Submissions:2024/How to create Wikimedia Working Groups for GLAMs

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This submission has been noted and is pending review for WikiConference North America 2024.


How to create Wikimedia Working Groups for GLAMs

Type of session:

Round Table

Session theme(s):

GLAM (Galleries/Libraries/Archives/Museums)


During the last couple of years, the GLAM-Wiki community has been seeing the rise of working groups organized within GLAM institutions. This type of community engagement has been particularly seen in the United States. Two examples of this engagement are the Digital Public Library of America and the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

DPLA launched its Wikimedia Working Group in September 2022. Currently, it is this institution's biggest WG with 10 members, who have been meeting monthly in the last two years. These participants represent eight GLAM institutions (other than DPLA and WMF): Boston Public Library, Harvard Library, National Agricultural Library, Harold B. Lee Library, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington State Library, Georgia Public Library Service, and the Ohio University Libraries. A more detailed list of members and some details about the overall DPLA + Wikimedia engagement is available here.

For the past years, this group supported DPLA in their Wikimedia efforts, including data modeling and cleaning, as well as outreach and documentation activities, such as the development of a Meta-Wiki portal for DPLA and coffee chats, like the "DPLA Network Coffee Chat: Wikimedia Working Group" and a second upcoming one about metrics. During the GLAM Wiki Conference 2023, Dominic and Giovanna also made a presentation about DPLA which included a portion about its WG with some first-hand member accounts about their experiences: "GLAM Around the World II: Case studies".

For BHL, the Wikimedia Working Group is newer and it has been meeting monthly since December 2023, as an unfolding of the publication "Unifying Biodiversity Knowledge to Support Life on a Sustainable Planet." The group already met before, but only in the last year, it had a more official engagement. It is composed of 35 members, across 20 GLAM organizations, which are working alongside independent Wikimedians to unify biodiversity knowledge across an ecosystem of siloed data repositories. Its members have supported BHL in their Wikimedia efforts with data modeling (especially on Structured Data on Commons), as well as outreach and documentation activities, such as the development of a Meta-Wiki portal for BHL and the organization of the "Transforming Biodiversity Heritage Library Images on Structured Data Commons", a workshop to work an agreed list of properties to be used on BHL's data on Commons.

Both of these groups have charters, official members (including a chair and a vice-chair), roles and responsibilities, fixed regular engagements, and planned activities and priorities. They have considerably contributed to the engagements of these institutions on the Wikimedia projects, not only by making a difference in the institution's available content, but also the overall topic area (i.e. BHL and the overall Biodiversity efforts on Wikimedia) and by organizing events.

For this session, we plan to have members of these two working groups present, as well as people interested in learning how to create GLAM-Wiki working groups. To achieve that, the plan is the following:

  1. Explaining the timeline and process of getting these working groups created and organized;
  2. Having current working group members talk about their experiences and activities;
  3. Sharing results from the last couple of years of Wikimedia Working Groups;
  4. Supporting those interested in organizing a Wikimedia Working Group.

This will be an open roundtable discussion, with all the participants taking part.

The major takeaways for participants are the following:

  1. Understanding how Wikimedia/GLAM-Wiki Working Groups work;
  2. Learning how to take part or replicate the experience by creating a WG;
  3. Improving the community engagement of GLAM-Wiki institutions on Wikimedia.

This session would be aimed at Wikimedians in Residence, GLAM-Wiki volunteers, and GLAM staff. All regions and engagement levels are welcome.

Author name(s):

Giovanna Fontenelle

Wikimedia username(s):


E-mail address:

Affiliated organization(s):

Wikimedia Foundation

Able to attend without scholarship?


Estimated length of session

60 minutes

Will you be presenting remotely?

Okay to livestream?

Livestreaming is okay

Previously presented?

I've presented about GLAM-Wiki several times. During the GLAM Wiki Conference 2023, I presented about DPLA's Wikimedia program, including its Working Group.

Special requests:

I will have the participation of members from both the Digital Public Library of America and the Biodiversity Heritage Library working groups joining this session. I'm still confirming the exact names. From DPLA, probably Dominic Byrd-McDevitt and Jamie Flood will join, depending on the schedule for the conference (as they are also the organizers), and from BHL, JJ Dearborn (online only) and Jake Orlowitz.