Wikicite/grant/WikiCite for Librarians: Interactive Learning Pathways for Information Professionals

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Project summary[edit]

Project Name
WikiCite for Librarians: Interactive Learning Pathways for Information Professionals
Start/End dates
November 2020 to May 2021
Amount requested (and the currency you wish to receive it in)
$3,979.39 USD
Amount requested (in US$ equivalent)
$3,979.39 USD

The people[edit]

Contact person name/Wikimedia username
Clifford Anderson/Clifford_Anderson
Contact person e-mail address

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Organisation (optional)
Vanderbilt University

If this grant is for an organisation (for example a Wikimedia Affiliate), name it here

Project participants
Who is working on this project. For each member of the team, please describe any project-related skills, experience, or other background you have that might help contribute to making this idea a success.

The project[edit]


Describe the project or event.

The goal of the project is to develop and implement interactive learning pathways for information professionals to learn the fundamentals of WikiCite. The project situates itself in the grand tradition of "scrambled" and "branching" textbooks, namely, educational resources that customize learning pathways by providing regular assessments and then directing learning to more or less advanced materials on the basis of their progress. Think "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories but for learning.

Librarians at the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries of Vanderbilt University have embarked on a collaborative project to bring metadata about faculty and their works into Wikidata. Through this WikiProject, known as VandyCite, we have learned a number of practical lessons about how to effectively train beginners to work in the Wikidata environment and to learn how to scope the parameters of a project to locate and move data into Wikidata. A key observation is that libraries come to WikiCite with various levels of experience using other Wikimedia projects like Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. So a "one size fits all" training program inevitably mores to quickly or to slowly for participants.

We will share what we have learned by building a set of interactive learning materials with Twine. Twine is a JavaScript library that allows us to develop a branching framework for learning the basics of WikiCite. As a part of our learning pathways, we will include modules in the form of both written publications as well as brief videos that will make it easier for cultural heritage organizations to train their staffs to carry out similar WikiCite projects in the future.


Why is this project needed? What will it solve or improve?

Because the concerns of libraries overlap considerably with those of Wikidata, there has been much interest in discovering how Wikidata can enhance the work of librarians. This has lead to the development of significant resources focused on training in the context of libraries. Two noteworthy summaries of this work are the Practical Wikidata for Librarians WikiProject page produced out of the Linked Data for Production project and the Stanford Libraries WikiProject page. Examination of resources linked to these pages shows numerous static web pages and some long video recordings of conference and workshop presentations. However, with the notable exception of the Wikidata Tours tutorials few of these resources are interactive or allow for guided exploration of beginning Wikidata topics.

Vanderbilt Libraries formed a Wikidata project team due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Team members mostly trained themselves in editing Wikidata, but we were hindered by a lack of information, very long training videos, and techniques buried in group discussions. We also faced some basic questions about structure and completeness in Wikidata which couldn’t be easily answered.

By documenting what we have learned from our experience, we will make it easier for others to get similar projects up and running faster. Building capacity in this area will prepare knowledgeable Wikidata users who will be better prepared for developing and using more sophisticated tools that may automate or streamline the upload process.

We think that customized learning pathways will help librarians and library workers learn Wikidata in less time and with less frustration. The learning pathways will enable participants to become effective contributors to WikiCite with as little repetition about what they already known from other engagements with Wikidata, Wikipedia, or Wikimedia Commons.


Tell us how you'll carry out your project. What will you and other organizers spend your time doing? What will you have done at the end of your project?

We will create a series of multimedia learning pathways designed to help beginners install and use Wikidata tools and get started editing. We will discuss how to resolve common challenges such as determining whether an item already exists, rectifying duplicates, and identifying key properties associated with particular item types.

Users will navigate the pathways using the interactive story software, Twine. A navigation map of the training will be available for the user to see and directly access any individual component. Multimedia objects will be modular and brief in nature to allow for granular learning opportunities.

We will first recommend a pathway on basic editing, navigable in forward and reverse order. Pathways on more complex tasks will have FAQs which branch to supplemental units. A map and/or a search box will be displayed to aid in jumping across pathways.

The pathways on record creation, which require the most complex training, will feature a continually-visible FAQ. Each question in the FAQ will lead to a supplemental module. For example, the module on item creation for a person would have among the FAQs: “How do I tell when my record is complete?” This link would lead to another focused module.

Pathways on creating common item types, such as journal articles or monographs, will be part of the main training sequence. The Twine page for each module will focus on a question, such as “I want to create a record for…” followed by a list of more specialized items, such as clinical trials, which we will add to the FAQ.

The pathway on tools will follow a similar pattern. A few basic tools will be demonstrated in the main module, while advanced tool modules will be offered in the branches. Community experts or toolmakers will be invited to contribute modules to the pathways.

Multimedia modules will be recorded and captioned in English, when appropriate, and captioned or dubbed in Spanish and Chinese as well as other languages as staff skillsets allow. All closed captions will be produced by humans (via outsourcing) to ensure quality and searchability. We may also hire students to check the quality of the closed captions and translations. We will translate Wikidata terms using Wikimedia sources.

Early-stage learning pathways and module planning, including learning outcomes, are available via our sandbox.

Measures of success[edit]

What are criteria you will define success for your project, and how do you intend to measure for them? What are your targets for these measurements?

Success will be measured by the completeness of modules and learning pathways. We will also monitor use through web analytics, provide recognition to testers who complete a substantial number of edits, and explore the feasibility of offering supplemental synchronous training to better understand the use of materials.


Who is your target audience for this project, and how will you ? How will you engage the community you’re aiming to serve at various points during your project?

Although our target will be librarians, the learning pathways may be useful for professionals working in other cultural heritage institutions, such as galleries or museums, who would like to make metadata on collections or works freely available through Wikidata. As we generate the modules, we will generate feedback by engaging testers. Because the individual modules will be brief, they can easily be edited, moved, or replaced based on the feedback we receive. We also intend to engage the community by inviting experts to contribute specialized modules and/or pathways and exploring options to crowdsource captioning or dubbing.

The Budget[edit]

How you will use the funds you are requesting? List bullet points for each expense. (You can create a table or link to a separate (public) document if needed.

Proposed Budget
Item Rationale Expense
Adobe Creative Cloud (5 annual licenses) Multimedia production $1,199.40
Graphic design Outsourcing $1,000.00
Zoom H5 4-Track portable recorder Audio recording $279.99
Closed captioning Outsourcing $500.00
Translating into Mandarin Chinese and Spanish Outsourcing $1,000.00
Total $3,979.39

COVID risk assessment (for in-person events)[edit]

If the project is for an in-person event, you must complete the risk assessment tool and checklist, and provide a link to copies of these documents here. Events must not include any international travel, and must follow all applicable local health guidelines.


Community notification[edit]

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Please provide links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions.


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Any questions about this proposal and feedback from reviewers should be placed on the associated discussion page.