20: Organising a GLAM partnership being a user group
How to move forward
- What was this session about?
This session was mainly about how user groups can create GLAM partnerships as well (not being a formalized association).
- What are the next steps to be taken?
- Publish the outcomes on Meta and check the usage of the outcomes and the results from it three and six months after WMCON as part of the continual improvement process.
- Who is the person to reach out to?
This session documentation was approved by the speaker.
- Original Description
- The workshop will start with sharing the experiences of Wikimedians of Bulgaria User Group, which will be a base for further discussion with input from the participants. Please bring a list of your own best practices and experiences to the workshop, so that you offer the most information to your fellow participants.
- Session Format
- Working (but short! :)
- Desired Outcome
- Best practices and a checklist for starting a GLAM partnership
- Nikola Kalchev (Wikimedians of Bulgaria)
- Summary of the session
Nikola opened the session on how to organize a GLAM partnership being a small user group with limited resources. The goal of the session was, as he explained, to collect experiences (and tips) from user groups organizing such partnerships.
Together with the audience, Nikola gathered the following points:
Such partnerships (mostly events) are rather spontaneous and organized by only a few people. Events rely heavily on the institution’s wifi, as user groups practically have no financial resources, GLAM partnerships must rely on donations (in terms of finances, but also in other terms) only.
GLAM partnerships from user groups rely also on the idealism of single volunteers. Furthermore, they can be a really good starting point for doing outreach work (publicity) for the Wikimedia projects in your city/region/country. The smaller the partnership (and the institution itself), the easier it is to organize it.
Regarding what such a partnership could comprise of, most participants agreed on “Edit-a-thons” in the institution’s venue. Employees of the institution can provide specific knowledge or provide specific literature/database that Wikipedians could use. It is especially easier than providing a bigger content donation, because licensing issues don’t have to be discussed and the legal department of the institutions don’t have to be involved.
In the discussion with the participants, one participant highlighted the “Writing Weeks” in Brussels with editathon sessions in libraries. The participant said that there was an enthusiastic response by the libraries. The preparation phase was only around for four months, and it was the first cooperation with the libraries. The person also mentioned that the events caught good media attention, furthermore, the libraries used their own channels to promote the events.
The discussion then focussed on libraries and librarians. One participant said that libraries liked to show that they are active in the digital field. The person also said that it was very helpful to have a partner that cooperates for idealistic reasons and highlighted the importance of finding individuals who love the idea of sharing knowledge. The librarians were easy to train compared to some other GLAM professionals. Furthermore, the audience concluded that smaller institutions were easier to get as a partner.
Lessons Learned from the Wikimedians of Bulgaria
- Know your community
- Attitude towards GLAM cooperation
- Willingness and ability to contribute
- Communication and organisational preference
- Know your GLAM-partners
- Workload / seasonality / availability, etc.
- Internal bureaucracy and regulations
- Legal limitations and concerns
- Read something about project management beforehand
- Do not overestimate yourselves