I’m happy to announce that the National Archives is partnering with Wikimedia D.C. on Wikimania 2012, which is being held in Washington D.C this year, July 12-14. We are thrilled to be able to work together with Wikimedia D.C. on its conference in order to promote our common values: citizen engagement, collaboration, innovation, and the sharing of free knowledge. We join the Department of State’s Office of eDiplomacy, the Library of Congress, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors as fellow Wikimania partners. In addition, David Ferriero will be giving the conference’s closing plenary speech.
We have been collaborating with Wikimedia D.C. and the Wikimedia community for over a year. Last year, the National Archives hosted Wikipedia’s 10th anniversary celebration for the D.C. area and brought me on as Wikipedian in Residence. Since then, we have cooperated on a number of projects and hosted several on-site events around the country—including the multi-day GLAMcamp D.C. conference this February and a meetup just this month hosted by the National Archives at Kansas City. We value the contributions Wikipedians have made as citizen archivists. We look forward to collaborating with Wikimedia into the future, and are making plans for the upcoming Wikipedia Loves Libraries campaign.
In March of last year—when Wikimedia D.C. was bidding for Wikimania—David Ferriero wrote in support of the bid, pledging NARA’s help in facilitating the conference. As partner, the National Archives will be offering tours and discounts for Wikimania attendees. With Wikimedia D.C. awarding us more than a dozen complimentary registrations for NARA staff, we will have a major presence at the conference. National Archives staff will be active participants in Wikimania’s program as speakers as well, including David Ferriero’s plenary speech. Pamela Wright, our Chief Digital Access Strategist, is also serving on a panel with other cultural institution professionals about working with Wikipedia, and I will have a session of my own addressing our work with crowdsourcing transcriptions on Wikisource.
In the National Archives’ latest Open Government Plan (recently announced on the AOTUS blog), David Ferriero wrote that “Our work with Wikipedia is changing the way we think about our work.” Wikipedia, and the movement towards open access and collaboration that it represents, has the potential to take us to new heights and in new directions in fulfilling our mission of providing the maximum access to the nation’s records. We know that Wikimania will be an amazing opportunity to engage with a large and diverse international group of volunteers, activists, fellow lovers of knowledge, (most importantly!) citizen archivists.
At the National Archives, we have been Wikipedians, and even Wikisourcerors, for more than a year, and are proud now to be able to call ourselves Wikmaniacs as well. Are you as excited as we are? You can learn more about Wikimania at their web site, and even find out how to volunteer.