Critical issues presentations/GLAM+Wikidata

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Submission no. 194
Title of the submission


Author of the submission
  • Sandra Fauconnier
  • Maarten Dammers
Country of origin

Netherlands; Netherlands


other, Outreach, Projects

  • Wikidata
  • GLAMwiki
  • best practices
  • outreach
  • partnerships

GLAMwiki projects have traditionally taken place mainly on Wikimedia Commons and on Wikipedia. But in the past two years, a group of Wikimedia volunteers has made the first steps in implementing GLAMwiki projects on our youngest sister project: Wikidata. As a completely volunteer-driven initiative, we have added more than 100,000 unique paintings to Wikidata (project Sum of All Paintings). And in the course of just a few months, the first large-scale Wikidata collaboration and outreach project with a group of Flemish museums has filled a major backlog of Belgian art history on Wikidata.

In our presentation we want to briefly introduce these projects, and then proceed to the first major insights and issues we have encountered. What works well in these projects? What is holding us (and partners) back? We want to initiate a broader discussion about the following issues at Wikimania and encourage the GLAMwiki community to assign priorities.

1. Differences in culture, expectations, goals and intentions between GLAMs and Wikimedia volunteers, in relation to Wikidata

  • What do we want? To cover the sum of all knowledge, in high quality. We’re not there yet at all. We haven’t covered most of Western art history, not even made a dent... let alone the non-Western cultures… On the other hand, we don’t want to include every artifact. How to gather the information we need, and where to stop?
  • What do GLAMs want? Assurance that their content is treated respectfully, is maintained in high quality, and they want to see statistics about re-use.
  • What do we both want? Keeping stuff mutually up to date; seeing that our work matters (is visible and re-used across the web)

2. What is keeping us from having more impact with these projects?

  • Reliance on a few knowledgeable volunteers - we need accessible tools (the QuickStatements tool is still too complicated)
  • Structured metadata on Commons would make such projects so much more attractive and logical
  • Convincing examples of re-use, in a way that matters
  • Documentation: How to do things? What are the best practices? Wikidata is a relatively new project so everything has to be written. Many older GLAMwiki projects are documented quite extensively, but is that documentation used well enough and can we learn from our experiences there?
  • Wikipedia has become conservative. Some language communities seem to be scared of Wikidata. Re-use of GLAM content from Wikidata on other Wikimedia projects would radically increase impact, but will that happen soon?
  • Wikidata itself is still very much under development, and has probably not yet reached the level of user-friendliness and impact on the web that would make it more worthwhile and interesting for a larger group of volunteers.

Not accepted