Three ways GLAM organisations add to Wikimedia projects

The contributions of Galleries, Libraries, Archives, & Museums to Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons benefit everyone
, James Gaunt.

Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world, so Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums around the world are adding their content so it is easier to find and use for everyone.

Below are three ways GLAM organisations are already contributing to Wikimedia projects like Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.

1. Sharing images on Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia

Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository for images, video, and audio. Openly licensed or public domain images like photographs, diagrams, or maps that are uploaded to Wikimedia Commons can be easily added to Wikipedia pages.

GLAM organisations often have troves of images in their catalogue, which unfortunately can be hard to find unless you know where to look.

By adding them to Wikimedia Commons, these images will appear in search engines, can be used on Wikipedia, and will link people back to the source organisations too.

Since 2013, the State Library of New South Wales have added thousands of images to Wikimedia Commons. In October 2022 these had collectively received over 5 million views, and are being used on over 2,000 Wikipedia pages. They also reported that adding content to Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons led to increased traffic to their own website.

2. Adding references to improve Wikipedia

Each year librarians around the world take part in 1Lib1Ref, a campaign for every librarian to add one reference to Wikipedia. But you can add references at anytime.

References help keep Wikipedia accurate. By adding more references, not only is Wikipedia improved, but it helps everyone else reading Wikipedia find greater sources of information on the topics they're interested.

In 2015, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York added bibliographic citations to relevant articles on Wikipedia that linked back to their own website. They saw page views for their website grow from thousands to over one million in one year.

3. Hosting an edit-a-thon or residency

Several Libraries and Galleries around Australia have held edit-a-thon events where members of the public get together and edit Wikipedia.

At these events, people learn how to edit and improve existing Wikipedia articles or create new ones.

Some of the events we've run have focused on a theme, like women artists or local music.

While an edit-a-thon would usually be run across one day, some GLAM organisations also have Wikipedian In Residence programs that can last weeks, months, or years.

Similar to an artist in residence program, a Wikipedian In Residence can use the collections of a GLAM organisations to create new content on Wikipedia, or improve existing content.

The Australian Performing Arts Collection hosted a resident for 12 weeks in 2022 who added new content from their collections to Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons, and gave training to their staff.

Outside of GLAM, Wikipedia can even be used for tourism, as economists found that by adding high-quality photos and information on the history and local attractions of cities, tourists increased their stay in those area.

Curious to find out more?

If you'd like to discuss more ways you or your GLAM organisations could contribute to Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, and other projects, please contact Wikimedia Australia:

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