Message from a Trustee – Saad Choudri
Saad talks about the past, present and future...
Following the successful AGM in Lincoln I want to firstly thank the Conference Committee for a job well done. Thank you to all involved from the speakers, volunteers, staff, members and the people of Lincoln for making it a fantastic weekend.
The AGM was great and we now have a new board with two new trustees. I would like to welcome Michael Maggs and Alastair McCapra to the board. Further, I would like to congratulate Greyham Dawes for his re-election. I would also like to thank all the members for their support and returning me as a trustee, it is great to have the support of the membership following my co-option last year.
The journey ahead for the new board and Wikimedia UK is going to be challenging given the events of last year. However, we have worked hard as an organisation to get our processes and governance in a place to meet the demands of the issues we may face. Of course we will continue to build upon the work already being done to ensure we have a robust organisation. We are by no means finished with implementing the required changes but as the board transitions to a focus on strategy and governance we are better placed to solve the problems we may encounter.
That being said, we have lots to look forward to and I am excited about the upcoming year. We will continue to roll out the program of activities and we have Wikimania 2014 coming to London. The plans for Wikimania 2014 are well underway and we have made some great progress with institutions such as the Tate and other organisations who want to work with us to deliver the biggest and best Wikimania London can host. The event organisers are doing a brilliant job and we can all support them in various ways. If you want to get involved please feel to drop any of the Wikimania Team or office staff a message, there is a way for everybody to be a part of the event.
I am looking forward to working with the rest of the board to help move Wikimedia UK onwards and to deliver on our core mission.
One final note, as I have this forum, I feel I should try to update you on QRpedia. As you may know I am the trustee dealing with this matter and I have to say that it is taking far longer than anyone anticipated due to a combination of many matters. However, the time taken now is down to the legal risks that I consider must be appropriately addressed before we finalise a solution. Roger Bamkin and Terrence Eden have been very patient and I owe it to them to resolve this matter as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this is not one of those situations where a wider group of people can help. I am pleased to say that following many conversations the strategy required to be applied has been determined. The execution of that strategy is being done as we speak. I hope to have a resolution to this before our next board meeting. The issues involved are not suitable to be shared in a public forum but if any of you have any questions around this please feel free to contact me to discuss further.
If you permit me, once again a final final note, because I genuinely cannot say it enough, I want to extend my gratitude and heartfelt thanks to Doug Taylor. Doug decided not to stand for re-election to the board. Doug’s work as a trustee has been absolutely terrific and his leadership will be sorely missed. I understand Doug will be taking a well-deserved break and will do some travelling. I wish him the best and I am sure we will see him at meet ups and events soon. Good luck Doug!
Saad can be contacted by email to saad.choudriwikimedia.org.uk
Hello from the Office – Jonathan Cardy
Jonathan Cardy, better known to some of you as WereSpielChequers is a longstanding Wikimedian and the newest member of Wikimedia UK's staff
Sometimes we get so focused on the big picture of working with museums and other "GLAM" institutions that we almost forget why we do it.
As well as being your part-time GLAM organiser for the past couple of months, I have been a volunteer editor for some years, and it was as a volunteer that I came across this delightful image. Which lead me to read about the Dorset culture, a lost pre Inuit arctic culture of people, who to quote Wikipedia "were highly skilled at making refined miniature carvings" and who were probably the "Skraelings" met by the Vikings of Greenland and North America; But whose Wikipedia article lacked an image of those carvings. So after a little searching I found and added this image.
Both of those images from an archaeological dig in Canada were available to us because the French museum they were in allowed photography; A nice photographer from Nice took some images and released them on Flickr under an open license; And one of our volunteers in Australia found those images and uploaded them to Wikimedia Commons.
The Internet, open licensing and Wikimedia enable collaborations like this across three different continents. My role is to enable more, much more of this sort of content improvement, and to tap into the expertise of the curators, librarians and archivists who are the custodians of so much of the world's knowledge.
He would love to see you at one of our future collaborations with the GLAM sector
Academic Dress editathon
Nicholas Jackson tells us what happened at an editathon dedicated to academic dress
On Saturday 25 May, an editathon was held in conjunction with the Burgon Society, a small charitable society dedicated to the study of academic robes and their history and design. In attendance were several members of the Society, several volunteers and staff members from Wikimedia UK, and a large collection of books, journals and other written sources.
The day started with a short explanation of Wikimedia UK's aims and objectives, followed by a brief demonstration of how to edit and create Wikipedia articles, and how to upload images and other files. After lunch we compiled a short list of articles to work on, switched on our laptops and got to work.
Improvements were made to a number of articles, including those on the academic dress of Exeter, London and Nottingham, as well as biographical articles on George Shaw and Norman Hargreaves-Mawdsley. One member who was unable to attend had provided some scans of antique prints and cards, which were uploaded to Commons along with some photographs of items from the society's collection. Another member contributed some clear diagrams of hood and gown patterns, which have been incorporated into an existing article on the classification of academic dress.
All in all, it was a worthwhile and productive day, and we hope to organise something similar in the future. In addition, it's given us some useful ideas about how to pursue our charitable aims of disseminating information on the history and design of academic dress to a wider audience. Thanks very much to Harry Mitchell, Rock Drum, Tom Morris, Katherine Bavage, Toni Sant, and everyone else who helped make it such an interesting and enjoyable day.
Lua on Wikimedia
Not the Roman goddess or the Hawaiian martial art!
From 13 March, Lua was enabled as a templating language on a number of Wikimedia Foundation wikis such as the English Wikipiedia. As this was a quite significant addition to Wikimedia, following expressions of interest, a special training session was arranged to offer interested editors the chance to find out more about what Lua is, how it works in terms of wiki templates, and finally to try their hands on coding some templates using Lua.
The event took place on Sunday 19 May at Development House. Alongside a number of experienced Wikimedians, we were joined by a large contingent of participants from London Lua who shared their experience and knowledge of Lua in exchange for learning more about Wikipedia. Tom Morris, a volunteer of Wikimedia UK who is an administrator of the English Wikipedia and English Wikinews spoke about how he found the day in a video (left).
Royal Opera House
Opera, ballets, and Wikipedia, what could be better?
The Royal Opera House editathon was attended by a dozen or so Wikipedians and several people from the Royal Opera House and the Frederick Ashton trust. We were hosted by the ROH in the grand surroundings of their crush bar; shown video footage of a classic dancer from the seventies, and then created a series of articles using the press cuttings and other archive resources of the ROH archive. Nine editors edited the Frederick Ashton article with more edits than the article had had in the previous three years. Articles on The Tales of Beatrix Potter and Symphonic Variations were started, and several other articles on ballets were improved.
Focus on meetups
Due to a clash with WikiConference UK 2013, London's seventieth meeting took place a week later than usual on the 16th June. The meetup was attended by about a dozen Wikimedians, including our new trustee Alastair McCapra and a visitor from the Ukrainian wiki. As usual the conversation ranged widely, including about some of our upcoming and possible GLAM events. The next London Meetup will be on the 14th July.
Oxford's fifth Meetup at The Four Candles was such a success that the attendees have decided to make the Oxford Meetup a monthly event. Among a range of topics, conversations focused on the subject of photography. The next Oxford Meetup will also be on the 14th July.
A look back at the AGM
WikiConference UK 2013 and the Annual General Meeting of Wikimedia UK took place in Lincoln on Saturday 8 June. At the AGM, a review of the charity's activities over the last year were presented, as well as resolutions passed unopposed to maintain membership fees at the current level of £5 per year for individual members and £100 per year for members organisations, and for the charity to reappoint Messrs UHY Hacker Young as auditors of the charitable company. Not standing for re-election, Doug Taylor retired as a trustee at the end of the AGM. The trustees election saw Saad Choudri, Michael Maggs, Greyham Dawes & Alastair McCapra returned to a two year term on the Board.
As part of the wider conference, the winners of our annual award were announced. Andrew Gray was awarded UK Wikimedian of the Year, not just for his work as Wikipedian in Residence at the British Library but also at other cultural organisations up and down the country. The winner of GLAM and Educational Institution of the Year were the National Library of Wales and Royal Society respectively. An Honourable Mention was awarded to the Wikimania London 2014 bid team for the time and effort they devoted putting together the winning proposal together.
Videos from the conference will soon be available on Wikimedia Commons. In the meantime, a few of them can be found on our feed on YouTube.
We are currently in the process of re-designing this newsletter, making it more relevant and the different sections more visible. In order to get a new design, we are looking for volunteers to create a new title banner. So, we are launching a competition for a new Membership Newsletter banner. The deadline to submit your entry is 9am (BST) on Wednesday 17 July.
Requirement: The banner should have dimensions of 500px by 200px, with the logo of Wikimedia UK and the phrase "Members' Newsletter" incorporated somewhere in the banner.
Before you start, please make sure you have read the Wikimedia visual identity guidelines to be aware of the acceptable use and combination of colours and the Wikimedia logo. The entry should be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons under an accepted license in the category Wikimedia UK membership newsletter.
The changes to the newsletter won't just end at the structure. New topics will be included, such as a regular op-ed piece and the inclusion of additional quick updates.
If you are interested in becoming part of the editorial team, or have ideas for new design or topics, please contact volunteeringwikimedia.org.uk. All suggestions are welcome!