The annual plan for 2020 of Wikimedia Belgium (WMBE) is a prerequisite to plan and budget our activities for the coming year. It is also a prerequisite for our grant application at the Wikimedia Foundation, for good governance, and to set a clear perspective of our strategy for 2020.
In 2011 a volunteer community started to work together, by organising activities and small projects. 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, education, and heritage).
As of 2014 we developed a common strategy with our partners to build a long-term collaboration with knowledge institutions. We experienced that the bureaucracy was huge and institutions did not know how to collaborate with Wikimedia. The tactical plan based on this strategy included the publication of brochures on how to collaborate with Wikipedia, a brochure explaining the basics, a photo contest where knowledge institutions could easily participate, a seminar about collaborating with Wikimedia. This strategy has proven to be successful. Multiple knowledge institutions are approaching us with a request to collaborate. We are ready to support them.
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 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; this list being only partial. All of these and more aspects of the Belgian culture are typical to Belgium, and not related to the neighbouring countries. They offer a unique opportunity for collaborations and to enrich the Wikimedia platforms with unique materials. Sadly Belgium is relatively less described on Wikipedia than the neighbouring countries, a Belgium gap.
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 to organise 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 when they can do the work they like, matching 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 2020 we want to continue our stable growth from the past years, and continue to support to our local volunteers to organise and participate to activities and projects. We would like to continue our collaboration with partner organisations and knowledge institutions, to enrich Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata and related projects. Also we like to continue to grow a network of open knowledge enthusiasts in Belgium.
A lot of meetings with partners have not yet resulted in output, due to the time partner organisations need to evaluate and implement the collaboration with Wikipedia/Wikimedia within their own organisation.We plan a series of activities with partner organisations and we conclude that the personal attention we give to partner organisations by meeting them face-to-face works. Seeing the first results, together with the enthusiasm of both the local volunteers and our partner organisations, we want to continue in this direction, because 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 to our projects and activities and sponsor part of the expenses. Besides the material/financial support they also assist 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.
- Promoting free knowledge. Contributing to Wikimedia projects by releasing or sharing knowledge. In collaboration with knowledge institutions and the editorial community, we ensure that the Wikimedia projects release the knowledge in the broadest and most diverse way possible. We want to work closely with other organisations and, in doing so, we also want to respond to what motivates them to disseminate knowledge and culture through our projects. In particular, we want to focus on areas of knowledge that are still under-represented.
- Relationship with the readers. Our vision is free access to all knowledge for everyone. Until now, our attention has mainly focused on the supply side: more and better content. But there is also a demand side: what do the Wikipedia readers need? Do the projects meet their demand? In the coming years, we want to invest in gaining more insight into the wishes and experiences of Wikipedia readers. Stimulating opportunities for direct communication with, or feedback from, readers. We take into account the experts among our readers: we want to gain insight into how professionals assess the information offered in their field of expertise. We want to use reader experience for the development of projects and the selection of partners.
- Supporting the editors. Optimal support for editors remains a priority. We want to help ensure that the Wikimedia projects are a pleasant working environment with low barriers and good manners. The association will continue its efforts to provide the volunteers with logistics and financial support. We are also working with the community to improve weaknesses by offering training, facilitate discussions and actively recruiting new editors.
- Refreshing the content. We need additonnal forms of knowledge representation such as the use of infographics, video, sound, animations, etc. Wikimedia Belgium will support editors and partners to achieve this. This may also include to facilitate the development of alternative forms of knowledge representation. In addition, we want to promote the use of data in which we mainly contribute to Wikidata or stimulate applications and analyses.
- Diversity, both in content and people.
In contrast with neighbouring countries, we have 3 official languages and English (for international communication). This results in fewer volunteers that are available to write about Belgian subjects in each of the Wikipedia languages. We are biased, and often overruled by the other country language users. As a result relatively less knowledge and image material about/from Belgium is available on Wikipedia and Commons. By organising Wiki Loves Heritage, we managed to reduce the "Belgium gap". We believe by organising Wikithons, via partnerships with various organisations, we get more attention for the Belgian subjects, get more articles in Wikipedia, and get more media to Wikimedia Commons.
Even while we make good progress, we encounter some difficulties we need to address:
- We need to grow as an organisation, with more professionalism in budgeting, (legal) administration, (financial) reporting, planning, management, advising, public relations, and follow-up.
- We need to attract motivated board members, project managers, and Wikimedia trainers.
- The available volunteers do not have enough experience and skills. 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. It should also result in better documentation.
- We do not have employees yet, so we (have to) put a high pressure on volunteers.
- (cultural) Budgets and employees are being reduced at all levels of government, which has an impact on our collaboration with institutions.
The annual programmatic plan for 2020 consists of four main programs. For each program it is described, what the goals are, and what we believe to achieve as results.
The 4 programs share common goals:
- Have more quality material contributed to Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata
- Have more volunteers trained in the use of the above applications
- Learn them how to combine those applications
- Learn people how to benefit from Wikimedia platforms
The Volunteer program is a set of activities for volunteers in Belgium. Wikimedia Belgium has been founded to support the local volunteers in Belgium. We want to support local Wikipedia editors with their first, and advanced steps.Volunteers are the driving force of our association and they should be 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 to neighbouring countries and beyond. Diversity is important; we have dedicated a board member specifically to diversity and gender.
The goal of this program is to (1) support editors to create content about their region, as well as recruit and train new editors for the Belgian community, (2) to get Belgium better represented in Wikipedia, as our country is less described in comparison to neighbouring countries.
- Improve the local quality and completeness of Wikimedia project contents: Wikipedia’s, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons
- Give training "Writing for Wikipedia" + introduction in Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata, Free licenses
- Wikithons: During the year we plan to give open and closed edit-a-thons and Wikimedia workshops in collaboration with various institutions in Belgium. We believe it is important to reach out to the various organisations that are interested in learning more about Wikipedia. At each session we have one or two instructors available. The organisation hosts the venue. Wikimedia Belgium supplies cheatsheets and the book "Schrijven voor Wikipedia".
- Bi-Weekly Wiki Club, a group of Wikipedia editors that meet, work together on Wikipedia articles and gives new editors an opportunity to ask questions and to get immediate help. The activity is organised in collaboration with Open Knowledge Belgium at BeCentral, Brussels.
- Writing weeks, where a articles around a certain topic are written in a meeting, and online at remote locations, or by individual volunteers.
- Library of Ternat "Iedereen Wiki", training "Writing for Wikipedia" about local subjects, bringing people together in workshops.
- Learn how to use and promote the available tools: ISA Tool, PetScan, Wikidata, Wikidata Query, QuickStatements, Structured data for Wikimedia Commons
- Stimulate diversity:
- Commune of Asse, Social integration service: Wikipedia for non-natives. Learn to write for Wikipedia about local subjects in foreign languages using content from the wp.nl. Improve cultural diversity.
- Wiki Club des Grands Lacs (writing about subjects in Central and East Africa)
- Gender balance (content and contributors)
- Provide grants to people to follow a conference about using Wikimedia tools
- Collaboration with Open Knowledge Belgium
|Number of training sessions||20|
|Number of organisations||10|
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. Organise collaboration with Universities, Libraries, Archives, Musea, Communes, Heritage organisations.
- Enrich Wikipedia, Commons and Wikidata
- Add content from GLAM
- Provide training
- Organise edit-a-thons to have more articles written about Belgian subjects.
- Advocacy to GLAM
The goal of this program is to (1) enrich Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia platforms with more materials, (2) have them share their knowledge in images, data and articles on the Wikimedia platforms, (3) provide training sessions and workshops to learn them how Wikipedia/Commons/Wikidata works, (4) organise edit-a-thons to have more articles written about Belgian subjects, (5) support cultural institutions to collaborate with Wikipedia/Wikimedia, to create awareness about free knowledge, and to grow partnerships and trust.
Starting new long-term partnerships with institutions requires time (bureaucracy) to learn how 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. It takes much time before results are seen (due to bureaucracy and employee time/money constraints at institutions).
- Wiki Café with the Industry museum in Gent
- Collaboration with other Libraries and Musea in Gent
- Collaboration with the Royal Library in Brussels
- Collaboration with PACKED, the Flemish (digital) cultural department
- Training "Photography for musea" and "Photography for Wikipedia"
- 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, and let them serve as a liaison between the museum and Wikimedia. By educating ambassadors we enable them largely to process the images and data themselves, have the collected knowledge on Wikimedia platforms used more and have activities organised to enrich the Wikimedia platforms (like edit-a-thons).
- Data and media import: Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons have become more and more important. We want to collaborate with institutions to donate datasets and media of their collections. The import of these datasets is combined with adding of persistent identifiers to Wikidata to be able to uniquely identify the items. Besides the individual support provided to knowledge institutions to import data collections, we organise Wikidata workshops to introduce the platform and how it benefits a large audience from the cultural sector.
- The Flemish Community Commission (VGC) allows us to interact with libraries and archives in Brussels.
|Uploaded images||5 000|
|Wikidata items||5 000|
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 articles and this results in good new Wikipedia articles and the improvement of existing ones. Students learn how Wikipedia works (by doing), how knowledge gets on Wikipedia, and that they can add knowledge themselves to Wikipedia (during classroom activities and beyond). Working with students, we 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 educational institutions to collaborate with Wikimedia and (2) to let students execute a real-world project 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 towards Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia platforms.
The Education program consists of a set of activities and projects executed in collaboration with educational institutions.
- Gent university: (yearly) Wikidata conference for Digital Humanities
- Training for the Gent university library
- Gent Education for adults
- Brussels: ULB Computer Science students. Learn how to use Wikidata and Wikimedia tools
|Number of students||250|
|New or supplemented articles||250|
Wiki Loves program
The Wiki Loves program is a photo contest. The volunteers from Wikimedia Belgium organise since 2011 various photo contests. It started in 2011 with the organisation of Wiki Loves Monuments. 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. Thanks to our efforts, in the Summer of 2016 Freedom of Panorama was introduced in Belgium, allowing people to take photos of modern buildings and artworks in the public environment and upload them for use in Wikipedia, 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. In this contest we asked the public to take photos of buildings, artworks, monuments, memorials and other subjects visible from the public space. As of 2018 we organise Wiki Loves Heritage. This photo contest focusses on all kinds of heritage, including immovable heritage, movable heritage, immaterial heritage and maritime heritage. We focus also on correct and complete metadata of the imagesm both on Wikimedia Commons and as structured data.
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, (2) to ensure continuity in our activities towards our photographing community and stimulate them to upload their photos, (3) use the material on Wikipedia, and (4) further develop our relationship with the different collaborating organisations.
- Uploading media files
- Giving training "Photography for Wikipedia"
- Adding metadata via structured commons
- Writing articles to use the photos
- Make institutions aware of the importance and advantages of free available images
|Number of participants||100|
Wikimedia Belgium is also involved in other activities:
- Open Knowledge Belgium organises the annual conference Open Belgium, 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.
- Budget and resource plan 2020
- m:Grants:Simple/Applications/Wikimedia Belgium/2020
- WMBE strategy 2019-2020