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Walters Art Museum: A case study in sharing

Sarah Stierch - January 22, 2013 in Case Studies, GLAM-Wiki, US

The Ideal City, attributed to Fra Carnevale, created between circa 1480 and 1484. This was the first image contributed to Commons by the Walters Art Museum.

The Ideal City, attributed to Fra Carnevale, created between circa 1480 and 1484.This was the first image contributed to Commons by the Walters Art Museum. 

The Walters Art Museum, located in Baltimore, Maryland, is a model OpenGLAM institution. With a forward thinking staff aimed at opening their collections in unique and innovative ways, and a collection consisting of over 35,000 objects that are public domain, the Walters is prime real estate when it comes to OpenGLAM.

In early 2012, the Walters started partnering with volunteers from the Wikimedia community. The idea for the partnership was hatched out of GLAM Baltimore 2011; a series of events that brought volunteers from the Wikimedia community to the Walters to present about GLAM-Wiki projects. GLAM-Wiki is a project that focuses on fostering relationships and projects between cultural institutions and the Wikimedia community, the community that maintains websites like Wikipedia.

This case study, written by myself and Dylan Kinnett, Manager of Web and Social Media at the Walters, showcases the projects that evolved out of this ongoing partnership. It summarizes key aspects of this partnership:

    • The image donation of over 18,000 images to Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository that supplies websites like Wikipedia with images. These images are used in thousands of Wikipedia articles in over 40 languages. They have been viewed on Wikipedia over 10 million times and additional metrics are included.
    • The changing of licenses on the Walters website to be more open, allowing the public to utilize the Walters website, or Wikimedia Commons, as locations to collect media and curatorial descriptions without copyright restriction.
    • An internship modeled after the Wikipedian in Residence concept. This internship is structured for museum studies students interested in new media and open culture. The first Wikipedia intern wrote numerous articles about artworks in the museum, and learned skills focused around art history research, Wikipedia mark-up and policies, collaborative editing, and other skills that can only improve a resume.
    • The importance of outreach events in bringing together GLAMs and OpenGLAM community members. Without the GLAM Baltimore event, this partnership may have been delayed or not happened.

The case study will be expanded to include coverage about the newly developed transcription project, which has the Walters working with Wikimedia community members to transcribe and translate rare Latin documents in the museum collection. These documents will then be shared via Wikisource, a free online library.

We hope that this case study will inspire and engage others to develop open sharing projects and programs. Please forward, share, and brainstorm how your GLAM can share its collections and knowledge holdings to provide further access to the public through OpenGLAM.

Launching US OpenGLAM

Sarah Stierch - January 15, 2013 in Featured, GLAM-Wiki, Updates, US

Sarah Stierch, US OpenGLAM Coordinator (Photo: Matthew Roth, CC-BY-SA 3.0)

The new year brings a new role to OpenGLAM and the Open Knowledge Foundation: the launch of US OpenGLAM.

I am pleased to take on the role as US OpenGLAM Coordinator. As a museumist, Wikimedian, and open culture advocate, I have taken deep interest in developing programs and procedures for opening up cultural institutions in the United States.

As Wikipedian in Residence at the Smithsonian Institution Archives and the Archives of American Art, I was able to provide more open access to cultural materials and deeper partnerships with the open culture movement through GLAM-Wiki, an international movement to develop partnerships between cultural institutions and Wikimedia projects, like Wikipedia.

After attending OKFestival 2012 in Helsinki, and attending and participating in a series of OpenGLAM meetings at the conference, we came to a realization: the United States needed an organizational structure and dedicated guidance to provide education, policy development, and encouragement for galleries, libraries, archives and museums who express, or have yet to express, interest in opening up their materials, data, and environments in the spirit of open culture and licensing.

So far, that guidance has been provided by leaders such as Lori Byrd Phillips, who served as the Wikimedia Foundation‘s US GLAM Coordinator for 2012. Phillips provided general structure and leadership focusing around the organization of GLAM-Wiki projects in the US. Her leadership was integral in bringing further awareness to OpenGLAM opportunities. This opportunity will allow the Open Knowledge Foundation’s OpenGLAM initiative build upon that awareness by supporting and educating GLAM professionals and volunteers about the opportunities awaiting them regarding open culture data.

As US OpenGLAM Coordinator, I will be working with GLAMs in the US to educate and inspire them to open their cultural holdings in a broader, open license manner through in-person engagement, online education, social media, case studies, and policy development.

I look forward to working with the OpenGLAM team at OKFN and sharing my passion for open culture with all of you.

 

Tips for data providers: how to make open culture data re-use easier

Lotte Belice Baltussen - November 21, 2012 in Featured, GLAM-Wiki, Guest Blog Post

 

Creator: TigerPixel, see http://www.flickr.com/photos/tigerpixel/3488935621/. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en.

This year, the Dutch network Open Culture Data received many tips from developers and other open data re-users of cultural datasets about the best ways for data providers to make their datasets available. In this blog post, we give an overview of the most important recommendations to concentrate on as data provider in order to increase the re-use of your open cultural datasets.

What’s the best place to store my data?

  • Always make your data (content and / or metadata) available on your own website. This way it’s clear that you are the original provider. Another advantage is that you will often have a better overview of the access to and re-use of your data than if you only provide access to it elsewhere.
  • You can provide both content (e.g. images, videos), and the information about this content as well (metadata). The metadata is almost always stored on a different place than the content. If you provide both content and metadata, then make sure that it’s clear where they can be found. Ideally, add a separate field in the metadata with a URL to the content, for example the URL of the images or videos.

Besides writing a data blog, how can I provide more information about my open cultural dataset?

  • As stated above, ideally re-users can easily find a link in your metadata to the online version of the record in your own catalogue or on your own website.
  • If your organisation has an online shop where users can order content, then it is important for end users to clearly mark your Open Cultural Dataset content as such: open. For this you can for instance use (links to) Creative Commons licenses. The reason for this is that it’s confusing for re-users to see a shopping cart next to a photo which you provide as open data elsewhere. If you don’t make re-use conditions explicit, this can eventually lead to less re-use.
  • Make sure there’s an explanation or news section on your website about the sort of open cultural dataset(s) your institution provides. For this, you can use the text of your data blog.
  • Always include a field in your metadata with specific rights status information, and make clear under which conditions and license(s) you provide your content and / or metadata. Open Culture Data guidelines’ are: provide metadata under CC0, and content under either the Creative Commons Attribution or Attribution-ShareAlike licenses, or use the Public Domain Mark when all rights to the content have expired.

What is the best way to provide my metadata?

  • Indicate clearly under which conditions you make your dataset (content and / or metadata) available. See also the last point above.
  • The preferences vary among developers and other re-users. Some are happy with a simple .csv or .txt dump of metadata, others rather have access to a full live API, where you can choose to access data in different ways (e.g. JSON, .xml). Whatever your options or limitations are, at least make sure you always clearly describe what people can find in your metadata fields in your data blog, and provide re-users with as many options as possible to approach, download and search through your data. If you have an API, then describe which standard you’re using and where re-users can find more information about it.
  • Describe clearly in your data blog or – even better – in your metadata when the latest changes to your dataset were made. If changes occur regularly, provide an update incrementally, or even offer multiple versions of your dataset.

What is the best way to provide my content?

  • If you provide open content, it’s recommended to make it available in the highest resolution possible. This will stimulate re-use! Note that some developers also like to have the option to work with a smaller resolution, because this is less ‘heavy’. So ideally, you have content available in different resolutions.

Are there specific tips for getting my open cultural content on Wikipedia?

  • For re-use on Wikipedia, the following metadata fields are the most important: name of the creator, title, object type, description, creation date, measurements, current location, internal ID, license.
  • Make sure that at least these fields are properly documented.
  • If your content is labeled with an unique category on the Wikimedia Commons (for example Category:Media_from_Open_Beelden), you can get statistics about re-use of your content on Wikipedia (some examples here). These categories are assigned by the Wikimedia community itself.

Open Culture Data is an initiative of the Dutch Heritage Innovators Network and Hack de Overheid, and is supported by Images for the Future and Creative Commons Netherlands.

​Click here for an overview of all Open Culture Data on OpenGLAM

Wikipedians in Residence: Two Years of Open Culture

Sam Leon - January 27, 2012 in Front Page, GLAM-Wiki

The following post is by Lori Byrd Phillips 2012 US Cultural Partnerships Coordinator for the Wikimedia Foundation. She was the second person to become a Wikipedian in Residence, and has served in that role at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis for the past year and a half, where she is now also part time staff.

Wikipedians in Residence from left to right: Liam Wyatt, British Museum; Lori Phillips, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis; Benoît Evellin, Wikimédien en résidence au Château de Versailles; Sarah Stierch, The Smithsonian Institution. Photo by Andrew Lih (cc-by-sa 3.0).

It was just under two years ago when Liam Wyatt proposed a concept that seemed so bold, it required the British Museum to run a risk assessment before they’d agree to it. Liam suggested that he serve as the “Wikipedian in Residence,” a role that would allow him to put into practice the idea that cultural institutions should share their knowledge with Wikipedia. Thankfully, the British Museum agreed. That basic premise has turned into a global movement known as GLAM-WIKI (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums). Today, the GLAM-WIKI community is made up of Wikimedians from around the world who work to establish models and best practices that help cultural institutions share their resources with Wikimedia.

Prior to Liam’s residency in June 2010, cultural institutions had donated images to Wikimedia Commons, but there had not yet been an institution that committed to establishing a relationship with the Wikimedia community. The concept of building a mutually beneficial cooperation is at the heart of the Wikipedian in Residence scheme. The main role of a resident is to serve as a liaison between the museum and Wikipedia. Projects still include image donations, but now more often focus on staff workshops, outreach events (such as “Backstage Passes”) to connect with local Wikipedians, and on-site events (such as “Edit-a-Thons”) that help get cultural content out of the filing cabinets and into Wikipedia.

Following the British Museum, the Wikipedian in Residence trend began to spread. My residency at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis began in August 2010, followed in early 2011 with the Château de Versailles, Derby Museum and Art Gallery, and the Museu Picasso. By May 2011, two more major institutions joined in: the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art. In July 2011, Daniel Mietchen became the Wikimedian in Residence on Open Science. Working with the Open Knowledge Foundation, this was the first residency to adapt the GLAM model to open science — an exciting advancement of the Wikipedian in Residence concept! Even more residencies began in late 2011, including the Israel Museum, and many are in the works for 2012 and beyond.

I’ve enjoyed watching the evolution of the Wikipedian in Residence concept as it has been implemented in different institutions. Each residency has shown its own strength. At the Derby Museum, Roger Bamkin followed through on an idea to improve the multilingual capabilities of QR codes in exhibits. What resulted was QRpedia, a QR code-generating website that detects the language of the user’s phone and links to the Wikipedia article in that language. QRpedia has now been implemented in museums in the US and Europe and has been nominated for a Smart UK award.

Dominic McDevitt-Parks, the Wikipedian in Residence at the NARA, has broken new ground in facilitating the digitization and transcription of primary source materials through Wikisource and Wikimedia Commons. NARA’s cooperation with Wikipedia has been strongly incorporated into their broad strategy of increasing digital accessibility to their holdings and has proven to be a point of pride for the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero.

The concept of the Wikipedian in Residence has come a long way since the British Museum’s big gamble. Now, those who have served as Wikipedians in Residence travel the world presenting projects to increasingly enthusiastic cultural professionals. In April, four residents will come together from three countries to present at the American Association of Museums, the largest and most significant museum conference in the US. I can’t wait to see what incredible residencies and cooperations are around the next corner.

For additional information about Wikipedians in Residence, see the information page on GLAM Outreach or the GLAM Infographic.