Wikimedia Conference 2011/Documentation/Working Groups: GLAM

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Working Groups: GLAM[edit]

General description:

The timeslot is reserved for about 5 working groups. These working groups will focus on specific questions or topics, which can lead to an actual answer or solution within the time frame. The working groups can be used to either cover important topics not covered in the set schedule, or to go more in-depth into the topics covered.

Following the group discussions, the results will be presented plenary in a short presentation, and there will be a discussion about the outcomes.


Liam Wyatt[edit]

  • GLAM-activist and Wikipedian in Residence at the British Museum. Now employed by the WMF in order to improve relationships with cultural organisations.
  • Regarding GLAM all chapters for once seem to agree on this: It's a good thing that it is under chapter guidance, not WMF responsibility.


Q: Should there be a focus on GLAM institutions exclusively?
A: There are at least 3 more organsiations that fit the concept: broadcaters, zoos and botanical gardens. GLAM is just a 
convenient acronym.

Q: How can the WMF help the chapters? A: This thing is designed in a way that chapters are helped to help themselves. Suggestions:

  1. Ambassodor system: How to receive training. This is more important regarding smaller chapters lacking contacts to GLAMs
  2. Documentation & case studies: How do you edit Wikipedia, how do you run a backstage pass tour, how do you document?


  1. Tools: What tools are required to improve collaborations? We need to know what best practices are ourselves.

The British Museum experience[edit]

  • Wikipedians were brought into the museum and in contact with the curator, so they could get together.
  • The backstage pass tour: 40 people shown around and then in the afternoon people sat down and Wikipedians told the museum about their work.
  • A self perpetuating relationship. Even though Liam is no longer there, the contacts persists.
  • Never met a curator that didn't like the idea. Therefore it is imperative to work on personal basis, rather than just having contracts between chapters and museums.
Q:How do the partnerships usually materialize?
A: The National Library of France for instance submitted images to Commons. But it could have been done for them. This is an 
individual thing. LW generally prefers low-key projects.
  • Content donations are a way of making contact. But the goal is to build relationships. The value of the institutions is in the people employed there.
Q: Why did the British Museum donate 50.000 images? What was their motivation?
A: They had none, initially.
A: See the Library of Queensland: They knew Wikipedia exists. They saw a way to give back, which of course creates awareness and 
positive feedback. These people are delighted by international feedback.
Q: Did this institution sell the items?
A: There was a digitalisation fee. We got the images, but they of course kept a copy.
  • What Wikipedia can give regarding images is creation of contexts.
Q: What about the GLAM Camp?
A: Two years ago there was a first single subject meeting in France. So this year, 20th of May, there will be an event on all 
things GLAM. 
  • If you want to see how people have dealt with content donation before see GLAM-site. You'll also find a mailing list there.
  • Reproduce the campus Ambassador concept for the GLAM ambassador: Someone approved lives in a city, ready to be contacted by museums. Organiaations go to a site with a world map of Ambassadors. They pick their nearest ambassador, who will tell them about NPOV and so forth...
Q: So there a more ambassadors to come?
A: It depends on what is possible. Ideally there should be a global network of voluntary ambassadors, trained by the local 
chapters. Some of the bigger chapters have voiced concern that there is an attempt to take control in this case.

Q: How can the subject be turned into fun, when there is so much bureaucracy in advance?
A: Well, it is fun already, isn't it? This gives people a very different view on the world.
Q: The Portuguese Wikipedians are probably not very interested in dealing with organisations...
A: Supposedly they don't feel empowered to do so. The chapter could be there to make it official.
  • Wikimedia UK chapter used to have recognition problems, after the British Museum project there was direct board influx from people involved in the project.
  • This all goes well beyond content donation.
Q: It seems to be important to socialise with GLAMs (conclusion). Would this work the opposite way? Does it make sense to invite 
A (Australia): Experience shows that attending GLAM events gets people there to know you. This is a genuine networking process. It 
all goes back to the initial conference. GLAM Australia led to GLAM Denver, from there to Stockholm to Barcelona...
  • Invite the GLAMs to your events. Many will come. Librarian people are happy to learn about Wikipedia.
  • It is good to have people in chapters who are there to support ambassador contact. Ideally, the bigger chapters employ professional people to do just that.
Q (Czech Republic): We often that GLAMs consider themselves professionals and they feel that working with Wikipedia would harm 
their reputation.
A: There are reservations. These people individually like Wikipedia, they just feel their organisations don't.
Q: (Poland): Take the Polish Wikipedia. A Biologist recently dealt with a plethora of biological articles. He found mistakes... 
which is interpreted like the quality of the Polish Wikipedia is too low compared to other language versions. 
A: You can make a virtue of that. Work with us to improve the quality! Wikipedia is important. We can go into museums and talk to 

Q (Austria): Often the problem is free licensing. What to do?
A: The British Museum gave us no intellectual property. They wouldn't chnage their guidelines. But that doesn't mean that we don' 
get valuable things out of the cooperation. 
A: The State library of Queensland didn't give us many items, but they gave SOME. Which is good. Now we have 50.000 items.
  • Public domain images are there, but often museums take copyright for the scans. Museums can legally claim contract restrictions.

This is matter of negotiation.

Q: So it is okay to upload to Commons, but it is not allowed to use them commercially. What to do?
A: Copyright in photographs and paintings is easy, audio and video is way more complicated. As a chapter you need to be aware of 
national copyright customs and legislation. This is a great responsibility. Chapters need to help the communities.

Q: Could WMF lawyers advice?
A: Generally, WMF will not deal for chapter matters in this case.

Q: Czech : We had isnitutions willing to donate pictures, but they didn`t want fair use.
A: Then they can't upload on Commons. Everything is hosted in America. So the minimum principles are ND, NC and fair use. Legally, 
all that has to be followed is American law. But it in practice whichever country's standard is higher will be applied.
A (Sweden): Fair use policy here is especially strict. The Swedish do have fair use. They don't even have the Wikipedia logo in 
the Wikipedia article.


  • Mutual benefit is key.
  • proactive rather than reactive relationships (talk first, sue later)
  • principles of both

Look at the Ambassador system as a way of empowering people in your cities. Go for long-term relationships.

Please see Liam Wyatt's blog for posts on GLAM.