Dear Cr Black,

On behalf of Wikimedia Australia, I write to express our concern about
the imminent closure of the Dictionary of Sydney due to the City of
Sydney's delays in releasing sponsorship funds.

Wikimedia Australia is an independent, not-for-profit organisation,
officially recognised as a national Chapter of the Wikimedia movement
- the volunteer community behind Wikipedia and other online
educational resources. We would like to express our support for the
Dictionary of Sydney project not only for the quality content that it
has produced but also for the globally pioneering role it has played
in its use of free-licensing. The Dictionary of Sydney provides the
vast majority of its content with a "Creative Commons" copyright
license that ensures the material can be used by third parties under
very open terms. This is considered world's best practice and is
consistent with the principles espoused by the "Open Educational
Resources" and "Open Source Software" communities globally. It should
be noted that the official State history project of Minnesota in the
USA, entitled "MNOpedia" has used the
Dictionary of Sydney as the inspiration for their comparable copyright

The strong stance of the Dictionary of Sydney on open access and
collaboration with historians both locally and further afield has
ensured that the content it has created is both legally and
practically compatible with Wikipedia, the world's fifth most visited
website. As a result, many of the Dictionary's articles about
important people, places and events have been integrated into
Wikipedia, including but not limited to:

    "Florence Violet McKenzie"
    (Australia's first female electrical engineer: )

    "Glebe Island"
    (a crucial part of Sydney's economy for centuries: )

    "Sydney Artists' Camps"
    (one of the most significant art movements in Australia's history: )

We draw your attention to the comprehensive acknowledgement of the
Dictionary of Sydney at the bottom of each Wikipedia article that uses
Dictionary material as the source of its content. Without the
Dictionary of Sydney, and without its pioneering efforts in open
access, this content simply would not have been available to the
online encyclopaedia and its wider audience. It would be a great shame
to see this outstanding collaborative digital history project fold.

Wikimedia Australia urges the City of Sydney to ensure the continued
funding and support for this project, without which the global
appreciation of Sydney's history would be very much poorer.

If you would like to contact Wikimedia Australia or one of our Sydney
based members for further information on this or related matters we
would welcome your enquiry.

John Vandenberg
Wikimedia Australia

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