What’s so GLAM about Wikipedia?

Hi, I’m a Wikipedian. Nice to meet you! 

Being a Wikipedian means that I contribute content to the encyclopedia, rather than just using it to find information as many do every day. I’m also an emerging museum professional with a passion for collections and museum technology. In this unique role as both a Wikipedian and a museum person, I have become involved with an extraordinary community within Wikimedia known as GLAM.

GLAM, which stands for Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums, is a group of Wikimedians who support cultural institutions interested in freely and openly sharing their content with Wikimedia. So no, in spite of the name, we don’t (necessarily) sport glittery attire. The GLAM-Wiki community wants to make it easier for museums to share information on Wikipedia.

From May 20-22, a group of around 30 Wikimedians from eight countries gathered at the New York Public Library for the first ever GLAMcamp, a meeting of the minds for those heavily involved in GLAM-Wikimedia partnerships. The GLAM initiative started in a very grassroots fashion, when Liam Wyatt (currently the Wikimedia Foundation Cultural Partnerships Fellow) convened the first GLAM-Wiki Conference. The concept then garnered major attention when he embarked on a pilot Wikipedian-in-Residence project at the British Museum in 2010. Since then, the community has grown exponentially, with GLAM-Wikimedia partnerships forming all over the world. In order to keep up with the demand, GLAMcamp was a way to efficiently and deliberately move forward on a number of projects that will allow us to more wholly support the cultural sector.

Some of these projects include:

Wikipedians-in-Residence
Every museum wants one! But what are they? At GLAMcamp five of the current Wikipedians-in-Residence had a chance to meet for the first time, along with a number of museums and libraries that were interested in adopting the concept. Documentation is continuously written to provide ideas for museums interested in incorporating on-site Wikipedian-in-Residence.

Tools
Over the course of the weekend a series of tools were unveiled that will significantly streamline processes in GLAM-Wikimedia partnerships. These included the Europeana Public Domain Calculator , the Bulk Image Uploader, and plans for future metrics tools (our most frequent request from museums).

Documentation
We also developed a more welcoming and user-friendly website that provides cultural institutions with the resources to get started with a Wikimedia partnership. Documentation includes model projects, case studies, and how-to guides. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit http://glamwiki.org.

There is already an impressive amount of work being done between GLAMs and Wikimedia that will inspire other institutions. I look forward to sharing these projects through a series of GLAM-Wiki Dispatches, so stay tuned!

cc photo via Missvain

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