Cultural institutions meet Wikimedians

In a couple of weeks I’m heading across the Tasman ditch to attend GLAM-WIKI in Canberra on the 6-7 August, and I have some questions for you.

According to the latest message from the event organisers, this will be “the first time anywhere in the world where Wikimedians and the cultural sector will come together to talk with rather than about each other”. Exciting.

(For those of you not aware, Wikimedians are people involved in online collaborative wiki projects such as Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, and other projects provided by the Wikimedia Foundation.)

Together we’ll be heading for “a pair of guidelines - one for the Wikimedia community and one for the cultural institution - each containing specific, practical measures to enable the achievement of better online public access to cultural heritage. Whilst underlining the unique nature of each institution's role these guidelines would demonstrate a shared response to the issues raised at the workshop.”

Its certainly timely as cultural institutions worldwide follow the dispute between the National Portrait Gallery in London and Wikimedia Commons, well blogged about by Paul over at

I can’t speak on behalf of all New Zealand cultural institutions (though I’ve worked with a lot of you) but I’m definitely willing to take what you’d like to give me, and to feed back the outcomes of the workshop if you’re not attending.

If you work in the NZ ‘GLAM’ (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museum) sector, what are your views on why and how cultural institutions could work with Wikimedia projects?

What do you think Wikimedia needs to do to make collaboration easier and more effective?

Initiatives such as Wikipedia Loves Art or Backstage Pass at the Powerhouse Museum or the German Federal Archives crowdsourcing cataloguing via Wikimedia Commons highlight both questions and possibilities. There must be more.

More specific Q & A to follow soon [update: see questions here ], but in the meantime what are your thoughts on the above?

Image of National Library reading room on Wikimedia Commons by Dick Bos

Image of National Library reading room on Wikimedia Commons by Dick Bos