SOIMA 2015/report DerekvG

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I attended the SOIMA 2015 Conference [1] on the 3rd and 4th of September only, Romaine was also there on the opening session on the 2nd.

Conference goals[edit]

  • Raise awareness about the world’s sound and image heritage, need and urgency of preservation, and for public accessibility and usability
  • Provide professionals from different disciplines with an occasion to talk, build collaboration and locate opportunities to develop solutions for common problems.
  • Showcase innovative examples, applicable strategies, about how sound and image collections can be preserved, made accessible and for reuse in real-life practice.
  • Share pioneering training and education initiatives, and discuss future needs and concrete possibilities.
  • Make recommendations for cross-disciplinary collaboration, exchange of information and know-how.


  • Sound and image collectors: cultural and research organizations, individual collectors, curators, archivists, librarians and other managers of cultural heritage;
  • Preservation and access specialists: professionals specializing in the preservation of analogue and digital media, as well as policy makers and professionals who deal with intellectual property rights.
  • Cultural and creative industries: creators and users of sound and image content by different industries.
  • Researchers and business developers: culture policy makers and researchers, consultancy firms.
  • Educators and trainers: education policy makers and professionals providing both formal and non-formal training for sound and image preservation and access.


  • 27 August-2 September 2015 - Pre-Conference Workshop
  • 2 September - Opening of conference, with announcement start Wiki Loves Art, announcement collaboration KIK-IRPA with Wikipedia/Wikimedia Belgium, and presentation two booklets (available in 3 languages) published by Wikimedia Belgium and handed over to director of KIK-IRPA
  • 3 September 2015 - Conference and conference Dinner
  • 4 September 2015 - Conference


The conference was co-organised by our partner KIKIRPA[2] (the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, a federal semi-autonomous public service). They asked us to become partners and support the conference, in exchange we were offered a boot, and some free tickets. I was invited to the conference dinner.
WMBE also invited some other Wikimedia chapters and France, Holland and Austria stepped in to support us. They shared some of the financial burden and send us brochures and gadgets a for the boot, although they were invited to send a delegate they didn't send anybody to attend the conference.
We made a presentation that looped on a screen on the boot that told about what Wikipedia/Wikimedia was all about and how it could contribute to the AV preservation, and assist in accessibility and reuse of AV heritage.

It was a very successful conference with about 200 attendees from all over the world. Very interesting ideas were shared on the sessions that I attended.
During Q&A I was asked to elaborate on the Wikiprojects and held a 5 minute discourse with 2 main points :

  • The Wikiprojects can present - for both the local language and for more international languages - a platform to allow the general public and researchers alike to access and reuse of written and Audio-Video documents that tell stories about the history and traditional heritage. Archivists and Librarians tend to become 'pathological hoarders' : they acquire, store then build walls around their treasure. For example : Old manuscripts (lit. handwritten books) are stored in many libraries never to be seen again. If they are destroyed by fire or water, attacked by mould or rodents or just plain disintegrate into dust, they are lost forever, thatś why they are kept in special vaults and airconditioned space adapted to their preservation.. but actually they are already lost in those vaults because nobody is allowed to touch them. So make photographic derivatives, in sufficient detail to allow research of the content (which can be copyrighted), make a facsimile that people can come and look at, touch, turn the pages look at all the images... but also make illustration sets which are allow to be re-used freely under a CC-BY-SA licence and invite Wiki contributors to write about them, use the pictures to show it to the general public and they will come to you website and visit your digital vault. look at the picture galleries and some of the will actually visit your library, archive and come and see the original art work or its facsimile, Wikipedia is the ramp that brings visitors to you museum, library or archive; and Wikimedia can help you realise your potential.
  • The Copyright versus free content : the Wikiprojects are based on "free content" that means in practise PD, CC0 or CC-BY-SA, and in some cases GFDL or alike. Free content doesn't mean that it loses all revenue generating potential, actually carefully made free content is often an income booster for artefacts, written or AV products that have lost their revenue making potential because they are hidden away in the archive vaults, so museum-intendants, conservators librarians and archivists open your vaults (indirectly, virtually, electronically) to the public, and let your hidden dying treasures make money to acquire and preserve more heritage.


Although Romaine and I spoke to many people some of the conversations had some immediate results:

  • I was invited to speak on a conference in Budapest (Hungary) unfortunately i could not make the trip,
  • I was invited to the Wikisource conference in Vienna, which I could not attend either,
  • I was approached by ICCROM (EU) [3] and and Athar (UAE) [4] about assisting them with a project for public access to preserved AV heritage in the Persian Gulf region. AS ICCROM is actuablly based in Rome and given our good contacts with WUGTN (Wiki User group Tunisia), I've asked our member and volunteer Stefano Caneva to coordinate this project such that ICCROM, ATHAR and WUGTN work together and create a project unlocking the AV content via Wikipedia. This might involve creating one or more WiR positions and training ICCROM and ATHAR staff about the Wiki projects and its "culture", but also create paid editor positions for Tunisian Wikipedians.