A Folkeopplysningsprisen for the Norwegian Wikipedia
Wikimedia Norwayreceived the Folkeopplysningsprisen (Award for Public Education) last week for "...[doing] perhaps more than any other [organization] to promote public education in Norway." Wikimedia Norway supports three major Wikipedia language branches, the Bokmål/Riksmål version, which rounded 300,000 articles and its tenth million edit this year, the Nynorsk version, which is currently nearing 75,000 articles, and Sámegielat (Sami) Wikipedia, a minority language version with 3,700 articles.
The Folkeopplysningsprisen has been awarded by the Voksenopplæringsforbundet (The Norwegian Association for Adult Learning) on an annual basis since 1998, to "celebrate individuals, groups, organizations or institutions that make a continuous effort beyond the ordinary to lay the ground for liberation, cooperation, growth and development through knowledge". The award was presented to Wikimedia Norway in a ceremony in Oslo on October 28, during NAAL's annual conference. "This is the first such recognition Wikipedia Norway has received, and we hope the award will help pave the way for us and others to promote the growth of free knowledge in Norwegian languages," said Wikimedia Norway's chairperson, Jarle Vines, who accepted the reward on behalf of the organization. The award had previously been given to, among others, the paleontologist and popularizer of science Jørn Hurum, the radio station NRK P2, and the television program Schrödingers katt.
The UK Wikimedia chapter, which was founded in November 2008 and approved as a chapter by the Wikimedia Foundation in January 2009, was awarded charity status by the UK Charities Commission late last week. The chapter, which is particularly active in GLAM and university outreach, recently hired as its first two employees an office manager and CEO, and is currently looking into expanding its outreach programs in Scotland.
Wikimedia UK chair Roger Bamkin (Victuallers) had this to say:
“Achieving charitable status is the culmination of much hard work by the Board... Wikimedia UK is anticipating another successful year of outreach work, building on the time, dedication and effort of a wonderful group of volunteers in the Wikimedia community.”
The news came just before the annual fundraiser, during which the UK chapter plans to raise £1 million; the decision is likely to be worth over a hundred thousand pounds a year to the UK chapter as donors who pay UK tax can now have their donation topped up by the tax office via Gift Aid. It also enables the chapter to use other forms of fundraising such as payroll giving. In related news, the Wikimedia Foundation has been busy this week preparing for the fundraiser, as a peek in Special:RecentChanges shows.
The promotion of open access to content and user-generated and -enriched content has not, until now, been recognised as a charitable purpose under UK law. However, the chapter's recognition as a charity marks a significant step forward in changing views in the UK, and developments in modern communications and the evolution of user-generated content.
New quality study initiated: The Wikimedia Foundation has initiated a small-scale study on article quality on Wikipedia. The study is to be undertaken by the UK e-learning company Epic and academics from Oxford University, and aims to build on an earlier study by Nature, conducted in 2005 (see related Signpost story), by looking at multiple language editions and multiple subjects (instead of only English and scientific ones). According to the Wikimedia Foundation, "Our hope is that the study’s findings will inspire and inform more extensive, independently funded research related to the quality of information found in Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects."
Annual Arbitration Committee Elections imminent: Following the close of a lengthy Request for Comment, nominations are due to open for the ninth annual Arbitration Committee elections on November 12th. Experienced and dedicated Wikipedians will be invited to run for the six open seats on the Committee this year.
Breaking news: The Wikimedia Foundation blog has announced the release of the latest comScore data for Wikimedia projects in the month of September 2011. Visitors to the movement's sites rose 14.2% year on year, outpacing average internet user growth of 9.7%, amounting to 454 million unique visitors. WMF Chief Global Development Officer Barry Newstead was particularly enthused by the sites' strong growth in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East & Africa regions, although he noted continued obstacles in penetrating the Chinese market.