Annual Report 2021/Story: Continuing the work to document the world's cultural heritage sites and GLAM institutions

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In this Story we give an overview of the renewed efforts we are doing with cultural heritage data on the Wikimedia platforms. This strategic and long-term work will help to develop a knowledge base that will be valuable for future content partnerships and renew the interest to work with the Wikimedia movement from existing content partners.

Thanks to SDC, it's easy to see the photos from Wiki Loves Monuments in one country, like Iran, on a map. An added benefit is that the visualization makes it possible to spot erroneous data, like bad coordinates.

Cultural heritage has always had a special place on the Wikimedia platforms with a large group of active volunteers working with material connected to it. A lot of Wikimedia Sverige's activities have also centered around cultural heritage. In our earlier projects, we worked a lot with data about cultural heritage institutions and historical monuments and identified a lot of opportunities and possibilities connected to the work. So it's no surprise that cultural heritage data is one of the focus areas of the future Content Partnership Hub, helping Wikimedians and Wikimedia affiliates around the world improve the coverage of our shared heritage on our platforms.

In 2021, we focused on surveying the state of cultural heritage data on the Wikimedia platforms, evaluating the tools and processes that we had tested previously, as well as picking up several loose threads from our previous initiatives and putting them in context. Structured Data on Commons is a particularly interesting area to work with, as it is relatively new and a lot of work needs to be done in order to clear the backlog of the millions of files that Wikimedians had uploaded over the years.

From September to December 2021, we added over 1 million SDC statements, mainly to photos from the Wiki Loves Monuments competitions in over a dozen countries. Now that these photos have been enriched with information on what they depict and which WLM competitions they participated in, they are easier to find and analyze than before. It is, for example, easier to find out which users have uploaded photos of which monuments to which competition. The local competitions themselves have got their own Wikidata items. This creates new possibilities for collaboration and events, as it makes it easier to get an overview of the competitions over the years.

A prerequisite to linking the photos to the monuments is, of course, that they also have Wikidata items. The coverage of cultural heritage monuments on Wikidata varies wildly by country. Since WLM was started many years ago, the infrastructure it relies on – the Wikipedia-based lists of monuments – is quite old and not aligned with Wikidata. Importing the monuments to Wikidata is something we started with already a couple years ago, and are continuing to do within the Content Partnerships Hub project. As a hub, we will be able to increase our outreach in this area, and provide assistance to Wikimedians and other affiliates in a more structured, sustainable way.