News and notes
Foundation's finances, geodata milestone, interim counsel, museum conference
Foundation's financial statements released
Last week, the Wikimedia Foundation announced that its audited financial statements for the 2009–10 fiscal year were available on the Foundation wiki. According to a Q&A, revenue increased from $8.7 million in 2008–09 to $16.6 million, with the "vast majority" coming from individual donations; and the cash balance including investments rose from $6.2 million to over $12.7 million. Expenses included $1,056,703 for Internet hosting, compared with $822,405 in 2008–09 – excluding donated services (by organizations such as Kennisnet), which were valued at $424,870 and $463,595, respectively (and other tech-related costs such as salaries and rents). The unaudited mid-year financial statements had been published in March, as mentioned in the Signpost, and the 2010–11 financial plan was published in July, see Signpost coverage: "Plans for major expansions of the WMF".
One million geocoordinates
Last week, the number of geographical coordinates on the English Wikipedia surpassed one million, in around 620,000 articles. At the same time, around 180,000 articles were marked as needing coordinates (which would correspond to a completion rate of 78% if no more geocodable articles were added). In September 2009, the milestone of half a million articles with geocoordinates had been reached (see Signpost coverage). In related news, links to display interactive OpenStreetMap maps within articles were recently enabled by default on the German and Norwegian (Bokmål/Rikmål) Wikipedias (to see an example, click "Karte" on the top right of de:Berlin), the fruit of a collaboration that had been begun last year, supported by the German Wikimedia chapter (see Signpost coverage).
Office hour: COI editing, interim general counsel
The log for the October 27 IRC office hour with Sue Gardner, the Wikimedia Foundation's executive director, has been posted. Gardner asked the participants a question about BLPs and COI editing, namely whether it was "true that 'editing your own article' has become somewhat less frowned-upon, over time?", which several of them denied. She explained that she was asking because Craig Newmark (member of the Foundation's advisory board) was considering adding information to the article about himself, and also mentioned an error in the article about herself. This was followed by a discussion of the estimate that "currently, there are 100K active editors" in the Foundation's Five-year targets (also discussed earlier and later on Foundation-l; the number is cited in the above mentioned financial statements, too).
Asked who the Foundation's interim general counsel was (after Mike Godwin's recent departure, see last week's "News and notes") and how to contact them, Gardner replied that "we have an interim GC lined up: a lawyer with Squires Sanders in DC. We also have a newly-minted lawyer who's worked with us in the past, who will be in the office supporting the more senior lawyer from Squires. They've both worked extensively with Mike, and he feels they'll be a good interim solution for us while we find a new GC", and that legalwikimedia.org would remain the contact point for legal questions or problems.
Museum Computer Network conference
Liam Wyatt, Katie Filbert, and Lori Phillips, along with Richard McCoy of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, attended the Museum Computer Network 2010 conference in Austin, Texas, October 28–30. Liam Wyatt gave a presentation on his experience as a "Wikipedian in Residence" at the British Museum. McCoy and Phillips talked about Wikipedia Saves Public Art, and Filbert led an unconference session to discuss collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution (cf. Signpost coverage).
A major theme discussed at the conference was how museums could make use of "e-volunteers", and in what ways they could recognize such volunteers. Wyatt explained that through Wikipedia, an e-volunteer program already exists. The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) launched its e-volunteer initiative at the conference, and McCoy and Phillips have posted a guide for volunteers to get started. Although the initiative is intended as a way to get new people involved in Wikipedia, current Wikipedians can also participate. E-volunteers for the IMA can utilize free admission to the museum and its wifi, along with access to its collection databases and reference library. At The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Phillips is also serving as "Wikipedian in Residence", and hosting events including a Backstage Pass event on Friday, November 5.
Throughout the conference, numerous museum representatives expressed interest in getting more involved with Wikipedia. In a blog post, Wyatt said that "there really really needs to be a Wikimedia USA chapter" or expansion of the New York City chapter, and there be an outreach coordinator working through the chapter to help manage relationships between institutions and Wikipedia.
News in brief