NARA plays host for Wikipedians at GLAMcamp DC

This is a guest post by Lori Byrd Phillips, US Cultural Partnerships Coordinator for the Wikimedia Foundation. Lori has also served as the Wikipedian in Residence at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis since 2010 and is currently a museum studies graduate student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

It’s a well-known fact that Wikipedians love NARA just as much as NARA loves Wikipedia! So it was with much excitement that 25 Wikipedians and cultural professionals descended upon the National Archives for three days in February to document, organize, and hack tools during the third Wikipedia GLAMcamp.

But whatever could I mean by “GLAMcamp?” It is a rather curious name for an event. GLAM, which stands for Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums, is referring to the GLAM-Wiki community, an international group of Wikipedians that assist cultural organizations with sharing their resources. GLAMcamps bring Wikipedians together to formalize standards and create documentation and tools that allow us to more easily implement and assist with cooperative projects.

GLAMcamp organizers
GLAMcamp organizers starting things off on Day 1. Photo by Antaya

GLAMcamp DC was the first camp to specifically focus on the United States GLAM-Wiki community, where we are in high need of an infrastructure for connecting interested organizations with online or on-location Wikipedians. As a shining example of a GLAM-Wikimedia partnership, the National Archives was the perfect place to bring together US-based Wikipedians and cultural professionals to work on this ongoing initiative.

Some of the outcomes of the weekend include:

  • The GLAM-Wiki One-Pager: This handout provides an overview of GLAM-Wiki information, case stories on current partnerships, pull quotes from GLAM professionals, and contact information.
  • The GLAM US Portal: The GLAM US portal serves as the hub for connecting cultural organizations with Wikimedia volunteers based on location or project-type. The portal includes GLAM Connect, an ever-expanding list of Wikipedians available to volunteer for various projects.
  • The GLAM Bookshelf: The GLAM Bookshelf compiles handouts, Powerpoints, videos, and on-wiki guides that assist Wikipedians and cultural professionals with GLAM partnerships.
  • The GLAM-Wiki US Facebook page: The Facebook page will share updates about resources and current partnerships throughout the US. This is in addition to the globally-focused @glamwiki Twitter account.

But GLAMcamp isn’t all hard work.  Attendees of GLAM-Wiki events often have the chance to go behind the scenes in cultural organizations that partner with Wikipedia.  The National Archives didn’t disappoint!  Our tour took us through the rotunda, to the head archivists’ offices of Mahogany Row, and finally through the maze of hallways to the stacks, where we saw just a portion of the unfathomable amount of documentation that is housed there.

GLAMcamp tour of NARA stacks
GLAMcamp participants take a tour of the NARA stacks. Photo by Lori Byrd Phillips

















Having been involved in GLAM-Wiki from the early days, I have watched NARA rise as a true leader in GLAM-Wikipedia collaborations over the past year. It was incredible to have the opportunity to hold GLAMcamp DC within the walls of the National Archives. Special thanks to Jill James and Erin Furnia for their coordination and hospitality, David Ferriero for his tireless advocacy of Wikipedia, Susan Cummings for the fascinating and insightful stack tour, and especially to NARA’s hardworking Wikipedian in Residence, Dominic McDevitt-Parks.

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