Meeting:2018 AGM/President Report
It has been a significant year for Wikimedia Australia marking the tenth year of being approved as a chapter on 4 March – celebrated with a surprise video message from Wikimedia Executive Director Katherine Maher. The anniversary of incorporation as a not-for-profit association with Consumer Affairs Victoria occurred on 6 August. It is an appropriate time to look back and record our gratitude to those who established the chapter and have worked for the movement in Australia over the past decade. In particular, I wish to thank the hard-working committee over the past twelve months.
A key activity of the committee of management for 2017-18 was developing the Wikimedia Australia Annual Plan 2018. As part of this process we identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to Wikimedia in Australia. This provides a clear reminder of the ongoing challenges and opportunities we face as a chapter. When at times those challenges and opportunities seem somewhat overwhelming, it is great to remind ourselves of the things we do well and the good things have going for us: the high regard for Wikipedia by individuals and institutions in Australia; our strong and growing connection with the galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM sector) and the growing coherence in local, national and global strategic direction.
Simple Annual Plan Grant 2018-19
The Annual Plan in turn informed Wikimedia Australia’s successful application for funding from the Wikimedia Foundation’s Simple Annual Plan Grants (APG) program. Simple APGs fund a group or organization's programs and operating expenses for around 6–12 months – in the case of WMAU we received AUD$ 33,750 for the period 1 July 2018 – 30 June 2019, with reporting commitments in January and July 2019. This grant funds the recurrent costs of chapter governance such as public liability insurance, incorporation and digital infrastructure as well as supporting our goal of better communication with members and the community. There are two overall programs funded:
- Community Support: To support and strengthen the engagement of the Wikimedia community in Australia; to increase the diversity of participants participating in online and face to face activities, in terms of gender, region, language, and topics/sectors of interest; and to build community capacity.
- Outreach and Engagement: Increase awareness and participation of new individuals and organisations; establishment of two new collaborative partnerships; and participation in global content competitions and wide promotion in Australia.
Committee of management
We started the term of this committee in October 2017 with one ordinary committee member vacancy. On 6 November 2017, Robert Whyte was co-opted to the committee as ordinary member, and participated until his resignation during 2018. Thank you to Robert for his time on the committee and contribution particularly to the newsletters, strategic planning and Wiki Science.
The financial management of the chapter is a vital role and Robert Myers has done an outstanding job as Treasurer in the past two years, setting up much-needed systems and dealing with patiently with compliance and practical issues. Tom Hogarth as Secretary has worked on gaining control of structure and content on the committee wiki, and I appreciate the experience and commitment that Gideon Digby has provided as Vice-President, and his willingness to share his knowledge as Past-President. Thanks also to Steve Crossin for being a sounding board and backup - having two Past Presidents on the committee is a bonus in one's first year.
Other members of the committee have taken on much needed additional roles including Technical Officer, with thanks to Sam Wilson with assistance from Robert Myers for ongoing work on improving our technical infrastructure. We joined ConnectingUp.org.au to gain access to technology benefits available to Australian not-for-profit organisations.
We identified reporting and communication with members as priorities for this year, and are grateful to Caddie Brain for accepting the role of Communications Officer with support from Robert Whyte, and Robert Myers.
In a small community the same group of people take on roles that in larger chapters are done by separate groups: namely board members, staff members and community members. Throughout this year, the Committee has met online twice a month, for between 1.5 - 2 hours, as well as working on administration and projects between meetings. This is a significant commitment that affects families as well as individuals, so we take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank those who support us in this commitment. During the year several members of the committee continued to serve through significant personal events, and I wish to acknowledge and record my appreciation for their service to Wikimedia in these challenging times. We are saddened to record the deaths during the year of Wikimedia Australia past president and strong supporter, Craig Franklin, as well as two past members from Adelaide, Janet Hawtin and Mark Hurd.
Wikimedia Australia has held strategic planning workshops previously in 2011 and 2014. In November 2018, the incoming committee will engage in a workshop with Asaf Bartov from the Wikimedia Foundation to develop our next strategic plan.
Looking at the Wikimedia Australia events archive for the period October 2017 – October 2018 there are 42 community support events that were planned and advertised by Australian editing communities. These include Meetups, WikiClubs and organisation-based editing communities in Australia meeting on a semi-regular basis.
WikiClubs and Meetups
Three WikiClubs met during the year: WikiClubNT in Darwin at the Northern Territory Library, QWIkiClub in Brisbane at State Library Queensland, and WikiClubWest at State Library of Western Australia, Perth. WikiClubWest has monthly meetups on a weekend in the coworking space, as well as organising other events and gatherings in between that support ongoing projects such as Toodyaypedia, WA music history, or adding maps to Wikipedia articles. QwikiClub meets each month on the first Monday at The Edge, SLQ.
Each WikiClub welcomes locals or visitors interested in finding out more, getting help with editing of Wikipedia or other projects. There were 10 Meetups advertised on the events schedule, taking place in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. These tend to be attended by a small handful of editors, unless connected to a guest speaker event such as WikiTour.
Education, Equity and Research communities
In keeping with our strategic priority of knowledge equity, we maintain connections with several editing communities who are working in the areas of Indigenous language and knowledge, gender equity, disability and education and research.
In Western Australia the Noongarpedia team continues to develop the incubator site and provide editing activities and presentations at conferences. The Australian Paralympic History project organised several weekend editing workshops, and Associate Professor Murray Phillips presented on the project as part of a Wikimedia panel on Public Histories.
Several states got involved in Art+Feminism and International Women’s Day, with edit-a-thons organised by Griffith University, the Women’s Art Register, Sydenham Library and WikiD: Women in Design. In April, Caddie supported the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame in an edit-a-thon in Alice Springs called HER Story. Gender was also the focus of edit-a-thons at the University of Melbourne and University of Sydney.
It was exciting to see regular communities of practice established at several universities during the year centered on researchers. La Trobe University has regular Shut Up and Wiki sessions, and University of Melbourne Wiki Agenda meets in the Baillieu Library over lunch, as well as running all-day researcher support edit-a-thons. The staff organising these activities are enthusiastic and committed to improving both Wikipedia and the skills and engagement of their students and colleagues.
Engaging in the regional and global community
Wikimedia Australia is serious about engaging with the Wikimedia movement globally and in our region, and we work to overcome challenges of distance, time-zones and culture to learn from and contribute to Wikimedia beyond our borders. Committee members continued to participate in the Wikimedia strategy process, where available through online and face-to-face events.
- Wikimedia Conference 2018 Berlin: Pru Mitchell and Robert Myers attended
- East, Southeast Asia, and Pacific (ESEAP) Conference 2018 Bali: Robert Myers was active on the planning committee, and he and Tom Hogarth attended the conference. Gideon Digby is leading the planning for the next ESEAP conference.
- Wikimania 2018 Cape Town: Robert Myers represented WMAU committee, and attended the Chapter Chair’s meeting.
As a result of conversations at the 2017 Wikimedia Conference Gideon was instrumental in the release of QR code functionality that uses Wikidata, Wikipedia and WikiVoyage data, and is of great interest to WikiTowns projects. The tool provides stable urls that showcase a Wikidata item’s sitelinks and related items, and is multilingual, detecting language.
Outreach activities aim to raise awareness about Wikimedia projects, how Wikipedia works and to encourage new users. Our activities in this program are generally presentations, edit-a-thons, or challenges such as photo uploading or adding citations to Wikipedia. This year has seen two major national initiatives, the GLAMPeak national roadshow and WikTour, which have helped our outreach program reach well over 800 people.
Participating in global wiki challenges provides an effective way for us to undertake outreach at scale, encouraging Australians to put their toe in the water in terms of contributing content. Offering prizes enables us to contact photographers and engage with them about further contributions.
- 1Lib1Ref: This campaign encourages library staff to add citations to Wikipedia Three states ran events related to 1Lib1Ref during 2018, following up on the successful program by State Library Queensland in the 2017. Thanks to Kerry Raymond, Jacinta Sutton, Geoff Barker and Mylee Joseph for their work in outreach with library staff.
- Wiki Science Competition: This was a pilot year for Australia in involvement in this global Wiki Science competition. With minimal local publicity we received 92 interesting photographs. Thanks to Tom and Robert Whyte for researching and managing this activity.
- Wiki Loves Earth: We had another successful year with 982 photographs uploaded, and contact with 8 winners, including previous entrants from 2017.
- Wiki Loves Monuments: Run through September 2018 alongside the WikiTour 2018, we received 600 entries for Wiki Loves Monuments this year. This year Wiki Loves Monuments benefited from a team of editors including Kerry Raymond, Alex Lum and Gideon Digby who organised the uploading of clean, state-based heritage lists for use in the challenge.
Many thanks to Gideon who has managed both Wiki Loves Earth and Wiki Loves Monuments for several years, and who is looking forward to handing over the reins to new coordinators for 2019.
GLAM Peak National Roadshow
Wikimedia Australia was a technology partner for the GLAM Peak Digital Access to Collections workshops. This national roadshow was an initiative of the GLAM Peak Bodies in Australia, funded through the Catalyst Australian Arts and Culture Fund. Free two-day workshops gave small and medium-sized regional GLAM organisations the opportunity to participate in training focussed on digitisation and the provision of digital access to collections, plus Q&A with technology providers, and the chance to network with other GLAMs.
Thanks to generous support of time from members and committee willing to travel and present, we were represented at all 10 workshops, held between November 2017 and June 2018. Workshops were held at:
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart
- Albury Library Museum
- Geelong Library Heritage Centre
- Cobb and Co Museum, Toowoomba
- Gordon Stephenson House, Perth
- University of Newcastle
- Stratford Library, Cairns
- Barossa Library, Nuriootpa
- Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
- Broome Heritage Centre
The 300 participants came from Galleries (6%), Libraries (28%), Archives (12%), Museums (35%) and Schools/Universities (8%). The remaining 10% came from family history, records, church, sports clubs and Indigenous centres. Just a quarter of participants surveyed prior to the events had photographs of items from their collection on Wikimedia Commons. With only 20% of participants signing up for a user account, this was very much an awareness-raising outreach activity, from which we have gained a list of contacts and organisations to follow up in future activities.
Throughout September, Wikimedia Australia repeated the very successful 2016 Wikidata tour with special guest Andy Mabbett. This enabled us to reach a wide range of members, editors, GLAM organisations and conference goers.
State Library Queensland
The 2018 Wikidata Tour Down Under started on Tuesday 11 September 2018 at State Library Queensland who had invited an audience of GLAM professionals to a presentation and workshop with Andy Mabbett, on Wikidata and its relationship to the GLAMscape. Andy's presentation covered:
- What is Wikidata?
- Why does the GLAM sector need to know about this?
- Who verifies the quality of Wikidata?
- How can my organisation contribute and how will this data be used?
Thanks to Jacinta Sutton, Anna Raunik and Kerry Raymond for coordinating this very successful event, and organising the video of the presentation.
State Library New South Wales
On Wednesday 12 September, State Library NSW hosted the Wikipedia Sydney Seminar in which Andy was joined by local Wikimedians who provided a snapshot of activities across Wikimedia projects.
- Geoff Barker, Senior Curator: Wikipedia at State Library NSW 2018
- Dr Heather Ford, UNSW: Wikidata in social science research
- Jessica Coates, Australian Digital Alliance & Australian Libraries Copyright Council: Wikipedia and Copyright: New Opportunities
- Dr Frances Di Lauro, University of Sydney: Wikijournal of Humanities
- Dr Toby Hudson, University of Sydney: Using Wikimedia projects for Chemistry, Education, Australia, and #FakeNews
ACMI X Melbourne
- Dr Thomas Shafee, La Trobe University: WikiJournals
- Alex Lum: Australian Wikidata projects
ARMS and ASA 2018 Conferences
Andy Mabbett and Wikimedia Australia were pleased to present and exhibit at two professional conferences.
- Australasian Research Management Conference (ARMS) 2018 was held in Hobart from 18-21 September.
Pru Mitchell and Andy Mabbett engaged with participants and met with partner organisations in the exhibition hall, and Andy presented on Wikimedia and Open Science.
- Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) held their 2018 conference from 25-28 September in Perth.
West Australia members Gideon Digby, Tom Hogarth and Sam Wilson supported hands-on workshops, and Andy provided the closing keynote presentation entitled: Wikipedia Loves Archives: Archives Should Love Wikipedia, Too.
In April 2018 we were invited by the National Library of Australia to join a Community of Practice to inform redesign work on Trove over the next two years. This has involved one meeting attended by the President, and a number of online activities related to user experience. We were pleased to accept this invitation and support Trove in this way.
Thank you to everyone involved in helping achieve this impressive program of community support and outreach, and I look forward to continuing our work towards our primary aim, "to promote equality of opportunity to access and participate in the collaborative creation of Free Cultural Works, especially educational works, and works about Australia, its culture, natural environment, and Australian news and media".
Pru Mitchell President October 2017 to October 2018