Project grants/History and Policy Training Event

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Basic information[edit | edit source]

Project Title (If applicable)
Wikipedia Training for Historians & Social Scientists
Proposed by
Billy Davis
Are you currently a member of Wikimedia UK?
Yes. User:BillyDeeUK

Project description[edit | edit source]

Briefly describe the issue or problem that motivates this application. What needs are you meeting?

History & Policy is an independent network of over 500+ historians that seeks to improve policy-making through an increased awareness of history amongst policymakers. The academics that we work with, both through contributing to History & Policy, as well as through their own research activities, produce an abundance of high quality, peer-reviewed original research. We have noted that this research is an under-utilised tool in terms of raising the overall quality of Wikipedia articles, and that academics are perhaps not as well informed on how to use Wikipedia as they should be. History & Policy is therefore seeking funding to host a training session on how to use Wikipedia. This training session – aimed at PhD students, Early Career Researchers and academics – will help to raise awareness of the opportunities to utilise Wikipedia articles as a way of disseminating their research, how to contribute meaningfully to Wikipedia articles, as well as helping to contribute to greater public understanding by improving the overall academic quality of articles on Wikipedia.

Describe project activities. What will you use the funding to do?
The requested funding would be used to organise a half-day training workshop aimed at PhD students, Early Career Researchers and academics both in history and the Social Sciences. The purpose of this training session would be to help raise awareness amongst attendees of opportunities for using their original research on Wikipedia, as well as provide them with the expertise on how to use Wikipedia to edit and create articles, etc.

Proposed agenda:

• 09:30: registration & coffee

• 09:45: Opening Statement (Suggested speaker: Prof. Simon Tanner, Senior Tutor in Digital Humanities, KCL) on why Wikipedia is important for Historians & Social Scientists.

• 10:00 – 10:45: Wikipedia Training

• 10:45 – 11:45: Live Wikipedia editing

• 11:45 – 12:00: Q&A and Feedback

Dependent on when funding can be allocated, we would be looking to hold such an event in September or October 2016.

Describe your plan for evaluating this project. How will you measure success? What types of things will you measure (e.g. content, participants)?

We will provide feedback forms to all attendees of the event, in order to monitor how they felt with regards to the event’s content and its utility and relevance to their work. As part of this feedback form, we would ask them to note any articles they edited and/or created during the session.

For History & Policy’s own work, we will continue to monitor our own analytics to note any increases in traffic that is from people clicking through to our website from Wikipedia

Identify key people involved in this project. How will or could the wider Wikimedian community be involved?

In terms of staff:

1. From History and Policy:

• Billy Davis, Public Affairs Manager – responsible for organisation & logistics of the event

• Graham CopeKoga, Digital Communications Officer (based at the University of Cambridge) – Will record audio-visual of the event itself, “Live Tweet”, take photographs and publish the post-event editorial on the History & Policy website

2. External Speaker:

• Prof. Simon Tanner, Senior Tutor, Digital Humanities, KCL [Proposed]

3. Wikimedian Community:

• For a group of 30, we would need three people to come and train them

4. Attendees:

• In terms of attendees, we would be aiming to target PhD Students, Early Career Researchers and academics from across the social sciences from various universities.

If applicable, identify partnering organisations for this project (not essential)

History & Policy works with academics and students from numerous universities across the United Kingdom, which would be informed of opportunities to participate in this training event. Within Kings College London, where this event will invariably take place, we will also ensure to contact all relevant faculties – Digital Humanities, Politics, Information Technology, History, etc.

What targets have you set? What will you measure?

The majority of classroom venues at KCL cater for around 30 people. We will therefore aim to provide training for between 20 – 30 attendees on the day of the event.

As mentioned previously, we will ask attendees to list the articles they have edited/created, so we can see monitor the impact of those edits on the article. We will also monitor the traffic coming to our website from Wikipedia, which is currently the seventh highest inbound link (incoming traffic) to the History & Policy website.

What contribution will the project make to our strategic goals?

We believe that such an event will be mutually beneficial to both the Wikimedia UK and History & Policy in terms of helping these organisations to achieve their complementary strategic goals.  

It is envisaged that such an event will help the Wikimedia UK achieve its strategic goals I the following areas:

Develop Open Knowledge [G1]: By education and informing our audience of academics to the benefits and opportunities of contributing to platforms such as Wikipedia, it is our hope that this will lead to an increase in the use of high quality, peer-reviewed research from historians and social scientists – be it from the individual academic’s own endeavours, or from History & Policy’s own archive.

An increased diversity in Wikimedia Contributors [G5.2]: By encouraging Academics, Early Career Researchers and PhD students from across the Social Sciences to actively engage with Wikipedia, it is hoped our event will improve the overall diversity of the Wikipedia Community.

Wikimedia Communities are skilled and capable [G5.3]: This half-day training event will provide delegates from our aforementioned audience with the skills that they need to independently edit and contribute to the growing number of articles on Wikipedia.

The project will also help History & Policy’s strategic goals in two ways:

Firstly, since its inception, History & Policy has provided high quality training courses to academics on a number of topics from how the policy-making system works through to media training. By funding this event, Wikimedia will help History & Policy to provide our first ever training on how to use and edit Wikipedia.

Secondly, in an article in The Guardian (2011), our co-founders mentioned how an initial, ad-hoc exploration of Wikipedia had benefited History & Policy with increased traffic to the website. Such a training session would be the beginning of a renewed effort on behalf of History & Policy to use our original research to improve the quality articles on Wikipedia.

Who will be recording/measuring the project metrics, and writing up a project report?

This will be done internally at History & Policy.

Billy Davis will be responsible for writing up the report for the Wikimedia UK, as well as an article for the “Training” section of the History & Policy website.

Graham CopeKoga, History & Policy’s Digital Communications Officer, will be responsible for measuring the metrics of the History & Policy website, to measure the number of “click through”s to the website we gain from Wikipedia.

What staff support is being requested?

We would be keen to have volunteers/staff from the Wikimedia UK to provide training to the attendees of this event on how to edit, and contribute to, articles on Wikipedia.

How can you get other volunteers involved? What roles could they have?

History & Policy staff will be sufficiently able to cover all other aspects of the event – including logistics, catering, audio-visual support and post-event reportage.

What meeting or other space is needed?

History & Policy is based in Kings College London, so we would be able to secure an appropriate venue.

Are other resources needed (such as computers, books, camera equipment, food, contacts, infrastructure)? How will they be sourced?

We would provide light refreshments for delegates and volunteers (tea/coffee, water, fruit juice, biscuits). This would be provided by KCL’s in-house catering services.

At a previous Wikimedia event attended by Billy at the Black Cultural Archives two leaflets provided by Wikipedia entitled Editing Wikipedia & Illustrating Wikipedia were made available. We would like to provide the same at this event (please advise of any costs that might be involved to have these at our proposed event).

We would, however, ask delegates to bring their own laptops to the event. This is largely for convenience as it would be difficult to secure a room with sufficient computer, and would be prohibitively expensive to provide our own computers for each delegate.

If any partner organisations have been identified, have they been contacted and are they committed?

Whilst no faculties have been contacted about this event, our past experience demonstrates that there is interest in our events outside of historians and beyond KCL Campus.

Does this project require more extensive funding? What would any WMUK funds be used for?

The costs of the project would be sufficiently covered by Wikimedia UK funding. In total, we are asking for £230 in order to cover all aspects of the event. This includes:

£130 for catering costs

£60 to cover travel expenses for Wikimedia trainers and other key staff

£40 to provide stationery for delegates (pens and notebooks)

As such costs would be funded by Wikimedia, we would look to offer places to delegates free of charge. In exchange, we are happy to use Wikimedia’s logo on all promotional materials and other relevant media, in order to promote the fact that this event uses Wikimedia funding.

Are external funds needed that we can apply for? If so where will they be sought?

In a separate, but related activity to this training session, History & Policy will be employing an intern whose main responsibility will to identify opportunities for History & Policy to contribute meaningfully to existing Wikipedia articles, or to plug any existing knowledge gaps with our own original research. This intern, a PhD student at the University of Leeds, will have their placement funded by the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities. This intern has already been selected and will begin employment with History & Policy in June 2016.

Are there any resources that you can contribute? Such as equipment.

History & Policy will be supplying the venue for the training session. In addition, we have an extensive network of academics and students – with over 4,000 subscribers to our mailing list and over 7,000 followers on Twitter. Our subscribers are usually extremely engaged with our work, so we are positive that we will easily fill the delegate places for such a training session.

Discussion[edit source]

Comments from WMUK evaluation Panel[edit source]

  • The panel thought the audience of the event was not clear who will attending
  • How many wiki trainers do they need?
  • WMUK can pay for the cost of travel of the trainers so there is no need to include this in the cost.
  • What sort of outreach will be done to make the event visible?
  • In the last page there's a question about WMUK being able to apply to funding but the applicant responds something about an intern being hired to do is identify potential contributions to Wikipedia they need to be careful about paid editing.
  • Would they really need £ for stationary. Can we send them pens and notepads?