2008-2009 AGM/Ordinary Members/John Vandenberg

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Wikimedia Australia is alive! It has taken a few years to come to fruition. Thank you to everyone who helped get this organisation off the ground, especially Brianna, and also to those who have added their financial support to our Purpose by becoming members and also by donating. It has been amazing to watch the membership list grow beyond expectations over the last two months. watch out Wikimedia Deutschland; here we come!

I am known on the Wikimedia projects as "Jayvdb". My "home" project is English Wikisource, however I was recently elected to the English Wikipedia Arbitration committee 2009, which I doubt will be a holiday. I am also an administrator on Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Incubator, Multilingual Wikisource, and Latin Wikisource. I have over 4000 edits to content pages on non-English projects. A more complete biog can be found at Wikipedia.

I became involved in Wikimedia Australia after attending the Oct 2007 Melbourne meetup, and have attended all four Melbourne meetups since then. It is over this period that the organisation started taking shape, predominately around the Melbourne members due to the benefits of the Victorian Associations Incorporation Act 1981. When the time came to form an interim committee, I was appointed as the treasurer. While in this position, the interim committee passed a few resolutions which, when combined, meant that the role of Treasurer is best served by a Melbourne based person. (i.e. two signatures on all withdrawals, implicit expectation that the Treasurer will be one of the two signatures if possible, Bendigo Bank, etc) This was a set of delibate choices. While serving as the Treasurer, there were a few times that I needed to meet the other committee members in person to exchange documents or signatures.

I have recently moved myself up to Queensland, and although I still run a company based in Victoria, I will be reducing my presence down south over the coming year. As a result of this, and also the unknown (but growing..) time commitments of the Arbitration Committee, I am standing down as Treasurer. I am pleased as punch that Brian is taking over this role uncontested. An oldie, but a goodie.

However, I did not join the committee simply to play with boring numbers, so I am standing for the position of "Ordinary Member" in order to continue to be a versatile helping hand in the committee, keeping the organisation growing steadily in this critical first year and achieving our stated purpose.

In addition to standard committee tasks, supporting the opportunities presented by committee members and financial members, I will be putting my shoulder behind the following objectives:

  • outreach to archives and libraries to digitise old unique Australian sources on Wikisource.
  • building our resources of Aboriginal languages, such as the transcription project An Australian language as spoken by the Awabakal and dictionary entries in wiktionary:Category:Australian Aboriginal languages. We also need to continue developing relations with Indigineous Australians in order that we can establish Wikimedia projects in their languages, with Indigineous Australians leading and/or overseeing these projects.
  • Tax deductible status from the ATO, so that we can attract donations from corporations who have learnt to benefit from the economics of open source and open content.
  • Grants applications to the government, for arts, technology and hopefully also industry parterships.
  • Australian Wikimedia Schools Selection, a CD or DVD focusing on the curriculum needs of Australian schools, collated from Wikipedia, Wikisource, Wikibooks, and Wikimedia Commons. I hope that we will be able to produce a viable set of learning resources for teachers of one or more subjects, e.g. "grade 8 history in NSW", in order to use it as an example of what teachers of other subjects can hope to achieve when they collaboratively build learning resources for their own subject.
  • an accreditation system for Wikinews contributors.

In addition to these, as a committee member I endorsed the "Backstage Pass" programme being led by Liam, and I look forward to that continuing in 2009.

I look forward to working with everyone in this great organisation which is built around the social axiom that it is better to give than to receive.

John Vandenberg.