“You have a volunteer programâ¦but do you have an E-Volunteer program?âÂ When Liam Wyatt, the Wikimedia Foundation Cultural Partnerships Fellow, asks this question of museum professionals you can almost hear the âAhaâ moment. I was inspired by the concept, and I know others have been, too. But, what exactly is an E-Volunteer?
Thatâs what Iâve been trying to figure out. Iâm interested in what E-Volunteering means for the non-profit sector and for my museum specifically. Beyond that, Iâm interested in how the Wikipedia community can be utilized as E-Volunteers for museums.
E-Volunteering is just one of many terms used to describe many non-profitsâ attempts to tap into online volunteering. Discussions often get into crowdsourcing and the gamification of tasks â both of which warrant their own post.Â Itâs a lot to unpack, so letâs start with some definitions:
I believe that Wikipedia is perhaps the lowest hanging fruit for museums hoping to efficiently capitalize on online volunteering. Editors within Wikipedia take on a variety of roles in order to improve the encyclopedia. Some enjoy basic tasks such as categorizing or copyediting articles. Others prefer to expand articles, either by taking and uploading photographs, or by researching and contributing content about a specific topic. Based on the above definitions, Wikipedia looks a lot like digital volunteering: a combination of crowdsourcing (microvolunteering) and for connecting with subject experts (virtual volunteering).
Wikipedians have essentially been serving as E-Volunteers for some time. Now, the GLAM-Wiki community is attempting to define the types of E-Volunteers that collaborate with museums â Wikimedia UK in particular. Here is how I see the breakdown for Wikipedia E-Volunteers:
As Liam likes to conclude, “Wikipedia already is your E-Volunteer program, you’re just not affiliated with it yet,â which gets us all thinking, âWhat can E-Volunteers do for my museum? And how can I connect with them?â