Part 3 - Witty Lama's response!

Warm regards,

Ashwin Baindur
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Liam Wyatt <>
Date: 2011/1/31
Subject: Re: The challenge : Was Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Liam Wyatt's
visit to India
To: Ashwin Baindur <>
Cc: shirish शिरीष <>, Bishakha Datta
<>, "Jogalekar, Sudhanwa"

Dear all,

Thank you for adding me to this thread. I will reply to various
people's comments all in this email as best as I can.

Ashwin wrote:
It would help if WikiMedia Foundation made some guidelines and
documentation on these materials.

This is, in part, one of the purposes of my fellowship. You can see
the first attempts of mine to lay out an idea for how this should
happen here:
Ideally, by the end of the year we will have a set of "how to"
documents for different kinds of things we want to do with GLAMs, with
equivalent "case study" documents written by a GLAM themselves who has
already done it, explaining why it worked and how.

Ashwin wrote:
In such a complex environment, what is our standing to engage  the
GLAM institution such as Kelkar Museum?
Let WikiMedia Foundation (Witty Lama, Bishakha et al) work out the
modalities for a GLAM project in India.
Should the pointsmen (who should "own" the project) be an editor or a WMF rep?

This is also a complex question but one that is not going to be solved
in the next month, probably not the next year. This is the kind of
long term issue that we as a worldwide movement are slowly working
out. However I have a couple of things that I think are clear: it is
important to note that outreach is not the Wikimedia Foundation's
role, it is the community and especially the chapters who do this
[obviously it's a bit different in the USA for the moment]. For the
richer chapters [e.g. UK, Germany...] I am trying to get them to hire
a person to be the "outreach coordinator" to professionally manage
relationships, but for individual cities, poorer chapters, or areas
where there is no chapter presence (therefore - most of the world) I
am currently suggesting the model of the "Wikimedia GLAM ambassador": This
is by no means a solid idea but we're working on it :-) The most
crucial part of working with a specific GLAM is that there is a local,
competent and trusted person [trusted by both Wikimedia community and
the GLAM] to be the contact person. There is no formal title required
for this, but it can be arranged if it helps e.g. "ambassador". Also
important is that that person doesn't feel like they personally "own"
that museum otherwise the great advantage of our community - the many
volunteers - gets stifled by the bottleneck of one person trying to
promote their own power.

shirish wrote:
The point I wanted to make is because there is only digital american
and European art that is the culture which is ingrained and known
about, the rest of the world is just not known and games have been an
influencer atleast to young and middling age group audiences world

Yes - there is definitely a defect of cultural heritage available
digitally from non western countries, for a variety of reasons.
However, this sometimes goes the other direction (with the less
developed country getting their content more available than the
developed country - e.g. Argentina's Wikimedia Chapter has been given
national TV footage from the [[Falklands war]] to put on the Spanish
Wikipedia but the BBC in England has not given any footage for the
English Wikipedia!

I don't pretend to know all of the situation in India and it's
cultural heritage organisations, but I can make an educated guess that
one of the major problems in India is:
1) Vast amounts of objects/papers/materials that is uncatalogued and
poorly stored (probably deteriorating)
2) Lack of digitisation money and equipment.
This is not just a "developing world problem" - it is also the case in
the Australian national archives too...

But, this brings the problem of a lack of Indian cultural heritage
online back to a much more fundamental level than poor SEO, it is
about cataloguing, preserving and digitizing. Only then do we get to
questions of "what metadata format" or "what copyright" etc.

If this is true, perhaps then (and this is just an idea), one thing
that Wikimedia India could be doing with State/National Archives and
Libraries is funding the purchase and operation of digitisation
equipment. For example: there could be a "Wikimedia digitisation
officer" in the State Archives paid by WMF/WM-ID. In exchange for
doing good quality digitsation for free, the Wikimedia community gets
a copy of the scan. It could also be done as part of a "residency" at
the GLAM where Wikipedians ask for specific documents/facts to be
found and the resident does the research and makes the scan. It would
be a good way of extracting "new" history from these institutions

Ashwin Wrote:
this is a complex operation where the Wikimedia Foundation plays a
larger role, where editors better not promise more than they can
deliver  and where commitments which are made must be honoured.

Correct. As I said in my blogpost "how to make cultural collaborations
it is important that we have professional, ongoing relationship
management with external organisations. by "professional" I do not
necessarily mean "paid" but I do mean "formal". It is no longer
appropriate for Wikimedia to be telling cultural organisations that
request to work with us to "leave a message on the talkpage" or for us
to talk about "liberating" their content. Of course, getting to that
stage is the tricky part, and that's what my job is about :-)

If people are particularly interested in continuing discussions about
GLAM-Wikimedia issues generally then I invite you to join the relevant
mailinglist, described here:

I hope this email has helped! Please forward it to any relevant
mailinglists if you wish.
Peace, love & metadata

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