Projekt:Europeana Awareness 2012/Lessons learned

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Part of the project Europeana Awareness, Wikimedia Sverige is to write up a final report on all parts of our involvement. This entails first and foremost any lessons learned that makes it easier for further Europeana collaborations. Since Wikimedia Sverige is a transparent organization, the work will be done on this wiki. If you have any comments and/or suggestions for report, you can either get an account on this wiki and change anything at all in this report (we will lock it, the week before the report is due, in December, 2013), or you can add comments on the talk page. A third alternative, which is less preferable but in some cases can be the only solution, is to email John Andersson, who is Wikimedia Sverige's Europeana Awareness staff.


Here is a list of the abbreviations and terms that are used in this report:

  • DoW - Description of Work, the project plan that was mutually signed on before the project started. This plan details the specific tasks that each participant organization will perform during the project.
  • EA - Europeana Awareness
  • edit-a-thon (or editathon) - a workshop dedicated to editing Wikipedia articles. See Edit-a-thon section below for a more comprehensive explanation.
  • EF - Europeana Foundation
  • GLAM - Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums
  • GLAM-wiki - a conference or workshop with the goal of bringing the Wikimedia movement and the cultural heritage institutions closer together, start collaborations and hold edit-a-thons. See GLAM-wiki section below for a more comprehensive explanation.
  • WMSE - Wikimedia Sverige, one of the organizations supporting Wikipedia
  • WMUK

Description of Work

For Wikimedia Sverige, the Europeana Awareness project was to include these tasks:

  • organize GLAM-wiki events in six different countries: Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Poland, and France
  • organize a Europe-wide Wiki loves public art contest
  • write a report and recommendation on further collaborations between Europeana and the Wikimedia movement


Chain of events

After the Description of Work document was finished and signed, the Europeana staff asked Wikimedia Sverige to organize an Edit-a-thon during the plenary meeting in Leuven, Belgium on June 13-15 2012. This was to be beside the rest of the project tasks for Wikimedia Sverige. WMSE started planning for this event after John Andersson was hired part time (working 35 percent of a full time in May until the 11th of June; before knowing about the Edit-a-thon John was originally hired to work only 20 percent but increased his work load to be able to take a more active part in organizing the event).

The WMSE outlined the event on this page on their wiki: Europeana meets World War I Edit-a-thon. Thijs Van Exel was assigned by EA to work with WMSE on this event. Since other work packages in the EA project had organized collection days with the theme of World War I, it was decided that the theme for the Edit-a-thon should be World War I. Experts were engaged by Europeana and a contest was outlined to make the event as interesting as possible. Invitations was thereafter sent out through several different forums to World War I-interested Wikipedians. Around one week before the event, the number of participants did not reach the set minimum number and the event was cancelled. Instead, WMSE was to collaborate with Wikimedia UK in organizing their Edit-a-thon on June 16, 2012, in London.


The event was cancelled.

Lessons learned

There are a number of different reasons why this edit-a-thon didn't come to fruition:

  • Edit-a-thons are almost always one-day events, while this was planned as a three-day event. Three continuous days working on the same topic severely limits the number of Wikipedians, since it requires extraordinary interest in the topic to begin with.
  • Edit-a-thons are normally either set during weekends or during nights. This event was set during daytime on working days. This further reduced the number of available Wikipedians. The people that was planing to participate stated that they could only do so during one or two of the days.
  • There was a very short time available for Wikipedians to be able to make all the necessary preparation after all the central details about the Edit-a-thon had been agreed on and invitations had been sent out. This was something a number of people pointed out as a major problems for them (this include taking days of from work, booking tickets and hotels and so forth).
  • Belgium is a rather small country (10,5 million inhabitants). While there have been successful Edit-a-thons in smaller countries, this is also a factor that needs to be taken into account
  • Belgium is divided across three languages: Dutch, German and French. This means that the inhabitants need to be approached in three languages, which makes it harder to organize (people are more comfortable working in a project when the documentation is in their own language). This also means that the Wikipedians are working on three different language versions of Wikipedia, with different project pages (for instance about World War I), which decreases the likelihood that they already know each other - something that encourages participation in Edit-a-thons.
  • There is no active Wikimedia chapter in Belgium which make it harder to reach Wikipedians interested in this type of activities where you meet face-to-face in real life.



Wiki loves public art

Final thoughts