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It's GLAM up North!

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By PatHadley

One hundred and fifty accredited museums! Ranging from tiny, volunteer-run collections in village halls, to national scientific and and industrial museums; Yorkshire has an over abundance of GLAMwiki potential. Now, nearly six months into a regional GLAMwiki project, I (PatHadley) am beginning to uncover some of the treasures in the county's collections and help museums through the various challenges to digital openness and working with Wikimedia.

Though the initial results may look small, they are hopefully signs of much bigger things to come. Firstly, there has been a great response from one of Yorkshire's smallest museums: Shandy Hall. This former vicarage in the village of Coxwold was the home of the innovative writer Laurence Sterne and has begun releasing images of the site and high-quality scans of artwork related to Sterne's life (in this Commons Category). This has already led to several images making their way onto English Wikipedia on Sterne's biography and the articles on his key books: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman and A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy. There are plans for many more images to be released and the curators have set up a Wikipedia training session with English Literature students from Northumbria University to help improve content related to Sterne. There are also factual resources on the Sterneana pages of the Laurence Sterne Trust (who run Shandy Hall) that can help Wikipedians improve this related content.

A new directory for GLAMwiki?

One pilot scheme in the project has grown out of a talk at Wikimania. This is an attempt to create a uniform directory of pages for GLAMs involved in GLAMwiki in order to provide an easy-to-navigate place for GLAM professionals and Wikipedians who may find the sprawling plethora of GLAM project pages confusing. This proposal got a very positive reception at Wikimania and staff at the three best presented directory pages (National Media Museum, Shandy Hall, York Museums Trust) have been thrilled at the clear representation of their work. It is hoped that a directory of global GLAMwiki projects can be built in this way and that the discussion pages on each directory page can become a useful space for Wikimedians to engage with GLAM staff.

Fifty thousand open images

The most dramatic victory so far has been that the host institution, York Museums Trust, has embraced open licensing as a whole. This means that the entire collection catalogue of 160,000 objects is now online. 50,000 of these objects are accompanied by free-to-use images on CC-BY-SA or Public Domain licenses.

Two of the galleries in this article show a handful of the best images that have already been transferred to Commons. It is hoped that this is the first of many transfers and there are plans to use the GLAMwiki Toolset to perform mass uploads.

So what's next? More of the same! Big museums such as the National Media Museum are in discussions about licensing and their image archives. At the other the end of the spectrum, I am working with York Museums Trust's digital team to provide small sites such as the Stewart Museum with the capacity to photograph some of their key objects and improve their digital openness. Wikimedians are encouraged to get in touch (on Wiki or by email) if they have ideas for the project or ways in which Yorkshire's museums can strengthen particular gaps on Wikimedia sites.

The Yorkshire Network Project is coordinated by PatHadley as the Regional Wikimedia Ambassador. It is hosted by York Museums Trust and funded by Wikimedia UK as part of the global GLAMwiki project

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  • I notice that a lot of these images have yet to work their way onto their respective article subject pages. Clearly I have something to work on on the morrow. This is pretty amazing though what you've accomplished, Pat, bravo. SilverserenC 07:50, 16 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  • Hi Silver, I'm glad you like them and it would be fantastic if you could get them used on more relevant articles! There's also a load of images in this category which are currently under-used. Go wild! If you've got any special topics that I might be able to help with through Yorkshire's museums, just let me know! Thanks, PatHadley (talk) 12:38, 16 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]


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