This page describes the annual plan for 2018 of Wikimedia Belgium (WMBE). This annual plan is a prequisite to plan and budget our activities for the coming year. It is also required for our grant application at the Wikimedia Foundation, for good governance and to set a clear perspective for 2018.
In 2011 we began working together with organising projects and in 2014 we founded Wikimedia Belgium with the goal to support the local volunteers in Belgium for Wikipedia and the other sister projects, and to support projects that enrich the Wikimedia platforms by collaborating with institutions and other organisations (GLAM and education).
In 2014 we started to develop a strategy together with our partners to get a foot in the door of knowledge institutions and to build a long term collaboration with them. We started with this strategy as we learned that the bureaucracy was huge and they were unknown with the idea of working together with Wikipedia/Wikimedia. The tactical plan based on this strategy contained a road path of actions, including the publication of brochures on collaboration with Wikipedia (link), an invitation with a Call for Action explaining the basics, a photo contest where knowledge institutions easily could join in, a seminar about collaboration with Wikimedia (link), and more. The photo contest itself finished in December 2016, but the strategy is still alive, and the tactical plan is still running. Even while it is still ongoing, our strategy (etc) has already paid off and has been proven successful. This results in more and more knowledge institutions coming to us with the question of collaboration. We are ready to support them.
Wikimedia Belgium has also been founded to support the local volunteers in Belgium. These volunteers are the driving force of our association and they should be enabled and supported in their roles to make our chapter a success. As an association we have as goal to grow our volunteer base, but also to keep them motivated. Therefore it is important to offer them trainings when requested as well as a providing opportunities to participate, both locally as international in neighboring countries and beyond. Diversity is important to us and we have dedicated a board member specifically to diversity and gender. In 2017 over 30 people have been active with organising activities. Based on their indications what they want to do in 2018 this annual plan has been written.
Belgium has a rich culture often unique in Europe, which is largely missing on Wikipedia. Belgium is known for the unique Flemish masters, Brussels is the capital of dance, Antwerp is one of the few diamond centers in the world known for the jewelry, Belgium is known for the Belgian art nouveau, Belgium is also known for its comics, Bruges is known for its city that is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO, Belgium is also known for its specific culinary richness, and this list goes on and on. All of these and more aspects of the Belgian culture are typical to Belgium (and not to the neighboring countries for example) and offer a unique opportunity for collaborations and to enrich the Wikimedia platforms with unique materials and knowledge. Sadly Belgium is on Wikipedia relatively less described than neighboring countries, a Belgiumgap.
Just like other chapters, WMBE has been founded not to support those who speak the local language, but to support the local volunteers. It is important to keep the local volunteers motivated, which means that volunteers who already spend time and energy in organising activities that benefit the Wikimedia platforms, should not also have to pay their travel costs nor other project costs. Belgium is a relatively small country, together with a high population density, but traveling is not cheap, even while it takes by car only 2 hours and 15 minutes to travel from one side to the other side. Volunteers are on their best if they can do the work they like the most and matches the best with their capacities, to ensure the quality of the work. Enthusiastic and motivated volunteers are the key for a successful project with great outputs on the Wikimedia platforms.
Outline & strategy
In 2018 we would like to continue our stable growth from the past years, and continue to provide support to our local volunteers in their organisation and participation of activities and projects. We also would like to continue to collaborate with partner organisations and knowledge institutions, to enrich Wikipedia, Commons and their sister projects with more knowledge. Also we like to continue in growing a network of open knowledge enthusiasts in Belgium. Further we would like to find a solution for our main resource-bottleneck, that makes further growth otherwise very difficult.
In the past period (July 2016-June 2017) we organised 18 open edit-a-thons, 9 closed workshops, had 2 education collaborations, gave 49 presentations about Wikipedia/Wikimedia, organised/participated in 13 other open events, organised 11 wikimeets, had 2 general assemblies, 2 board meetings, 102 organisational meetings with external partners or internal meetings as part of a project, published 2 newsletters in three languages, 29 other publications (press releases, announcements, official letters, reports), 1 volunteer followed a training, 25 people participated in 16 conferences or conference like events, organised 3 photo contests, had 22 photography sessions, and one double writing week. This resulted in (registered, among more output) implementation of Freedom of Panorama (FOP) in Belgium, 1737 previously deleted files restored on Commons thanks to FOP, in 3000+ new files, 128+ new articles in multiple languages and 44+ largely improved articles (photo contests + Brussels writing weeks). Another outcome is the addition to Wikidata of the metadata of almost the entire collection of one museum in Brussels. Other projects and activities also had output, but those output is not (yet) registered.
A lot of organisational meetings with partners have not yet resulted in output, due to the time partner organisations need to process and implement the collaboration with Wikipedia/Wikimedia in their own organisation. For the coming year we have a series of activities with partner organisations in the pipeline and we conclude that the personal attention we give to partner organisations by meeting them face-to-face works. Seeing the first results popping up, together with the enthusiasm of both the local volunteers and our partner organisations, we like to continue in this direction, as we think this is the right way to fulfill our goal to spread more knowledge about Wikipedia and its sister projects.
Our partners provide a large support for our projects and activities and sponsor much of the involved costs. Besides the material/financial support they also help us with their expertise in the fields we are active and with the contacts they have with the organisations we work with. Thanks to our partners we expect a sustainable growth in projects and output for the Wikimedia platforms.
Even while we make good progress, we have some difficulties we need to address.
- We have relatively a limited number of volunteers active in our region, even while there are already dozens of volunteers active on the organisational side. This limited number is caused by being a young organisation, but also as the wiki environment is not as transparent as it comes to who we should reach to (because being interested) with our communication. We think the best way we can reach out is by organising a wide range of activities where we also communicate about Wikipedia/Wikimedia.
- The available volunteers have not enough experiences and skills. That is why we think it is important for our volunteers to follow trainings and participate at conferences, to learn how to better organise projects, create better metrics, and learn from other volunteers and best practices presented. Also we think this would inspire to provide better documentation and organisation of metrics.
- As Belgium is a multilingual country, we having legal requirements and the (non optional) social convention to speak the particular local language, as local people expect to be communicated with in their own language. We need to communicate in at least four languages with decent quality, and this causes a too heavy drain on the available (time of our) volunteers. In the past periods we have tried to solve this by expanding our volunteer base and to find a larger group of volunteers that are able to provide translations of sufficient quality. Our volunteer base has grown, but the expectation to find enough volunteers that are willing to produce translations every month failed. Too often complaints about bad translations have reached us. Not being able to provide proper translations is a large risk for our organisation and for our activities. After having tried to find other ways to solve this issue, we see no other possibility to grow as an organisation to get this done alternatively. We think the only way to solve this in a sustainable way is by having a parttime freelance communication and outreach specialist.
- This support in staff to our chapter will also help us with important communication towards our partners in various languages. In 2016 we got the opportunity that one of our partners provided us temporarily with a project manager who could communicate in the various languages spoken in Belgium. Largely thanks to that person, we managed to provide the necessary support towards our partners and are very successful in the organised activities. So our solution is that we have someone paid to provide translations and support in our multilingual communication.
- In comparison with neighboring countries, relatively less knowledge and image material about/from Belgium is available on Wikipedia and Commons. By organising the Brussels writing weeks and the organisation of Wiki Loves Art, we managed to close the "Belgiumgap" a bit. Thanks to the success of those projects, we like to grow further with related projects. We think that by organising at least two times a double writing week in 2018, together with multiple partnerships with various organisations, we get more attention for the Belgian subjects, get more articles in Wikipedia, and get more media in Wikimedia Commons.
- We require more press contacts, and with radio and TV.
The annual programmatic plan for 2018 consists out of four main programs. For each program is described what it contains, what our goals and what we hope to achieve as output.
Writing weeks program
The writing weeks program consists out of a set of activities to organise two writing weeks in Belgium.
- Brussels writing weeks: In 2016 and 2017 we supported the initiative of a local user and organised together the Brussels writing weeks (2016 & 2017 info). The project is in its core online, but we notice at the same time that new users find it difficult to start on their own, from home, and we have found the local libraries willing to collaborate with Wikipedia. They are interested in growing their role of supporting local Wikipedia editors with their first steps. Together with local libraries, experienced volunteers from Wikipedia formed on-site contact points where questions could be raised by new editors. Also there was space to work on articles under guidance. Our project was in 2016 and 2017 supported by the Flemish Community Commission (VGC). They provided us with access to their network of libraries, as well as organisational support in communication towards both the participating libraries and the rest of Brussels. We started the project first with introduction sessions for library staff in Brussels.
- Brabant writing weeks: Noticing the success of the Brussels writing weeks, the province of Flemish Brabant wants to also organise writing weeks for their province in Autumn 2017. In 2017 we might only focus on one province, in 2018 we like to focus as well on the French speaking Walloon Brabant as well, which formed until 1995 one province with Flemish Brabant. We start with multiple sessions for library staff to introduce Wikipedia/Wikimedia, how to edit, and more. We also provide them with Wikipedia editing cheatsheets and info materials.
The goal of this program is to support editors in creating content about their region, as well as recruit and train new editors for Belgian community. The goal of this program is to (1) organise two writing weeks (2) in at least two languages, all together (3) to get Brussels and Brabant better represented on Wikipedia, as these areas are worse described in comparison with similar areas in neighboring countries. We hope to have with each of the writing weeks over 300 new articles, 50+ articles improved and over 100 participating editors.
The GLAM program consists out of a set of activities and projects, all organised together with cultural institutions (GLAMs). In this program we work intensively together with PACKED vzw, the Centre of Expertise in Digital Heritage.
- Image & data donations: Wiki Loves Art provided us a nice introduction in museums and heritage libraries. Already starting in 2016, more and more institutions are interested in collaboration, while we had about 15 cultural institutions we started with in Wiki Loves Art in 2016. The focus is on organising edit-a-thons and workshops to get more articles written in Wikipedia, on releasing images for Wikimedia Commons, on releasing data for Wikidata, and more. Meeting with the institutions creates a personal connection, gains trust, and prepares for the practical parts of the collaboration with Wikipedia/Wikimedia. With each partner organisation we always keep in mind what material is useful for the work of our community and for the growth in knowledge on Wikipedia, Commons, and Wikidata. We especially look for holes in the available materials, but more important, try to continue on the successful Wikidata project of 2015-2016 (link). For a part the institution will add the media/data to Commons/Wikidata, another part will be done by our community. As our community is limited, we only take up projects we have the voluntary capacity for. Specific focus will be for the performing arts in Belgium. Performing arts have Brussels said as being the contemporary dance capital in the world, but in Wikipedia the knowledge documentation is extremely limited. There are multiple projects ongoing to enrich Wikipedia/Wikimedia with more material from this scene.
- Edit-a-thons: During the year we expect to give about 5 to 20 edit-a-thons and workshops around Wikipedia & more (open and closed) in collaboration with various institutions in Belgium, just as we did in 2016 and 2017. We think it is important to reach out to the various organisations that are interested in learning more about Wikipedia, providing knowledge from their libraries and archives for the volunteers or institute members that participate in a workshop. Only those edit-a-thons and workshops are done of what we think they help to support the mission of the Wikimedia movement, as well as what we have the capacity for to do them. At each session we have one or two volunteers available to give the presentation and to provide guidance to the often new users writing articles. In principle we have the organisation who hosts the particular event pay for the costs for the used space, meals, drinks, guided tours, etc. WMBE will supply cheatsheets and info materials.
- GLAM ambassadors: In the GLAM and arts sector, we want to educate ambassadors in the local knowledge institutions in how to use Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata to share materials with (data and media files), and have them serve as liaison for the museum towards Wikimedia. They then can themselves upload images to Commons and upload data to Wikidata.
The goal of this program is to (1) support cultural institutions to collaborate with Wikipedia/Wikimedia to build trust, to create awareness about free knowledge, and to grow partnerships, all in the end to enrich Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia platforms with more materials, as well as to (2) have them share their knowledge in images, data and articles on the Wikimedia platforms, (3) having training sessions and workshops to inform them about how Wikipedia/Commons/Wikidata works, and (4) have them organise edit-a-thons to have more articles written about Belgian subjects. An important part of this is that besides starting new partnerships, we want to continue the (long-term) collaborations/partnerships we have grown over the past years, as these institutions need their time (bureaucracy) to release more materials for the Wikimedia platforms. We have limited influence on how many institutions collaborate with us, as well as on how many activities are organised, as well as that quality counts. We can only do our best to support them the best we can. We can however give an indication what we did in the past period. In January-June 2017 we had 14 open edit-a-thons, 7 closed workshops, 47 organisational meetings and were in contact with and/or collaborated with about 30 cultural institutions. As it takes much time before results are seen (due bureaucracy and time/money constraints at institutions), in 2018 we also expect output from projects that started in the past years, as well as that projects that starts in 2018 may result in output in 2019 or later. We hope in 2018 to have over 100 000 images uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, have over 100 000 items on Wikidata created or expanded about artworks, other museum pieces and more, and over 200 articles newly written or improved (especially) during workshops and edit-a-thons.
|Uploaded images||100 000|
|Wikidata items||100 000|
The Education program consists of a set of activities and projects executed in collaboration with educational institutions in Belgium and Luxembourg. This includes (but is not only limited to):
- Luxembourg: A class of students write in Autumn 2018 a Wikipedia article in the French, English, German, Dutch or Luxembourg language Wikipedia under the guidance/review of a teacher from the University of Luxembourg and some volunteers from the community, communicated with them on wiki and personally. An introduction in Wikipedia/Wikimedia is given in September and they need to finish their assignment in December. When they have finished their article, they are judged on their work on the article and get a mark by the teacher. Up to 3 meetups can take place. Further we provide basic info materials to enable the students to start better prepared.
- Kortrijk: Two classes of students write in a year time a Wikipedia article in the Dutch language Wikipedia under the guidance/review of a teacher from the local college (Vives), supported by volunteers from the community. The students get a degree for the work they have completed, based on the input and dedication they show. Up to 4 meetups can take place. Further we provide basic info materials to enable the students to start better prepared.
- Louvain-la-Neuve: A team from the university wants to organise a university-wide writing activity and/or contest on Wikipedia around science. The goal is to get sciences better covered on Wikipedia in all the various fields the university has faculties in.
- Ternat: As part of secondary education, classes learn about how to write neutral and how to critical research sources, do research to local heritage sites, take photos of them and write Wikipedia articles about local heritage. In this program we work together with our partner, the library of Ternat, and schools in the area. The project involves 10 classes with the total of about 250 students.
The goal of this program is to (1) support (at least two) educational institutions to collaborate with Wikipedia/Wikimedia and (2) to let students have a real-world impact instead of throwaway assignments. Besides the output created, we think it is important to create awareness about open access and open science and to build a long-term collaboration to stimulate a flow of scientific knowledge and materials flowing to Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia platforms. We hope to have in Luxembourg the about 15 students each write an article (15 articles), as well to have in Kortrijk the 2x about 15 students each write an article (30 articles), in Louvain-la-Neuve 50 to 200 articles can be newly written or improved, and in Ternat each of the students can write an article and take one or more photos of the subject (250 articles + 250 to 500 photos).
|Number of regions||4|
|Number of students||250|
|New or supplemented articles||250|
Wiki Loves program
The Wiki Loves program is a photo contest that is to be organised in the Summer month(s) of 2018. The volunteers from Wikimedia Belgium organise since 2011 various photo contests, at average one a year. It started in 2011 with the organisation of Wiki Loves Monuments, a photo contest to have the public take photos of cultural heritage monuments for the use in Wikipedia and beyond. Also in the years 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016 we organised this photo contest about monuments. In 2015 we skipped a year to be able to organise in 2016 the photo contest called Wiki Loves Art (info). In this photo contest we asked the public to come to the 13 participating museums and heritage libraries and to take photos of the art heritage for Wikipedia/etc. Thanks to our efforts, in the Summer of 2016 Freedom of Panorama was introduced in Belgium, meaning that people can now also take photos of modern buildings and artworks in the public environment and upload them for use in Wikipedia (etc), while this was legally not allowed before that time. To celebrate this change in the Belgian law, we organised in 2017 the photo contest Wiki Loves Public Space (contest page). In this contest we asked the public to take photos of buildings, artworks, monuments, memorials and other subjects visible from the public space.
Also in 2018 we want to organise a new photo contest to enable the photographers in our community to participate in an activity specially for them.
The goal of this program is (1) to encourage and facilitate the capturing and uploading of photographs to have in this way a better coverage of heritage monuments, memorials remarkable buildings and artworks in the public space in Wikipedia/etc, (2) to ensure continuity in our activities towards our photographing community and stimulate them to upload their photos, and (5) further develop our relationship with the different collaborating organisations. We hope to have, similar to our past photo contests, over 100 participants, that upload more than 2000 photos, with in the end 10%+ used in Wikipedia articles and Wikidata.
|Number of competitions||4|
|Number of participants||100|
Besides our four programs Wikimedia Belgium is also involved in other activities.
- Since 25 April 2017 we host together with Open Knowledge Belgium the project Civic Lab Brussels. Civic Lab Brussels are biweekly meetings open to anyone working on or interested in open activities and projects. People present there their projects and can start collaborations in this open space. The project space of this project is sponsored, travel costs are limited by combining it with other meetings and activities.
- Also in 2018 the annual conference Open Belgium is organised by Open Knowledge Belgium and supported by Wikimedia Belgium. The conference is about open knowledge, open data and more, and is closely aligned with the ideas of Wikimedia. The costs of the conference are fully covered by external sources.