Wikimedia chapters/Reports/Wikimedia Deutschland/March 2012
POLITICS AND SOCIETY
Pre-election questionnaire for North-Rhine Westphalia
The surprising new elections in Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, are a great opportunity for our association’s work. Since media attention is exceptionally high, Wikimedia Deutschland can address political issues regarding free knowledge during the parties’ campaigns. We want to stick to our proven method of publishing a pre-election questionnaire. It’s primarily used for contact. Moreover, it’s an offer of dialogue with the running parties. Based on this, there will be an evening event in Dusseldorf or Cologne that will present regional initiatives and problems in the context of free knowledge. Party representatives will discuss these issues. A beta version of the questionnaire is already online. Criticism, suggestions and additions are very welcome. Preferably send them by email to Jan Engelmann.
Ancillary copyright law for press publishers
Even after a report of Secretary of State Dr. Max Stadler (BMJ) in the sub-committee for new media of the German parliament, it is still unclear whether by means of the fuzzy definition of "commercial activity," the new legal protection can only be applied to commercial aggregators such as Google. If there is a looser interpretation of the term, then there may be threatening effects on the blogosphere and open content projects such as Wikipedia. Furthermore, it appears within the government coalition, there is still a disagreement over whether to enforce the claims of the press publishers on the establishment of a new collecting society ( Keese model / CDU) or as case law (FDP). The latter would effectively lead to a huge legal uncertainty and then there would be cross-subsidization not just for large publishers but also for law firms. More information on the subject can be found here.
Open Educational Resources
Following the "school trojans” discussion, several events gave us the opportunity to witness first-hand how great the need for legal alternatives to textbooks is, that are not freely licensed. Such works do not grant the user any rights for a comprehensive re-use and have to be additional paid for again, for example when a copy of such a work is put on a video projector. An alternative already exists in many, mostly non-government projects under the label of open educational resources, that is to say, freely licensed teaching materials. Furthermore, Wikimedia Deutschland’s department of Politics and Society spoke with politicians of Die Linke party in the Bundestag, who specialize in educational issues. Among those were Rosemarie Hein and Petra Sitte.
To improve Wikimedia Deutschland’s own and free newspaper, we gave it an editorial re-launch. The new structure is based on the organizational structure of Wikimedia Deutschland’s office. The four departments of Politics and Society, Education and Knowledge, Research and Development and Volunteer support will continue to fill up one page and form the core of the newspaper. Projects by our community, our association and other Wikimedia chapters can be found on three pages at the beginning of the newspaper. One full page in the latter part of the Wikimedium is dedicated to fundraising. Overall, the length of our newspaper will be ten pages, this time. Its circulation is 7,500. It will be published in the third week of April.
The major themes of March were Wikidata and the Wikimedia Conference 2012. A Wikidata press release in both German and English was distributed nationally by Wikimedia Deutschland as well as internationally. The release was very well received. The annual conference for representatives of countries of the Wikimedia movement was announced to selected press contacts. Regarding Wikidata, there were roughly 300 media reports in the first three days only.
There were several articles about the Wikimedia Conference 2012 in influential German media. The Berliner Zeitung spoke with Wikimedia Deutschland’s CEO, Pavel Richter, and then wrote a large article for their science section. Furthermore, there was local media coverage of our school-related workshops in the Wikipedia macht Schule program. An interview with a local radio station in Berlin will follow.
In the wake of a meeting of Wikipedians with journalists in Berlin's Axel Springer building, a full-page article appeared on page 3 of the Berliner Morgenpost, which drew attention to the volunteer authors behind Wikipedia. This article also found its way into the nationwide offshoots Welt and Welt kompakt. Talks on further cooperation are going on.
A selection of press reports on the subjects mentioned here and beyond can be found in Wikimedia Deutschland’s press review.
On March 16th, there was a reading of the book Alles über Wikipedia at the German National Library for the Blind in Leipzig. Four Wikipedians and some 60 guests gathered at this library in the center of Leipzig.
In Wikimedia Deutschland’s annual report the association's activities are summarized on a yearly basis. The editorial work on the annual report for the year 2011 was finished in March. The report is being printed and will be sent out to members in early April. An English translation is also in the works. More information on this will follow.
EDUCATION AND KNOWLEDGE
Meeting of speakers
In early March, the speakers of all three educational programs met for the first time. About 30 participants gathered to exchange views about Wikipedia and methods of teaching people how to use it. For details, please see this blog post. In March, the Education and Knowledge team dealt more intensively with the topic of freely licensed educational materials (Open Educational Resources, OER). For Wikimedia Deutschland, what is particularly relevant here is the related question of the continued use of open content. The impressions from the talks at EduCamp and the Gautinger Internet Days are summarized in a joint blog post. General comments and ideas relating to OER will gladly be read at email@example.com.
As part of the EU-funded TAO project, Wikimedia Deutschland’s Silberwissen program was part of an intermediate assessment of the EU in Brussels on March 22nd. People were interested about our project and asked questions about. There were no critical comments or special conditions imposed. The TAO project as a whole, however, prompted the suggestion that it ought to focus more on selected goals on account of its broad focus. A written report of the review team will follow in the next few weeks.
As part of our Silberwissen program, talks were held in March with the Senioren Computer Club Berlin-Mitte about ways to attract new Wikipedia authors from the group of senior citizens. Activities to this end will begin in April. Together with the Centre for General Scientific Continuing Education at the University of Ulm working materials for participants and a checklist for events were worked on and finalized. A mailing that was sent out by the German Senior Citizens League to its members provided about 40 inquiries for Wikimedia Deutschland from interested institutions. About ten of these institutions approached us with the specific request of having a series of events held at their own facilities.
Wikipedia macht Schule
Four nationwide teacher training seminars were held in March. It is also pleasant to note that Wikimedia Deutschland held a three-day workshop in six classes of the Bertha von Suttner school in Berlin. In the above-mentioned meetings this month, we were also able to make some more contacts for our teacher training seminars. The interest that teachers have in open licenses and their implementation seems to be getting stronger on account of the debate about freely licensed educational materials. If you have any ideas or comments about Wikipedia in the classroom or just have questions about the program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comments are most welcome!
After preparations in recent months Wikimedia Deutschland’s academic program (Hochschulprogramm) is ready to start. The first training courses for lecturers were held in Stuttgart, Munich, Halle-Wittenberg and Potsdam. At the Stuttgart Media University, student work has already begun. The initial feedback is promising. The lecturers feel well prepared and find the speakers of Wikimedia Deutschland very helpful support. As a part of this program, short explanatory videos, called screencasts were created. They will facilitate the process of becoming familiar with Wikipedia .
COMMUNITY RELATIONS / VOLUNTEER SUPPORT
Zedler award 2012
The three juries for the award for free knowledge 2012 are constituted and have each settled on their approach in the assessment process. The panel meetings will be held from mid-April to early May. By then, all the judges will have agreed upon five nominees (plus possible special prices), who will then be informed of their nomination and the key features of the award by Wikimedia Deutschland. In the meetings (which will be held in Berlin, Cologne and Frankfurt), the jurors will determine the winner for each category. The contact person for anything having to do with the Zedler award is Nicole Ebber.
Wiki Loves Monuments 2012
Representing Wikimedia Deutschland Christof Jackel attended the kick-off seminar for the planning of the international photo competition, Wiki Loves Monuments. It took place in Dresden. The enthusiasm of the volunteer organizers is contagious. A lot of organizational preparatory work has already been completed and it was discussed how Wikimedia Deutschland can support the competition. More information will follow soon. The first press coverage already happened in Dresden (about the preparations underway).
Also in March, Wikimedia Deutschland continued to deal with the organization of the WikiWomenCamp. There is still an opportunity to apply for scholarships. Questions or comments about this can be sent to Julia Kloppenburg.
Our appeal on the German Wikipedia village pump to have a meeting for groups of editors has clearly shown that a need for live meetings of volunteers who work on a common subject in Wikipedia exists! In addition to meetings that are already planned, there a three more such groups who ponder the idea. Wikimedia Deutschland gladly supports initiatives like this and can be contacted regarding such matters at email@example.com
Community project budget
By the end of April, elections will be held for the next term of office of the community project budget (CPB) committee. Sebastian Sooth and Christoph Jackel of Wikimedia Deutschland supported the preparations for it. During Wikimedia Deutschland's general assembly on April 21st, the election of the CPB members will take place. Community members will be able to run for office until April 15th.
A delay in updating the database of the English version of Wikipedia is currently affecting the timeliness of requested data on the Toolserver. The fixes require a lot of time. The Toolserver administrators, Daniel Baur and Marlen Caemmerer, are currently developing methods to better intercept similar impairments in the future. The Toolserver’s new hardware is in use and the database server will benefit from having more memory in the future.
Since the negotiations with landlords and potential partners for the premises of the community space and the Wikimedia Deutschland office in Berlin are taking longer than expected, the opening of the actual community space has also been delayed. In the rooms that Wikimedia Deutschland is transitionally staying in, the concept will be pushed further. On April 20th, there will be an open door day. There will be enough desks for temporary visitors.
Members of our association
In March 2012, there were 144 new members, including 97 associate members and 47 active members. In total, Wikimedia Deutschland now has 1473 members.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
For the RENDER research project March brought continued development of tools for analyzing the topicality and completeness of Wikipedia articles. A few days ago, the Toolserver-based RENDER tool kit was presented here. All currently available tools were briefly explained. We would be pleased to receive more feedback and suggestions at RENDER’s discussion page or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wikipedia Academy 2012
The planning and organization for the Wikipedia Academy is going full swing. In March, potential speakers for keynote speeches, workshops and panel discussions were contacted. There was also a first draft of the schedule. Due to the numerous inquiries, we have decided to extend the call for papers´ to April 15th. Active participation is more than welcome! All questions and suggestions may be sent to Nicole Ebber or email@example.com.
Wikimedia Conference 2012
On the last weekend of March Wikimedia Deutschland hosted the [Wikimedia Conference 2012|Wikimedia Conference], now for the fourth time. The event is a meeting of the national organizations of the international Wikimedia movement, the Wikimedia Foundation board and staff, and many different work groups. With the support of Danny B. (user name) and Maria Roessler, Nicole Ebber took care of conference travel and accommodation for the participants as well as visa issues. With the venue Cluboffice, she was able to obtain equipment for the rooms, organize the catering, plan the evening program and answer many questions and requests of the participants. Harel Cain and the two moderators, for their part, were responsible for the content and format of the conference program. A detailed report of the Wikimedia Conference 2012 is coming soon.
At the end of March, the distribution of donation receipts for the past fundraising campaign was completed. Around 50,000 people, who made donations with a total of at least 25 € in 2011, received a receipt. Unfortunately, we were not able to meet the target date for sending them out in late February. The incredible success of the last campaign (remember, more than 160,000 donors in comparison to 70,000 donors the year before) meant that we had to spend a few weeks more working on data consolidation. In addition, we subsequently had to work on the migration of all 2011 donation data to Wikimedia Deutschland’s new database. The fundraising team was able to successfully complete these very time-consuming processes in March. The extensive controlling of the entire printing process, which included, for example, a visit to the service provider to have a look at some samples, was another reason for the delay. But now it's done and the fundraising campaign for 2011/12 is formally completed. Preparations for the next campaign can now begin!
REGARDING THE OFFICE
Interesting dates in April:
- Open house at Wikimedia Deutschland: April 20th, 2012
- Our association’s general assembly: April 21st, 2012