Wikimedia and Libraries User Group/Annual Report/2017-18
Our First annual report of the Wikimedia and Libraries User Group covers the year 2017-2018. Prepared by the steering committee, we include the user group's activities and organizing within and outside the Wikimedia community.
Recognition as a Wikimedia User Group (June 2017)
The user group was officially recognized by the Wikimedia Foundation in June 2017 under the name Wikipedia Library User Group (which has since changed to Wikimedia and Libraries User Group). Through December 2017 the user group was run by its founding members initially selected by the Wikipedia Library team, who facilitated the group's early organisation. The group was formed to serve as a rendezvous for Wikimedians and librarians. Being natural allies and working towards the same goals, this group combines and amplifies collaboration with libraries and librarians. The ten founding members met at least once a month to discuss plans for kicking off the user group and creating a stable governance team.
A user group gettogether (Birds of a feather session: Wikipedia + Libraries meetup) was organised by the Wikipedia Library team with primary invitees being the user group's members. The Birds of a Feather session was a chance to meet other community leaders who work with libraries, form partnerships with publishers, host events at institutions, conduct outreach to national organizations or regional and international groups and consortia. The meetup itself had about fifty attendees, the user group itself has now grown to 222 members.
Open user group meeting
The founding members organised two open member meetings (using GoogleHangouts On Air) to discuss user group members, user group activities, user group name and possible name change, governance structure, and steering committee nominations and selection.
The meeting was held twice, for the convenience of the user group members in different time zones.
User group rename
From the suggestions and feedback received on the then user group name — The Wikipedia Library User Group, it was clear the members preferred a more inclusive user group name for all the different Wikimedia projects and a distinctive name from the Wikipedia Library program (both being independent). In October 2017, the members voted on a list of potential name and chose the Wikimedia and Libraries User Group. An application was made shortly after to the Affiliations Committee, which was approved in late May 2018.
Portal creation and communications infrastructure
A full portal was created on Meta documenting the group's mission, activities, governance, resources, contacts, and membership. It includes links to the related Facebook Group (with nearly 2,000 members), the group's mailman list, our Twitter Account, @WikiLibraryUG, and our irc channel.
Steering committee election
The need for a committee elected by the user group members was obvious because the founding members were selected by the Wikipedia Library team, while the user group is an independent entity needing full autonomy. In December 2017, a call for nominations was announced and 11 members nominated themselves. After two weeks of voting by the user group members, a steering committee was formed with 8 new members (with the TWL team as non-voting support). The founding members handed over the baton to the steering committee, and since then the user group elected steering committee has been responsible for the group's direction and activities.
Participation in #1Lib1Ref (twice)
The user group was supportive of the #1Lib1Ref (One Librarian One Reference) global campaign, where librarians add references to improve Wikipedia. The user group's participation helped various institutions from all around the world to participate in this campaign, especially outside of North America and Europe.
User group priorities — survey
To effectively dispatch resources, improve active participation of the members, and plan activities, the steering committee organised a means/ends poll for the user group members. The poll presented a variety of options for members to choose from. With over 80 responses, the top two areas of focus chosen were:
- Engage with libraries in communities with historically low participation in Wikimedia projects
- Serve as ambassadors for the idea that Wikimedia work is business as usual in libraries by sharing case studies and communicating the benefits of engaging with Wikimedia
The steering committee also conducted a SWOT analysis of the library and wikimedia intersection and landscape.
Ongoing meetings and activities
The steering committee has been meeting one to two times per month to discuss the happenings of the user group. The group planned its participation in the GLAMWiki conference in Tel Aviv, where the user group will be represented by a few steering committee members giving presentations and organizing discussions.
The user group is continually working to improve its reach to a wide audience, especially the emerging markets. With slowly, but steadily improving participation from the members, we expect to be of a greater influence and "one-stop shop" for librarians and Wikimedians by next fiscal year.