Annual Report 2023/Story: Metadata Edit-a-thons

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Det här är en översatt version av sidan Verksamhetsberättelse 2023/Story: Metadataskrivstugor. Översättningen är till 100 % färdig och uppdaterad.

This story describes how Wikimedia Sverige has developed a new type of event, metadata edit-a-thons, where experts have been able to successfully improve the information on resources in museum collections. This has several positive effects, such as including and engaging new volunteer groups on the Wikimedia platforms. It also creates a clear added value for our partners in the GLAM sector who, in a cost-effective way, gain a better knowledge of their collections, and it makes it possible for different resources to be linked together through linked open data.

New challengers require new activities, and insufficient metadata requires metadata edit-a-thons.

At the Swedish Air Force Museum, we helped several curious participants start editing structured data on Wikimedia Commons.

Normally, when museums or archives contribute with material with too little information (data) about what is in the images or in the collections that they want to spread on the Wikimedia platforms, we close our ears and tell them to come back when they have identified the time, place, people, events or whatever else is needed to put the resources in context and make them useful. In the project 100 000 Bildminnen, however, we have deviated from this procedure when the Nordic Museum, after a water leak, digitized photographs that were interesting enough to work with even though very little was known about them. Moreover, in some cases the images had visible damage and color changes after first being damaged by water, then frozen and then thawed and scanned.

Challenging? Definitely, but every pair of eyes that sees a photo makes it more likely that someone will recognize what's on it. Whatever metadata was available was packaged with the images and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. When working with files on Commons, the ISA tool can be used to make it easier for the community to add structured data to the images. You can create different campaigns for the different collections, so that the material could be completed, and people and places added like pieces of a larger jigsaw puzzle. The ability to focus the campaigns in the ISA tool on certain categories makes it easy to target the users who know the subject, so they don't have to see a lot of images they know nothing about. This makes it easier and faster to contribute.

The ISA tool and structured data are great, but they're not well-suited for working with longer descriptions and information that can't be found on Wikidata. So, to further improve the information on what the photos are depicting, we organized a metadata edit-a-thon – that is, an edit-a-thon focused of looking at the photos and writing more about their content. We focused on the SAAB factory collections from the 1960's and worked on them together with the Swedish Air Force Museum and former SAAB employees. We were really impressed with the outcome. The participants were able to describe what was going on in the photos, point out staged photos, and even identify their much younger selves! Most of them had not edited before; it was their first time, and they learned how they can continue contributing in the future. The more experienced part of the community got some more resources to work with and use in Wikipedia articles in different languages.

In addition to the edit-a-thons, we also involved the Wikipedia community in our work by organizing an edition of the Weekly Competition on Swedish Wikipedia focused on the photos from the Nordic Museum. As usual in the competition, participants got awarded for editing articles, but also for tasks such as improving the categories on Wikimedia Commons, adding and translating descriptions and structured data, and there were also bonus points for using the images in articles. The contest received a positive response, and whole photo series got placed in additional context.

Thanks to our previous work with roundtripping, the Nordic Museum will be able to make use of the improvements contributed by volunteers, so that it does not stay on the Wikimedia platforms. This means that their collections can be linked to other resources owned by both the museum and other GLAM institutions, and that they can be more easily used by both the public and researchers in the future. Everyone's a winner!