This page describes the annual plan for 2019 of Wikimedia Belgium (WMBE). This annual plan is a prerequisite 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 2019.
In 2011 we started working together, as a volunteer community, 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 third party projects that enrich the Wikimedia platforms by collaborating with institutions and other organisations (mainly 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 in place, and the tactical plan is still ongoing. Even while it is still in place, our strategy (etc) has already paid off and has been proven successful. This results in more and more knowledge institutions approaching us with a proposal to collaborate. 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 enforced 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 training, as well as a providing opportunities to participate, both locally as international in neighbouring countries and beyond. Diversity is important to us and we have dedicated a board member specifically to diversity and gender. In the past year over 40 people have been active in activities and projects in Belgium. Based on their indications what they want to do in 2019 this annual plan has been developed.
Belgium has a unique and rich European culture, which is underrepresented on Wikipedia. Belgium is known for the unique Flemish masters, Brussels is the capital of dance, Antwerp has one of the few diamond centers in the world known for jewellery, 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 neighbouring countries) and offer a unique opportunity for collaborations and to enrich the Wikimedia platforms with unique materials. Sadly Belgium is relatively less described on Wikipedia than neighbouring countries, a Belgiumgap.
Just like other chapters, Wikimedia Belgium has been founded not only 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 have to pay their travel costs or other project costs. Belgium is a relatively small country, together with a high population density, but travelling is not cheap, even while it takes by car less than 3 hours to travel from one side to the other side. Volunteers are on their best if they can do the work they like and best matches with their capacities, ensuring the quality of their work. Enthusiastic and motivated volunteers are a key to a successful project, having great outputs on the Wikimedia platforms.
Outline & strategy
In 2019 we would like to continue our stable growth from the past years, and continue to provide support to our local volunteers organising and participating in activities and projects. We also would like to continue our collaboration with partner organisations and knowledge institutions, to enrich Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and their sister projects. Also we like to continue in growing a network of open knowledge enthusiasts in Belgium.
In the past period (October 2017-October 2018) we organised 26 open edit-a-thons, 10 closed workshops, had three education collaborations, gave 35 presentations about Wikipedia/Wikimedia, organised/participated in 12 other open events, organised 2 wikimeets, had one general assembly, 3 board meetings, 49 organisational meetings with external partners or internal meetings as part of a project, published a newsletter in three languages, 21 other publications (press releases, announcements, official letters, reports), 30 people participated in 12 conferences or conference like events, organised 1 photo contest, had 4 photography sessions, and one double writing week. This resulted in (registered, among more output) in more than 70,000 content pages being created or improved.
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 within 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 free knowledge on 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 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:
- The available volunteers have not enough experience and skills. That is why we think it is important for our volunteers to follow training 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.
- In comparison with neighbouring 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 need to grow as an organisation, with more professionalism in budgeting, (legal) administration, (financial) reporting, planning, management, advising, public relations, and follow-up.
The annual programmatic plan for 2019 consists of four main programs. Each program is described, what the goals are, and what we hope to achieve as result.
Writing weeks program
The writing weeks program consist of a set of activities to organise two writing weeks in Belgium. In the past years we organised multiple writing weeks and like to continue to organise them in 2019 as well. For the coming year we have not yet defined on which topics they will be focused on.
- 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.
The goal of this program is to support editors in creating content about their region, as well as recruit and train new editors for the Belgian community. The goal of this program is to (1) organise two writing weeks (2) in at least two languages (3) to get Belgium better represented in Wikipedia, as our country is less described in comparison with similar areas in neighbouring 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 closely together with PACKED vzw (Centre of Expertise in Digital Heritage), FARO, Herita.
- Image & data donations: In 2016, Wiki Loves Art provided us a nice introduction to museums and heritage libraries. More and more institutions are interested in collaboration, while we only had about 15 cultural institutions we started with 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 free knowledge on Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, and Wikidata. We especially identify missing materials, but more important, try to continue the successful Wikidata project of 2015-2016 (link) and its successors. For a part the institutions will add media/data to Commons/Wikidata, another part will be done by the community. As our community is limited, we only take up projects where we have the voluntary capacity. Specific focus will be on the performing arts in Belgium. Performing arts have Brussels as the contemporary dance capital in the world, but on Wikipedia the availability of articles 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 15 to 20 edit-a-thons and workshops around Wikipedia & more (open and closed) in collaboration with various organisations in Belgium, just as we did in 2016, 2017 and 2018. We think it is important to reach out to the various organisations that are interested in learning about Wikipedia, providing free knowledge from their libraries and archives by volunteers or institute members that participate in a workshop. Only those edit-a-thons and workshops are done where we think they help to support the mission of the Wikimedia movement, as well as where we have the capacity available. At each session we have one or two volunteers available to give a presentation and to provide guidance to often new users writing articles. In principle the organisation who hosts the particular event can pay for the costs for the meeting room, meals, drinks, guided tours, etc. Wikimedia Belgium 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. With the larger growing movement of sharing knowledge online and sharing it open, as well as that in December 2017 a regional government of Belgium has set the default policy for the cultural sector to publish cultural content as open under a free license, we expect in the coming years a growth in both the sharing of images under a free license on Wikimedia Commons as well as sharing cultural data on Wikidata. By educating ambassadors we enable them largely to process the images and data themselves, have the collected knowledge on Wikimedia platforms more used and have activities organised to enrich the Wikimedia platforms (like edit-a-thons).
- Data import: Wikidata has become more and more important in the world, but especially in the cultural sector. Various institutions donated datasets of their collections for import in Wikidata and many more are preparing datasets for the import. The import of these datasets is combined with the adding of persistent identifiers to Wikidata to be able to uniquely identify the items. Besides the individual support provided for knowledge institutions with their specific situation in importing data, we also intent to organise Wikidata workshops to introduce the platform and how it works to a large audience from the cultural sector. In October 2018 we organised together with our partners a Wikidata workshop to introduce Wikidata to the cultural sector. The workshop was highly successful and was fully booked with a waiting list of more organisations being interested to join the workshop.
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 in getting knowledge in various forms on our platforms. We can only do our best to support them the best we can. As it takes much time before results are seen (due bureaucracy and time/money constraints at institutions), in 2019 we also expect output from projects that started in the past years, as well as that projects that starts in 2019 may result in output in 2020 or later. We hope in 2019 to have over 25 000 images uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, have over 25 000 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. In comparison to the 2018 plan, these numbers are lower. This is the result of more bureaucracy at the side of institutions than earlier expected, causing a higher uncertainty. Also the focus is more on uploading data and images related to the Belgiumgap.
|Uploaded images||25 000|
|Wikidata items||25 000|
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):
- 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.
- Various schools in Antwerp: Various educational institutions in Antwerp have shown interest in starting an Education course on Wikipedia. After an introduction about Wikipedia, how it works, what the rules are, and more, students draft their own articles in Wikipedia. During the process they get feedback on their work to get the most optimal results as output.
In the education program we help educational institutions to work with Wikipedia as part of classroom activities. We teach students how to edit Wikipedia, after some time we evaluate with them their written articles and this results in new Wikipedia articles and the improvement of existing articles. On top of that students learn how Wikipedia works (by doing), how knowledge gets on Wikipedia, and that they themselves can add knowledge to Wikipedia (during the classroom activities and beyond). With working with the students, we try to build a long-term structural collaboration with these institutions to enable more scientific knowledge to flow to Wikipedia.
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 Kortrijk the about 2x 15 students each write an article (30 articles), in Louvain-la-Neuve 30 to 200 articles can be newly written or improved, 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), and in Antwerp we expect at least 2x 15 students each write an article (30 articles).
|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 2019. 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. In 2018 we organised during the European Year of Cultural Heritage the photo contest Wiki Loves Heritage. This photo contest focussed on all kinds of heritage, including immovable heritage, movable heritage, immaterial heritage and maritime heritage.
Also in 2019 we want to organise a new photo contest to enable the photographers in our community to participate in an activity specially for them. The topic of the 2019 photo contest is chosen in 2019 through discussion with our partners and community.
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/or 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 (3) 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 participants||100|
Besides our four programs Wikimedia Belgium is also involved in other activities.
- Since October 2018 we organise the Wiki Club Brussels. The Wiki Club Brussels organises every two weeks a meeting in Brussels where a group of Wikipedia editors regularly meet, work together on Wikipedia articles (especially related to the GenderGap) and gives new editors an opportunity to ask questions and to get help. The activity is organised together with BeCentral and Open Knowledge Belgium and is mainly focussed on, but not limited to, women in the tech industry and beyond.
- Also in 2019 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.