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User:Jason.nlw/National Library of Wales residency final report

WiR at National Library of Wales Info Graphic 2017 - Title.png



The Wikipedian in ResidenceEdit

Dr Dafydd Tudur receiving the National Library's GLAM of the year award, 2013

A Wikimedian (or Wikipedian) in Residence (WiR) is a Wikimedian who dedicates time to working in-house at an organization. The role is fundamentally about enabling the host organisation and its members to continue a productive relationship with the encyclopaedia and its community after the residency is finished. WiRs also work with staff to digitize, compile, and organise resources that can be shared with the Wikimedia community.

The aim of this residency was to promote understanding of Wikimedia projects among National Library of Wales staff, as well as GLAM organisations in Wales more generally, by organising workshops and events.

Background to the projectEdit

The National Library of Wales (NLW) first collaborated with Wikimedia UK in 2012/13 when a number of NLW photographs were shared via Commons in support of the MonmouthpediA project. The National Library was named GLAM of the year 2013. During 2014 the Library was approached by Robin Owain, the Wikimedia Wales Manager who proposed installing a jointly funded Wikipedian in Residence. Following negotiations and internal interviews, a Wikipedian in Residence was appointed from the Library Staff on a 12 month contract. The Wikipedian took up the position on January 19th 2015 and was contracted until January 30th 2016. The project was subsequently extended periodically until July 31st 2017.

In 2013 the National Library made a policy decision not to claim any rights to reproductions public domain images. The Wikimedia residency was seen as as a good way of enacting this policy by actively releasing public domain content via Wikimedia Commons. It was hoped that this would bring impact to the 2013 policy decision. The library was also interested in supporting the Welsh language and the Welsh Wicipedia provided opportunities to do this.

Key aims of residencyEdit

January 2015 - January 2016Edit

(The Gs relate to Wikimedia UK strategic goals, against which we mapped the goals of the residency [1] )

  • Identify and release digital collections to Wikimedia Commons on an appropriate open licence (G.1.1-2)
  • Hold a minimum of 6 public events or workshops (G.1.2)
  • Work with the institution and its partners to promote and develop open access/knowledge (G.1.3 & G.3.2)
  • Affect changes to NLW culture, guidelines and policy to promote open knowledge and open access to NLW collections (G.3.3)[1]

January 2016 - March 2017Edit

(During the project, Wikimedia UK revised its strategy and introduced new strategic goals against which all programmes are organised. These are listed and expanded on here - Comparing with the previous goals, NLW's and WMUK's thinking about the project has expanded and broadened, but at the same time became more specific and in-depth.)

  • Co-ordinate uploads of content from the Library’s collections to Commons on a relevant open licence, encourage re-use by third parties and raise awareness within the Library and beyond of its impact.
  • Research ways other Wikimedia projects can benefit from NLW content. (SG1)
  • Continue to support the Library’s Wikischolar scheme. (SG1)
  • Explore the potential use of Wikidata as means of enhancing access to and interpretation of heritage and culture materials. (SG1)
  • Promote digital connections and hold activities which would enable the best use of Wikimedia projects among Library staff and users. (SG1)
  • Support and engage the NLW volunteer group working on Wikimedia projects. (SG1)
  • Work with staff to create a process by which content can be uploaded once the resident has left. Set up a suitable mechanism at a policy level and in terms of existing work practices where possible. (SG2)
  • Engage with other Welsh cultural institutions such as the National Museum of Wales, libraries and archives across Wales and?or Higher education institutions to encourage. Advocate, and assist them in realising the benefits of the open access approach and exploring possible activities associated with Wikimedia projects. (SG2)
  • Collaborate with People’s Collection Wales and Welsh Government, including exploring possibility of activities in the pioneer areas of the Fusion Programme.(SG2)
  • Cooperate with the head of Digital Access in the task of building in accessibility/open sharing into the Library’s activities. Use the success of this project so far to develop the case for this to present to stakeholders and decision makers. Translate policy changes into realistic and sustainable actions from specific teams or staff. (SG2)
  • Prepare and present reports and findings and progress to the Executive Team and other Library committees as well as to Wikimedia UK and, if appropriate at external events. (SG2)
  • Trial and develop a model for taking Wikipedia into Schools - embed NLW content into schools vis Wikipedia, and introduce Wikipedia related tasks into the Welsh Baccalaureate. The themes could focus on digital literacy and inclusion, language skills, social and digital inclusion. (SG3)

Summary of activities and outcomesEdit

Strategic Goal 1 (as per WMUK strategy)Edit

Increase the quality and quantity of coverage of subjects that are currently underrepresented on Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects

Editing EventsEdit

A number of edit-a-thon events and workshops, aimed at training new editors and improving content on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, were held throughout Wales during the residency. Most were themed, and many were held in partnership with others.

A Rugby World Cup edit-a-thon was held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in September 2015
NLW staff at a Wikidata Edit-a-thon in 2015
Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens editing Wikipedia at the Aberystwyth Wicipop Edit-a-thon in 2017
  • 19 Wikipedia Edit-a-thons held
Attendees New accounts New articles Improved Articles
221 95 286 1464
  • 1 Wikidata Edit-a-thons held
Attendees New accounts New articles Improved Articles
14 1 2403 4179
  • 11 Training events and workshops held
Attendees New accounts New articles Improved Articles
120 23 6 16

 Figures cover the period January 19, 2015 - April 30th, 2017

New user retention rateEdit

Retaining newly trained editors on Wikipedia is one of the biggest challenges in growing the editor community and retention rates are historically very low. 57% of first time editors who took part in events organised by the WiR at the National Library of Wales were still active after 3 months.

This is very unusual and significant. The establishment of Wikipedia editing as an option for volunteers at NLW is likely partly responsible for the high retention rate, as many attendees of events were part of the volunteer team at NLW, or later went on to join the team.

Sharing Digital ContentEdit

Sharing Digital content with Wikimedia projects was a key goal for the project from the beginning. Page view statistics for articles containing NLW images soon became a key measure of the success of the project from the perspective of NLW management. In Year 2 of the project the WiR also began sharing data sets from NLW via Wikidata and the main benefit here to NLW was the ability to easily share data openly on an established open data platform and the ability to enrich, analyse and visualise their data in ways not possible using the traditional library catalogue.

Impact of sharing with Wikimedia during the residency

NLW shared several complete collection on image to Commons, including the Welsh Landscape Collection - a collection of 4500 prints and engravings of 17th-19th Century Welsh landscapes. Many other images were shared including historic maps, manuscripts and early printed books.

Two further significant collections including 5000 welsh portraits and 600 framed works have been identified for upload to Commons in the near future.

Distinct image use within Wikimedia projects is unusually high for a residency. This is due to several factors. Firstly, the NLW ran events specifically focused on identifying Wikipedia articles relating to Wales which lacked images, and adding NLW images where appropriate. Secondly, the NLW residency has lead to the creation of Wikidata items for many of its images, and images attached to Wikidata items count towards the image reuse total.

Image statistics

Images uploaded Total image use Distinct image use Total views
11385 9560 5772 (50.7%) 262,452,038

Figures cover the period January 19, 2015 - April 30th, 2017


Contribution to Wikidata grew steadily through the project, as did enthusiasm in the project amongst NLW management. These figures are for the most part down to the appointment of a Wikidata Visiting scholar who has driven the libraries engagement with Wikidata and associated analysis and visualization tools.


Items/Pages created Edits Bytes added
6,825 255,623 91,742,088

Figures cover the period January 19, 2015 - April 30th, 2017

Wikidata Article PlaceholdersEdit

The WiR negotiated the introduction and development of the Article Placeholder feature on the Welsh Wicipedia - by far the largest Wikipedia to implement this tool, which automatically generates an article placeholder using Wikidata for missing content on Wikipedia.

  • There are 3.5 million possible placeholder pages on the Welsh Wikipedia
  • As of May 31st 2017 10,000 of these are indexed and searchable on Google

These placeholders provide Welsh speakers with access information on millions of topics through the medium of Welsh and encourage editors to create articles for placeholder topics. It is hoped that this technology can be developed so the placeholders resemble actual articles more closely, and the WiR has been in regular contact with the cy Wiki user community and the Wikidata team in Germany in order to support the implementation and development of this resource.

3rd party contentEdit

Towards the end of the project the WiR was increasingly involved in assisting other in releasing their content on an open licence via Wikimedia projects. Below is a breakdown of significant third party collections shared with the tassistanceof NLW at its resident Wikimedian.


Collection owner Type Items released
CADW Data items 27,000
Sain Records 30s audio clips 7200
Sain Records Album covers 497
Medwyn Jones Photographs of Bands 268
Ochr 1/Antena Photographs of Bands 54

Working with VolunteersEdit

Initially, developing a sustainable volunteer community of Wikipedians within the National Library was not a target for the project. However as the project became established it became clear that the library had a well resourced and well managed community of enthusiastic volunteers, and it seemed logical to offer them the opportunity to engage with Wikimedia projects.

Members of the Library’s volunteer team began attending Edit-a-thons arranged by the NLW WiR and several projects were developed specifically for the volunteer team.

Following the success of several Wikipedia based projects, the NLW volunteer manager agreed to include contributing to Wikipedia as an official option for all volunteers applying to work with NLW. This was implemented in November 2016, and since them the number of volunteers asking to contribute to Wikipedia has increased substantially. In March 2017 alone volunteers spent over 100 hours editing Wikipedia.

Wicipop Infographic

Volunteer project outcomes

Project subject Participants New Articles Improved Articles
Welsh Biography (Wikidata) 13 20 66
Welsh Newspapers 9 100 24
Welsh Biography (Wikipedia) 5 304 319
Welsh Translation Project 4 4 4
TOTAL 31 428 413

 Figures cover the period January 19, 2015 - April 30th, 2017

Wikipop projectEdit

On July 1st 2016 the WiR and Robin Owain met with representatives of the Welsh department at the Welsh Government to discuss the possibilities of collaborating on projects to improve the quantity and quality of content on the Welsh language Wicipedia. This eventually lead to NLW making an application for a £20,000 grant from the Welsh department to run a 3 month project aimed at improving Welsh language content relating to Pop Music. The project was run as a joint collaboration between the Welsh Government, NLW and Wikimedia UK.

The main targets for the project were:

  • Create 500 new Welsh Wicipedia articles
  • Hold 3 edit-a-thons across Wales
  • Produce a report on using technology to semi automate the process of creating new articles

All targets were met or surpassed, and significant amount of content was donated by third parties on an open licence for use as part of the project. This includes the release by the BBC, Y Selar (Magazine) and Bangor University of text, and the release of sound clips and photographs by Sain Records and others.[2]


Participants Edit-a-thons New articles Media items released
40 3 783 8000

Total coverage improvement for the residencyEdit

Below are the figures for the total amount of content released/created on Wikimedia projects during the residency, including coverage improvements made as part of secondary projects and events managed to the WiR during the residency.

Content created during the residency


New accounts New articles Improved Articles Bytes added
Total 135 10,684 16,169 121,129,065

Wikimedia Commons

Images released Audio released
Total 12,385 7200


Data items released
Total 33,825

Strategic Goal 2Edit

Support the development of open knowledge in the UK, by increasing the understanding and recognition of the value of open knowledge and advocating for change at an organisational, sectoral and public policy level


Advocacy totals for the residency

In order to promote the benefits of open access, and of engaging with Wikipedia projects, Twitter accounts were set up in English and Welsh so news about the project could be shared. Regular blog posts were also used to report on aspects of the project. The residency has also attracted significant media interest in Wales and the resident has been interviewed on a number of occasions for television, radio, magazines and news websites. In the second half of the project, opportunities have also arisen to share experiences and outcomes of the project at various GLAM conferences, leading to opportunities to forge partnerships and to inspire others to get involved with Wikimedia projects.

The WiR has contributed a case study to an upcoming publication entitled ‘Open Licensing for Cultural Heritage’ edited by Gill Hamilton and Fred Saunderson. The WiR is also co-authoring a chapter on engaging volunteers in libraries with Alex Stinson of the Wikimedia Foundation, for an upcoming publication by OCLC on Wikipedia and Libraries.

Twitter Impressions 2,155,700
Blog Posts 21
TV & Radio appearance 22
Print and web media coverage 16
Case studies 2
People attended presentations 600

 Figures cover the period January 19, 2015 - April 30th, 2017

Embedding open access with the National Library of Wales and its partnersEdit

Embedding open access within the National Library and among its key partners was an important aspect of the residency. Embedding open access at a policy and operational level is seen as key in ensuring the long term legacy of the residency. Agreeing and implementing such fundamental changes in an institution in the throws of austerity, with pressure to generate more income from its assets, was undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges.

Embedding open access was an ongoing process which required multiple approaches.

Staff engagement with WikipediaEdit

A number of staff have shown an interest in contributing to Wikimedia projects on an individual level and 45 edit-a-thon attendees were staff at NLW. 2 members of staff were trained to support edit-a-thon events, 2 more received basic training in order to support volunteers working on Wiki projects and 1 member of staff asked for training so the he could correct and update Wikipedia as he ingested new audio visual material into the library collections.

However many staff who showed an interest in contributing were unable to do so in work hours, either because of large work loads, or because of staff shortages.

Staff who attended Wikipedia intro session Staff who attended Edit-a-thons Staff trained to edit as part of their work
44 45 5

 Figures cover the period January 19, 2015 - April 30th, 2017

Embedding open access and cooperation with Wikimedia UK
Engagement with Library partnersEdit

Peoples Collection Wales

Scanning items with Peoples Collection Wales at the Patagonia Edit-a-thon and Bring-a-long

Early in the project, the WiR opened a dialogue with Peoples Collection Wales, a digital heritage hub for Welsh GLAMs and the public to share content, stories and memories. The Peoples Collection currently only offers contributors a non-commercial Creative Archive License, when donating content, but through a process of cooperation have now committed to switching to the Creative Commons licensing system and offering multiple licenses in future, including CC-BY-SA or similar open license with no commercial restrictions. Collaborative activities included:

  • Co-hosting an ‘Edit-a-thon and Bring-a-long’ event
  • Trialing the CC-BY-SA licence with a small group of contributors
  • Monitoring impact of CC-BY-SA content on Wikimedia platforms
  • Uploading approx. 2000 NLW images from Commons to People’s Collection website.
Members of Penysarn Youth Club editing Wikipedia as part of a Wales for Peace launch event at the National Library of Wales

Wales for Peace Project

The Wales for Peace project is a HLF funded project established in 2014. Broadly, the project’s goal is to commemorate WWI and celebrate Wales contribution to peace through an extensive program of public engagement.

The WiR worked to embed Wikipedia based activities into their outreach program and has held several events aimed at aiding this process.

  • Welsh Peacemakers Wikipedia workshop with school children as part of project launch event at NLW
  • Wales for Peace drop in Edit-a-thon for young people at the National Urdd Eisteddfod 2016
  • Wikipedia training event for Wales for Peace staff and Volunteers at the Temple for Peace, Cardiff

Cynefin Tithe Maps Project

The HLF funded Cynefin project at NLW aimed to digitise every Tithe Map in Wales and make the collection fully searchable using crowdsourcing. The project also engaged in a number of community outreach activities. Collaboration included:

  • Sharing a high quality digital copy of one of the maps on an open license via Wikimedia Commons and monitoring the impact
  • Holding a Welsh Chartism Edit-a-thon as part of Cynefin’s Trails to Trials initiative with volunteers in Gwent
Embedding the sharing of digital contentEdit

An important aspect of the residency was ensuring procedures were in place to ensure the continued sharing of digital content on an open licence and with Wikimedia, beyond the term of the residency.

The Library has made a commitment in its 2017-2021 strategy to continued collaboration with Wikimedia (See 6.1), and the workflow for selecting, digitising and providing access to digital content now includes sharing content to Wikimedia Commons, and this will be a consideration for every new collection digitised. NLW has also set up a group which meets regularly to discuss and implement plans to share digital content on third party platforms including Wikimedia Commons.

Digital integration with WikipediaEdit

Welsh Newspapers Online

In 2015 the popular, and free, Welsh Newspapers Online website relaunched with a feature which automatically generates citations for articles in Wiki markup, in order to aid the use of the service as a source for Wikipedia editors. This also provided the library with an opportunity to embed their collaboration with Wikimedia into their services, and and to encourage Wikipedia users to link back through the citations to the Welsh newspapers website

Dictionary of Welsh Biography

Following projects to convert data for the Welsh Biography into Wikidata the WiR was invited to join working group tasked with developing service. A new website is now being planned and initial specifications agreed, include links to related Wikipedia articles and the use of Wikidata to develop new features such as timelines, maps and increased search functionality.

Referral rate from Wikipedia to NLW websiteEdit

The potential increase in referrals from Wikipedia to the website of an institution participating in Wikipedia based activities has long been a carrot, dangled in front of would be collaborators, However, despite a significant percentage increase in referrals impact has been minimal, compared to Image views, for example and total referrals remain low.

En Wikipedia Referrals Wikimedia Commons Referrals
1 Apr 15 - 12 Dec 15 1044 27
1 Apr 16 - 12 Dec 16 1961 169
% Increase 87.84% 525.93%
Business Case for increased Open AccessEdit

Working with NLW to produce a business case for open access, by gathering evidence and analysing the impact of content releases, was one of the initial targets for the residency. The WiR worked closely with Dr Dafydd Tudur, head of Digital Access in order to produce the Business Case and the WiR presented it to the Library’s senior management team in March 2017.

The Business case argues that GLAMs rarely make a profit from withholding and monetizing digital collections, and that open access increases impact, collaboration, reuse and external funding opportunities. It recommends making all public domain work open access by default and increasing the quality of images shared in line with improving screen technology and consumer expectations.

The reaction amongst NLW management to the document has been mixed. Particular concerns have been raised about departments ability to meet income generation targets is the recommendations were implemented. What the document has done is bring the question of open access into the fore. A task force of senior management has now been set up in order to discuss the library’s response and issue recommendations to the head librarian, and the board of trustees. As discussions are ongoing, the Business case cannot yet be made public.

Welsh Government collaborationEdit

As discussed in section 3.1.5, discussions with the Welsh government lead to a 3 months project aimed at improving Welsh language content on the Wicipedia using a range of techniques. The interest of the Welsh language department of the Welsh Government in the Welsh Wikipedia stems from the fact that major online service providers like Google and Microsoft consider the size and use of Wikipedia in any given language when deciding how much resources to put into developing services in that language, this is also tied to commitments by the Government to develop Welsh language digital services and to engage children with the language in a digital context.

The Welsh Government is also committed to increasing the number of Welsh speaks from 630,000 to 1,000,000 by 2050[3] and this presents an opportunity to promote the Welsh Wicipedia as a platform for encouraging the use of the written language, and as the primary portal for Welsh speakers to find encyclopedic information in their native language.

Working with the Welsh Government has lead to close cooperation with other Welsh language institutions such as Menter Iaith and the National Eisteddfod. Several regional branches of Menter Iaith have expressed in interest in appointing a WiR or in receiving Wikipedia training and Menter Môn (Anglesey) have appointed a WiR, partly funded by the Welsh Government.

It is hoped that the Government's involvement and interest will grow in time, leading to opportunities for meaningful policy change in favour of open access across the culture and education sectors in Wales, and opportunities to embed the use of Wikimedia platforms into the education system at all levels.


The National Library of Wales has now received further funding from the Welsh Government in order to run a 9 month project to improve health and wellbeing related Welsh language articles, following the blueprint of the Wici-pop project. The project will be managed by the outgoing WiR until March 2018.

Strategic Goal 3Edit

To support the use of the Wikimedia projects as important tools for education and learning in the UK

This Strategic goal became applicable to the project in year 2 of the residency (from January 2016). The ultimate goal was to develop a blueprint for embedding Wikipedia into the national curriculum. Achieving this goal relied heavily on the acceptance of a Wikipedia based challenge into the Welsh Baccalaureate program.

However, other activities and collaborations were pursued with the aim of establishing a broad range of partnerships across the education spectrum.

Visiting Scholar SchemeEdit

The Wikipedia Visiting Scholar scheme was devised by the Wikipedia Library and implements, mainly, in U.S. Universities. The framework set up by the Wikipedia Library presented the WiR with an opportunity to embed both Wikimedia and higher education into the Library’s outreach program. Any prospective Visiting Scholars would be asked to create Wiki content of interest to the institution in return for free, remote, access to electronic resources, staff expertise and guidance from the WiR.

NLW agreed to offer the scheme, which was adapted to offer scholars the option of working with them as a ‘traditional’ Wikipedia Visiting Scholar or as a ‘Wikidata Visiting Scholar’. The Call for Wikipedia Visiting Scholars resulted in several interested parties and one official application, but the candidate has yet to engage with the agreed project.

We received one application for the position of Wikidata Visiting Scholar and the candidate was successfully appointed in April 2016. NLW remain the only institution in the world to invite a visiting scholar to develop their data into Wikidata.

The visiting scholar has created detailed Wikidata for several library collections, written related Wikipedia articles, researched additional information in order to enrich the data, produced visualisations and detailed analysis of the data.

The work produced by the visiting scholar has helped establish the NLW as a leading contributor to Wikidata in the GLAM sector and has cemented internal Library support for the use of Wikidata as a tool for releasing and reusing datasets.

Wikidata Visiting Scholar output

Wikidata Items created Wikidata Items improved
5,967 214,420

Primary and Secondary EducationEdit

A young editor taking part in the Rugby World Cup Edit-a-thon in Cardiff

2 edit-a-thons specifically aimed at children in Key Stage 2-3 were held in partnership with the Wales for Peace project. Children worked in groups to write sections of an article using a template and pre selected links to reliable information.

A ’Using Wikipedia responsibly’ workshop was run for Key Stage 5 pupils at Lampeter Secondary School. 40 students were surveyed on their use Wikipedia with school work. The results highlight the need to engage further with the education system in order to focus on improving quality of relevant content and to ensure that teachers and students understand how to use Wikipedia responsibly.

Never Occasionally Often
Use Wiki for homework 0% 50% 50%
Use Wiki for Coursework 15% 43% 43%
Welsh BaccalaureateEdit

In March 2016, with the support of the head of education at NLW a request was made to WJEC (The main Welsh examining body) to include a Wikipedia based challenge as part of the Welsh Baccalaureate. The challenge would involve choosing a topic for an Edit-a-thon, planning and hosting the event and teaching fellow students how to edit Wikipedia, incorporating a range of skills from event planning to digital literacy.

It took 12 months for WJEC to consider the proposal, at which point it was rejected. Limited feedback was given but it seems as though the nature of the proposal had been misunderstood, along with concerns about the factual accuracy of Wikipedia, and despite an appeal, no further response was given by WJEC.

Higher EducationEdit

A Pop Music Edit-a-thon with staff and students at Bangor University

Higher education as a whole holds great potential as a ready source of competent contributors to Wikimedia projects. During the course of the project many events were held in collaboration with Welsh Universities, Including Aberystwyth, Bangor Swansea and Cardiff.

Events held at/with Universities

Edit-a-thons Presentations/workshops Attendees
3 6 124

Professional Translation Studies at Aberystwyth UniversityEdit

The leader of this coarse agreed to trial an assignment using the Wikipedia translation tool to produce a 5000 word English to Welsh translation, incorporating previously untranslated terms. 1 student trialled the assignment during the 2016-17 term and discussions are underway to roll it out as an option for all students for the 2017-18 term.


Statement by The National Library of WalesEdit

The Wikipedian Residency at the National Library of Wales has surpassed expectation in both impact and influence, and has achieved astounding results since it began in January 2015.

Through Jason Evans’s excellent work, Wikimedia projects have greatly increased exposure of the Library’s collections and raised awareness of Wales and its people, resulting in 15,000 images from the Library’s collections being included in articles viewed over 250 million times.

The Residency has created opportunities for the Library to collaborate with numerous groups and organisations within Wales and beyond, and to engage with the public in activities such as edit-a-thons and the enriching of Wikidata relating to our public collections. The Library appointed the UK’s first Wikischolar, who later became the world’s very first Wikidata scholar. Library staff have worked side by side with its users to make use of our public collections to improve the quality and accessibility of knowledge about Wales and its people on the Web.

In recent months, this work also led to opportunities for the Library to deliver projects funded by the Welsh Government in support of the Welsh language Wicipedia, the development of which has been noted in its Cymraeg 2050 Welsh Language Strategy work programme for 2017-21.

Such is the importance of Wiki projects to Wales in our view that the collaboration with Wikimedia has been underpinned by our new strategic plan for 2017-21 The Nation’s Memory: Informing the Future, and Jason Evans’s role as Wikipedian has been made permanent, making it the first of its kind in the UK.

We were delighted to hear that The National Library of Wales was announced Wikimedia UK Partnership of the Year 2016-17, acknowledging the outstanding work of Jason Evans and crowning the achievements of what must be one of the most successful Residencies to date.

Dr Dafydd Tudur, Digital Access Manager, National Library of Wales

Reflections of the Wikimedian in ResidenceEdit

I began this residency with very limited editing experience and little awareness of Wikimedia projects beyond Wikipedia, however as a longstanding member of staff at NLW i knew the collections well. I knew all the staff and they all knew me. It seems reasonable to assume that being known to the staff helped establish a dialogue, and a little trust, more quickly than if an outsider had been installed to the role.

The project got off to a positive start, with several image donations and events within the first few months. As monthly image view statistics began feeding back to management it became clear that this metric would become the most important benchmark for success in the eyes of NLW management, and a steady growth month on month in this metric almost certainly played an crucial role in the library’s commitment to the project beyond the initial 1 year term.

Management allowed the project to grow organically and edit-a-thons, workshops and volunteer projects were soon recognised as a great way of engaging the public with NLW collections and of building new partnerships with other cultural and educational institutions. Therefore, more time was dedicated to hosting events and building a relationship with the NLW volunteer team.

It became clear that events required far fewer resources to organize when working in partnership with others, or when planning as part of a wider event or celebration. This also made it easier to attract editors to the event. So this became a format we tried to follow wherever possible.

Early in the residency the Library underwent a major restructuring of staff and at times this slowed down decision making processes, especial in terms of agreeing the details of content donations, but on the whole the Library has been very supportive of open access initiatives.

Perhaps the most unexpected, but welcome, outcome has been the interest of local media in the project, which has lead to excellent exposure for Wikimedia UK, the National Library and the project. In turn, this exposure has attracted new collaborators, partners and contributors. Therefore i think it is well worth donating the necessary time to recording and promoting all aspects of a residency like this, through blog posts and social media.

Unlike many previous residencies, this entire project has been run bilingually with the aim of increasing quality and quantity of knowledge in the Welsh language and about Wales through the English language. Operating the project, and producing all documentation bilingually has it’s own challenges but doing so has actually highlighted how flexibly and inclusive the Wiki platform is when contributing in multiple languages.

Wikimedia UK has been hugely supportive of the residency in a number of ways. Their ability to connect me with other WiRs and established members of the Wikimedia community has perhaps been their most valuable contribution, along with the knowledge and expertise of the team itself. By gaining access to this network of Wikimedians and WiRs i have learned invaluable skills and have been inspired to pursue new ideas and opportunities.

Finally, the importance of collecting, interpreting and visualizing metrics cannot be overstated. A project will never be successful if you cannot prove it! Thorough, easily comprehensible metrics have been crucial throughout the project in building trust, understanding and enthusiasm for activities and projects, and are the only reason the project was able to run as long as it did.


Every project has its challenges and a Wikimedia Residency is no different. Many of the challenges faced were familiar but others were likely unique to the environment in the Institution and also the geographical location of the Library.

Top five challengesEdit

  1. Trying to engage with established editing community in Wales
  2. Securing the time of busy technical staff to prepare data for upload
  3. Getting consensus on a suitable image quality for sharing to Commons
  4. Convincing stakeholders that open access in their best interest
  5. Teaching yourself how to mass upload to Wikidata

Lessons learnedEdit

The entire project was a learning curve, and many lessons were learned along the way. The nature of a Wikimedia residency often calls for a trial and error approach.

Top five Lessons learnedEdit

  1. Publicising and reporting on activities is as important as the activity itself.
  2. Everyone is a potential volunteer, you just need to pique their interest
  3. Edit-a-thons - think big but start small
  4. Meaningful policy change in a large institutions takes a very long time
  5. Follow every lead because only a fraction will be fruitful


Wikimedia UK workshop for Wikimedians in Residence at the Wellcome Trust, 2016.

Support for new Wikimedian in Residence projectsEdit

The direction of any residency depends entirely on the setting, and the appetite and agenda of the host institution. Therefore it will never be possible to have a standard ‘how to’, or blueprint for new residents to follow. However, a thematic regularly updated, portfolio of case studies by residents past and present would be a help to every new WiR.

Towards the end of the residency WMUK have responded to feedback and organised more regular WiR meetups and this has been a huge benefit, as everyone has been able to share experiences. A basic induction day with simple introductions to the main projects (Wikipedia, Wikidata, Commons, Wikisource ect…) would also have been extremely useful at the outset of the project.


Wikimedia has a range of user developed tools for recording metrics such as Baglama2 for images Views, and Glamorous for image use, but there are often other tools which do pretty much the same job, like GLAMorgan, which also gives image views, but calculates them slightly differently so that it returns a different figure to Baglama2. Also many of these tools are produced and maintained by one individual, making them vulnerable to failure. One recommendation would be to produce a list of favoured tools which should be used by all WiRs to ensure consistency.

Given that metrics are vitally important for GLAMs to measure the success of their WiR projects and the need for detailed metrics and case studies in order to advocate working with Wikimedia, and engaging with open access in general, there would also be a case for the Wikimedia Foundation to invest in a centrally managed metrics dashboard for GLAM-Wiki collaborators, with a range of metrics including Images views, link clicks to specified URL’s, event statistics ect.

All Wikimedians in Residence in the UK should be made aware of the statistics gathered on their projects by WMUK and this data should be shared openly with all stakeholders where appropriate, as it could help to inform the work of the WiR and can be used to promote or justify projects within a participating organisation.


Wikimedia UK have been very effective at identifying overlaps in WiR projects and connecting the relevant individuals, if this approach could also encompass more key volunteers, or volunteers with specialist skills, it would help WiRs build a stronger more beneficial relationship with the community and could help bridge skills gaps within organisations.

Open access advocacyEdit

The Europeana Licensing Framework[4] sets out minimum standards for image quality, license types and data standards when sharing with the Europeana Digital Library. Producing a similar guide for GLAM Wiki partners, based on the Europeana recommendations, could alleviate some internal debates regarding the quality of content shared to Wikimedia Commons, and thus help raise the standard and quantity of data being shared.

Legacy of the Wikimedia Residency at the National Library of WalesEdit

The impact of the residency on the National Library of Wales has been great, with hundreds of millions of images views and a busy events and volunteer program having the greatest effect on attitudes towards open access and to Wikimedia projects more specifically.

NLW strategic plan 2017-2021Edit

The impact of the residency on Library strategy and policy can be clearly seen in its new 5 year plan ‘The Nation’s Memory: Informing the Future’ covering 2017-2021. The Strategy puts Wikimedia at the heart of its digital outreach, stating:

Our successful partnership with Wikimedia UK which has led to over 200 million views of images from our collections will be further developed and we shall work with partners to extend the Welsh- language Wicipedia[5]

And the library’s targets for 2021 include:

Continue to work with Wikimedia UK to develop and embed digital engagement with our open content on Wikipedia and other third-party platforms to increase views of the Library’s content to 250 million by 2021 and actively contribute to the development of Welsh language content on Wicipedia[5]

This demonstrates the commitment of NLW to continue to work with WMUK and the Wikimedia community long term, and to continuing to share its digital content openly with Wikimedia projects. The library has also seen the opportunity to support the Welsh Government in promoting the use of the Welsh language through developing the Welsh Wicipedia and related Welsh language resources.

Open AccessEdit

The National Library of Wales already has robust open access policies, but the residency and its outcomes, culminating in the business case, has reignited the open access debate among senior management. This debate will hopefully lead to increased open access and a more structured and consisted approach to licensing and sharing of digital content under open access terms.

Permanent Wikimedian at the National LibraryEdit

The National Library of Wales has embedded the Wikimedian position into its digital access team, creating a full time, fully funded, permanent position within its staffing structure. The post holder will work in partnership with WMUK and others to co-ordinate Wikimedia based activities at NLW including sharing open content, running events and volunteer projects and advocating open access both within the organisation and more widely across the culture sector.

This is the first time that a national cultural institution has appointed a permanent Wikimedian within its organisation. Daria Cybulska reflected on this, saying: Credit must be given to the NLW for its forward thinking, outward looking, open approach and its commitment providing free access to knowledge.

Useful linksEdit


  1. ^ "Strategy monitoring plan". Wikimedia UK. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Wicipop Project Report". Wikipedia. Jason Evans. 19 June 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Welsh Government - Vision for one million Welsh speakers launched". Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Europeana Licensing Framework" (PDF). Europeana.
  5. ^ a b "The Nation's Memory: Informing the Future. Strategic Plan 2017-2021" (PDF). National Library of Wales. p. 17 + 24.