Following on from Fae and myself meeting Robin Urquart of the National
Archives of Scotland, I'm looking for people who may be interested in
working on a WW-I related GLAM project.
The Archives have an extensive collection of letters that soldiers wrote
to be delivered to family members in the event they were killed. Due to
the accessibility requirements imposed on any body like the archives,
there is a need to transcribe such documents before they can make them
Each letter generally has associated personal effects, such as tickets
to the last theatre show someone saw before going to the front. So, they
make for a beautiful piece of very personal history. With WW-I having
"pals regiments" and the entire young male community from towns and
villages serving - and dying - together, these can readily be focussed
on small geographic areas. Perhaps even readily covering everyone listed
on specific war memorials.
I'm open to any and all ideas on how we could work with the National
Archives of Scotland on this; there's work for those who shun sunlight
in transcribing handwritten letters (to meet their accessibility
requirements), linking letters and effects to specific monuments, and
anything else people might can come up with.
To me, it doesn't seem unreasonable to aim to use Commons, Wikisource,
*and* Wikibooks. A QR code could be placed at a relevant war memorial,
it points to a Wikibook collecting all the soldiers' letters, with scans
and transcripts. If the relevant items in the National Archives are
properly referenced there should be nothing to stop a local venue such
as a church having an exhibition of the original letters and associated
items like tickets to the theatre the night before someone died. Doing
that in the 2014-2018 window is not going to be difficult.
Since I'm unemployed after Friday this week, I'd like to devote some
time to getting the ball rolling on this. But, I've a hunch this is
something that could be excellent for waking the wider public up to
projects other than Wikipedia, recruiting local history buffs as new
content contributors, and getting cultural institutions to 'think
outside the box' around working with us.
Feel free to throw in suggestions and comments!
Mobile Tel: +44 (0)788 987 8314 Email: brian.mcneil(a)wikinewsie.org | brian.mcneil(a)o2.co.uk
WikiMedia UK, interim Scottish coordinator/GLAM-MGS liaison.
Wikinews Accredited Reporter | "Facts don't cease to be facts, but news ceases to be news."
All content of this message is confidential, and intended for listed recipients only!
Some of you have been following the lengthy ongoing debate about the future
of fundraising in the Wikimedia movement. Mike Peel and I attended a
meeting the weekend before last in Paris, with representatives of the
Wikimedia Foundation and other chapters, where these issues were discussed
at some length.
Earlier this week, the Board received another email from Sue seeking
clarification on our position as a chapter. (Sue's letter is right at the
bottom of this email). The Board are going to talk about this in a phone
call on Saturday, but we wanted to share our current draft response and get
some input. The current draft is below (I have summarised Sue's questions).
Please feel free to respond on- or off-list.
(As this is a publically archived list I ought to stress these replies are
a personal discussion draft and have not been adopted as an official
position by Wikimedia UK).
*Do we still want to payment-process*
Yes we do. We think it adds value to the movement - most obviously through
Gift Aid, but we also think we can add value to the fundraiser in other
ways (e.g. by generating recurring rather than one-off income) and because
of the long-term value of the data in the fundraiser for both further
fundraising work and outreach. There is also a risk of confusion for some
donors who are used to giving to Wikimedia UK, or are already doing so on a
Furthermore, we don't see how taking an administrative decision to stop
raising money in a tax-deductible way can possibly be in donors' best
interests. (Chris has actually put up a very cautious cost-benefit analysis
on meta here:
we draw your attenttion to it)
*Are there other specific local requirements or incentives*
So far as we can tell, everything has been explored. The reasons why
Wikimedia UK participating is a good idea include the 25% extra from the
donations possible through Gift Aid, exploiting local knowledge of donors,
and the potential for us to make use of fundraiser data for other
fundraising and outreach work. We think these are strong reasons.
*Are there any other problems transferring money internationally*
Don't think so. We know we can send the Foundation what are, in legal
terms, discretionary grants restricted towards the charitable objectives
the Foundation and Wikimedia UK share. We already do this and can continue
to do this on the same basis.
*Increased visibility of our internal workings*
Since last August we've been engaged in a dialogue with you about these
issues. We expect that to continue. We're optimistic that the Chapters
Council, when up and running, will mean that many (though not all) of these
things stop being a burden on the Foundation and become a peer review
activity for Chapters. Furthermore, we think that it is just as important
for us to be transparent and accountable were we to be spending money which
we had received in the form of a grant, than if we were taking donors'
*What if the answer's still No*
We think there is now a fairly clear scenario which enables chapters to
payment-process without prejudicing the Foundation's fiduciary duties, and
without creating the idea that Chapters are dependent for their growth on
payment-processing. There are many benefits to this scenario and few
drawbacks. We would be disappointed if the Foundation did not choose this
On 23 February 2012 20:52, Sue Gardner <sgardner(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Hi Roger,
> I'm so sorry I didn't see you at the Paris meeting, but I'm sure
> you've heard from Chris and Mike --- it was very good. I am really
> grateful to Christophe -- he did a great job of setting a
> constructive, positive tone: it was fabulous :-)
> The meeting gave everybody there a chance to discuss where we're at,
> share our current thinking, and kick around possible paths going
> forward. As you know, we've been talking about these issues for many
> months: it was good to have some F2F time together on them. You
> probably also know that on March 9, I’m expected to deliver to the
> Wikimedia Foundation Board a set of recommendations, one of which will
> cover who should process donations that come in via the project sites.
> The purpose of this note is for me to gain further clarity about the
> UK chapter’s current position on payment processing. I think I have a
> sense of where you're at, but I'm not 100% positive. So the purpose of
> this note is to get clarity where I'm not sure, particularly in light
> of the letter the Board published a few weeks ago.
> First, some background. I want to be careful not to aim to speak on
> behalf of the WMF Board of Trustees: at this point, it hasn’t decided
> anything beyond what it's already published, and I do not yet know
> what it will ultimately decide. Having said that, the Board did say
> earlier this month that it is "sharpening" the criteria for payment
> processing. That payment-processing is not a natural path to growth
> for a chapter, and that in future, most chapters won’t
> payment-process. It also said that if and when chapters
> payment-process, it would be done primarily for reasons of tax,
> operational efficiency, only where payment-processing is not in
> conflict with funds dissemination principles and goals, and that
> payment-processing should avoid a perception of "entitlement." There
> was some initial confusion about what “entitlement” means, and in
> Paris the Board members clarified that it means payment-processing
> chapters would not be entitled to keep funds they process: funds for
> payment-processing chapters would go through the same dissemination
> process as funds to non-payment-processing chapters.
> In light of all this, and as I start drafting my final recommendations
> to the Board, there are a few questions I’d like to ask you. I'm
> cognizant that responding might seem burdensome for you -- you likely
> don't have a Board meeting scheduled in the next few weeks, and I
> expect you may not have super-easy, quick-turnaround access to legal
> counsel. So please rest assured that my goal here isn't to burden you.
> Some of these questions may be easy to answer -- if so, great! To the
> extent that they are hard to answer, I'd be happy if you could give me
> a provisional or partial answer. Please don't feel like you need to
> drop everything to give me definitive responses, and please know that
> any and all information will be helpful, even if it's incomplete :-)
> Here are my questions:
> * Assuming all of the above holds true (specifically, that the chapter
> has no entitlement to retain or to control dissemination of the funds
> it processes), does the UK chapter still aspire to payment-process in
> 2012 and beyond? If you would still prefer to payment process, I’d
> appreciate if you could share with me your thinking about why.
> Basically -- how do you feel payment-processing would benefit your
> chapter, and/or the Wikimedia movement overall?
> * Are there specific local requirements or incentives (beyond Gift
> Aid, which I know about) that you're aware of that might make it more
> difficult or costly for the Wikimedia Foundation to payment process
> donations from the UK, relative to the UK chapter doing it?
> * I think the UK chapter and the Wikimedia Foundation have a pretty
> good understanding of the restrictions you would face, if you did
> payment-process, in transferring money to the Wikimedia Foundation. (I
> mean, restrictions capping the amount or percentage you can transfer,
> or restrictions on how that money can be used.) But I’d like to ask
> you: in addition to what we’ve discussed in the past, is there
> anything new that the Wikimedia Foundation should be aware of? We are
> now (for the first time) talking about payment-processing chapters not
> having an entitlement to the money raised out of their geography, so
> what I’m mainly asking about is that. Assuming you weren’t entitled to
> retain money, or control its distribution internationally -- does that
> create any new problems or impediments for your chapter in freely
> moving money out of the UK?
> * If you were to payment-process in 2012 and beyond, the Wikimedia
> Foundation Board of Trustees might want to have increased visibility
> into your chapter’s internal workings, to make sure it’s able to
> confidently uphold its fiduciary responsibilities. Just as
> illustrative examples -- this might include an assessment or
> independent audit of your chapter’s legal and financial practices and
> policies, site visits to your chapter’s offices, and/or the Wikimedia
> Foundation requesting a seat on your Audit committee or on your Board
> of Trustees. In general, can you provide your perspective on
> requirements such as those? I remember that in the UK the idea of
> reserved Board seats for this kind of thing seems less culturally
> acceptable than in the United States: is that true? Are there other
> legal or cultural impediments to the kinds of possibilities I've
> raised, and if so, are there alternatives that might be better or more
> appropriate? (Please bear in mind I’m not necessarily saying that the
> Wikimedia Foundation would propose any of these: at this point I don’t
> know. Before the Board considers the options, I’d like to get your
> general thinking.)
> * If your chapter were not going to payment-process in 2012 and
> beyond, either because the Wikimedia Foundation disallowed it, or
> because you chose not to, what would the reaction of your chapter be?
> ("Your chapter" could mean you, the Board as a whole, or chapter
> members.) Would the UK chapter want to be allowed to payment process
> in 2012, even if you couldn’t payment-process in years after that? (If
> so, why?) What problems might stopping payment-processing cause for
> your chapter, and are there ways the Wikimedia Foundation could help
> resolve them? What kinds of issues would we need to resolve in a
> transition period? Fast answers are okay here: I am really aiming to
> make sure I don't miss anything important.
> Just so you know: I am also sending similar questions to the German,
> French and Swiss chapters. If you want to coordinate your responses
> with those chapter heads, that's fine with me. I'm sending this mail
> to you individually because I'm primarily interested in the position
> of the UK chapter and the other chapters that have recently
> payment-processed, not in the general thoughts of observers on our
> mailing lists. I feel like there's been lots of opportunity for people
> to express general opinions. That said, I am totally fine with you
> forwarding this mail to anyone you like, and/or discussing this on
> lists such as the chapters list or internal-l. I don't consider it
> confidential, and I am fine with you freely sharing it with anyone you
> Like I said earlier in this note, my final recommendations are due to
> the Board on March 9. So I would very much appreciate a reply --even a
> partial one-- by March 2, if that's possible for you. I'm CCing Barry
> because I'll be travelling next week, and I want to make sure we have
> an open line for easy communication, especially if anything in this
> mail seems unclear or confusing.
I'm doing a comedy-science talk on Wikipedia with the theme of 'histories' at a [[Bright Club]] Manchester early next month. My current plan (which is still subject to change) is that I'll talk about the histories of Wikipedia articles, and show some interesting/amusing changes made to articles.
An example would be this one:
which was a change purported to be made by the FBI back in 2005:
If you know of any interesting diffs/article histories that could make people laugh, then please could you send me some pointers to them (preferably offlist)?
In case anyone on this list isn't aware of it, we have a very large
categorisation backlog on Commons. The Geograph load of UK images alone
includes hundreds of thousands of uncategorised images, and as many only
categorised by bot.
However there are some recently improved tools out there that people may
not be aware of, so I thought I'd email the United Kingdom and Commons
lists to make sure everyone knew about the changes. The UK mailing list is
relevant because we have a very large part of the Common categorisation
backlog, and it has come up as a problem for our Wiki loves monuments plan.
There have been two major enhancements to Catalot in the last few weeks.
It now has an autoprompt/complete feature similar to Hotcat to make it much
easier to add categories, and crucially for our Geograph backlog, it is now
possible to use Cata a lot on uncategorised Geograph images such as in the
you have to copy rather than move as you are replacing a template with
a category rather than moving from one category to another).
The other big change is that Rillke has written some code to change the way
that Hotcat works, so that if you open an a Geograph image that needs its
categories checked you can confirm the categories eiter with one click or
by using Hotcat to ad or remove a category. Previously Hotcat would remove
the Geograph uncategorised template but not the partially categorised
template, so if bots had added some categories you couldn't remove the
cats need review template other than by editing. The Rillke's js code can
be accessed by installing importScript('User:Rillke/checkCat.js');
I've been using it, it works well and is many times quicker than confirming
categories manually. If everyone who is active on Commons installs it I
think we'll see the backlog reduce quite noticeably.
Any interest for Wikimedians?
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Butler, Pamela<Pamela.Butler(a)camden.gov.uk>
Date: 23 February 2012 15:23
Subject: disposal of classical vinyl records
We have a very large collection of Beethoven vinyl records (part of our
special collection) which we wish to dispose of.****
I have tried specialist libraries (including the Sound Archive), music
shops, colleges, classical societies and collectors without success.****
We are now considering recycling services but I welcome any ideas to
further their use.****
Pamela Butler ****
Senior Officer, Learning and reading
Culture and Sport
Culture and environment
**London** Borough of ****Camden****
Telephone: 020 7974 8693
Web: camden.gov.uk<http://www.camden.gov.uk/> ****
****Camden** ** Town Hall****, ****Argyle Street****
****London**** WC1H 8NN
Please consider the environment before printing this email.****
----- End forwarded message -----
Anyone in or near Preston?
@EuropeanaEU just tweeted:
Calling all journalists. Want to hear about our WW1 Family History
Roadshows? Conf: March 1 10.30am Museum of Lancashire
At the board meeting this weekend, we are planning to adopt a number of
policies that will give us a good basis for future operation of the chapter
now we are professionalising and growing. These include:
Staff Policies - http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/Staff_Policies
Volunteer Policy - http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/Volunteer_Policy
Trustee Code of Conduct -
We would welcome any comments or suggestions through editing the policies
directly or commenting on the talk pages.
Treasurer, Wikimedia UK
07403 216 991
Wikimedia UK is the operating name of Wiki UK Limited, a Charitable Company
registered in England and Wales,
Registered Company No.: 6741827. Registered Charity No.:1144513
Registered Office: 4th Floor, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street,
London EC2A 4LT.
Telephone: (+44) (0)207 065 0990.
Wikimedia UK is the local chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation (who operate
Wikipedia, amongst other projects). It is an independent non-profit
organization with no legal control over Wikipedia nor responsibility for