Wikimedia chapters/Reports/Wikimedia Israel/May-October 2008
Wikimedia Israel – June-October report
- The annual general assembly took place in Tel Aviv on 25 August. Most of it was dedicated to technical issues required by the law: signing the annual financial report and confirming minor changes to the bylaws. Note: WM-IL's bylaws are basically the standard NPO bylaws suggested by the Israeli statute of non-profit corporations, and we decided to align with any changes to this statute as long as there is no essential need to adopt our own rules.
- The general assembly decided to keep the current board, with no reshuffles, for another year.
- We finally have our own domain: www.wikimedia.org.il Manuel Schneider generously offered us to host our site on his company's servers, and we are grateful for that and for his help with some technical issues. We still use the former wiki system as a closed wiki for communication among board members and reports that cannot be made public.
- After submitting our first financial report to the local registrar, our secretary expressed cautious optimism about getting the "tax deductibility" status within the coming year. Let's hope he is not too optimistic.
- Assaf Bartov who manages the Ben Yehuda Project (the Israeli Hebrew equivalent of the Gutenberg Project) joined WM-IL. We expect him to lend us some of his experience.
- Apart from Assaf, 2 Hebrew Wikipedians joined in too. We still encounter difficulties in bringing new members. Many people find it hard to distinct between WM-IL and the Hebrew Wikipedia, and think that being a contributor to the latter is enough. Other people support us in principle but don't understand why becoming a member is necessary.
- Free image collection project - This project will be called Wiki-Piki (it was the idea of our partners in ISOC-IL, and we said: so be it). This trilateral joint project is advancing slowly but surely. We have a "gamma" version of the website through which images will be uploaded and cataloged. Some technical issues still hinder the beta-version, in particular moving the picture periodically as bulks to the Commons. There are also some legal issues that still need to be resolved, e.g. whether it is legal to accept copyright waiver from minors.
- Stable version - this project was originally part of our cooperation with the Israeli government's "Computer to every Child" project. This cooperation died out, mainly because we couldn't meet all their demands. However, we would like to build a stable version of selected articles from the Hebrew Wikipedia, which could be distributed in schools or other educational institutions, recorded in audio or video for disabled persons etc.
- The Marker - The Hebrew business paper The Marker dedicated one of its weekend supplements to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects as a whole. The reporter, Naomi Darom, was in close touch with our press contact and interviewed most of our board members (as well as some veteran local Wikipedians).
- Yad Vashem - The Israeli national Holocaust research and memorial center, Yad Vashem, asked to learn more about Wikipedia and the way the Holocaust is depicted in its articles. Dror Kamir had a long meeting at their office in Jerusalem, and tried to convince them to release as much research and documentary material as they can under free license.
- The Israeli correctional authority - The officer in charge of Internet related projects in the Israeli correctional authority (in Israel it is still called "The Imprisonment Service") asked to learn how Wikipedia is written and how the correctional authority and its staff is described in the Hebrew Wikipedia. This was another opportunity to thoroughly explain the concept of the Wikimedia project to a state official.
Anashim Umakhshevim - Our chair, Shay Yakir, was invited to talk at the annual award ceremony held by the Anashim Umakhshevim (People and Computers) magazine. This magazine grants awards to the best Israeli websites each year. Shay was invited to deliver one of the opening speeches.