Thematic councils and Wiki Loves Science
This year we plan to support the quality content through establishment of thematic councils engaging scientists and researchers of the respective fields and experienced wiki editors interested in the topic. Every editing event that we organize will have thematic groups which will allow editors to collaboratively work on the same topic or article. In addition, we will perform more events dedicated to particular topic editing.
This year WMAM will continue its “Wiki loves science” (WLS) workshops/meetups. Previously these meetups were organized for both the scientific article editors and the community members who were editing various themes part of those not having a scientific character. We learned that mixing experienced editors who have no scientific background and researchers is not effective enough. Besides, two day events are not sufficient for newcomers to fully understand both the Wikimedia Movement idea and Wikipedia editing. Therefore, we consider to split these events having editathons for experienced editors and WLS meetups for researchers. The duration of the WLS events will be expanded to 4-5 days depending on the participants’ occupation. WMAM will also continue working on 1000 vital articles through “I create a vital article” campaign as a very effective project for involving professionals and creating quality content.
Partnership with GLAM
Wikimedia Armenia will try to build a solid foundation with GLAM and other data donor institutions for effective communication and collaboration with a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished.
September 2018 marks the 2800th anniversary of the foundation of the capital city of Yerevan. Prior to this date WMAM researched the articles about Yerevan. It turned out there are around 100 articles about Yerevan on the Armenian Wikipedia which are far from being enough. Highlighting the role that GLAM institutions can play in filling this content gap and the role of Wikipedia as the most viewed encyclopedia in Armenia, Wikimedia Armenia with the help of Yerevan Foundation and Yerevan Municipality will start a collaborative project with the goal to support the content development about Yerevan in the Internet via various Wikimedia projects. International GLAM Meetup in Yerevan, Editathons in Armenia and abroad, article writing contests, etc., will support the development of diverse content on Yerevan. It is expected to increase the presence of Yerevan related content in different language Wikipedias with the help of Wikipedians. At the end of the contest the best contributors will be invited to visit Yerevan and participate in the celebrations of Yerevan 2800.
We expect that “Wiki Loves Yerevan” project along with producing lots of quality articles about Yerevan, will have a deep impact and will enable the collaboration with other GLAM institutions.
Digitization of content
We will continue to transfer free content to digital form providing easy access to content and resources which is one step close to the quality content.
With the digitization program we will assist “Wiki loves Yerevan” project and other partnerships by converting the acquired non online sources, data into digital form based on which editors will write and improve articles.
Moreover, digitization is the main component of WMAM Wikisource program for WikiClubs. The digitized content is being uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and Armenian Wikisource where secondary school students proofread it and learn the basics of editing tools. Proofreading also helps them to learn reading and writing. This funding year WMAM will prioritize and digitize those free books which are included in the school curriculum as compulsory readings. This will help the students to learn and easily access the literary works that are included in their school program and motivate them to make more contributions to Wikisource.
WMAM has previously created the metadata of authors on the Armenian Wikisource which allows the readers and editors to find out authors whose works entered the public domain. Most of the authors data has been created but due to some technical issues it was not completed. This year WMAM plans to complete the list, thus supporting the digitization process.
Research and analysis of articles
The change of focus from quantity to quality requires data on what content should be improved and has high public demand. We will do constant analytical work on what is being viewed more frequently and work towards improvement of those articles. Using this analytical data and research, we will build our activities resulting in more effective and targeted content development.
International collaborations International collaborations and partnerships with other Wikimedia chapters have highly importance among Wikimedia Armenia programs. These international collaborations are beneficial and are built mostly around content production․
Forming international collaborations helps editors in two main ways: for the Armenian community it serves as a motivation for quality content generation, for us it enables to better understand the possible ways of interactions among Wikimedia organizations, thereby facilitating our networking and learning.
Wikimedia Armenia will organize the following international writing contests: Wikimedia Armenia-Wikimedia Spain collaboration which is a writing article contest about Armenia and Spain, CEE Spring and any contest that will initiate Europeana, Wiki Loves Yerevan from our side, as described above. Additionally, we will continue to tighten our successful partnership with Wikimedia Norsk on Bodil Biørn project and beyond.
Equal access to wiki
Wikimedia projects are fundamentally designed to work for all people, however Armenian content is not always accessible for public including persons with disabilities. This year we will work on reducing the accessibility barriers of Wikimedia content that make difficult or impossible for some people to use. Wikimedia Armenia will increase the number of the recording of well written article summaries with the help of the Spoken Wikipedia project. With the growing popularity of the Armenian Wiktionary we will continue the recording of the pronunciations of Armenian words for Wiktionary. In addition to these two projects, Wikimedia Armenia will launch the Surdowiktionary project with the aim to record Armenian Sign Language and make them available on the Armenian Wiktionary through videos. This essential initiative will have great contribution to Armenian Sign Language teaching because there are almost no visualized dictionaries of this language.
Preservation of culture
We value Wikimedia projects also because it is a way to preserve and document culture. As the cultural identity is essential for Armenians, in 2018-2019 Wikimedia Armenia will launch two projects dedicated to Armenian culture. We have articles about all villages and cities of Armenia which can provide a minimum sufficient information to the readers but the 90-95% of them lack photos. We will initiate “My community in Wikipedia” online campaign and exhort people to upload photos of their villages/cities (landscapes, monuments, nature, daily life etc.) to Wikimedia Commons, thus illustrating the corresponding articles in Wikipedias. The second project will be directed to the preservation and recording of Armenian national and folk songs and will be called Singing Wikipedia.
Community editathons and meetups
The majority of WMAM activities, like the organization itself, are community based and in many cases implemented for and by the community. As we have noted in the Quality content section, WMAM plans to separate community editathon/meetups from Wiki Loves Science trainings. This process will allow us to communicate with new and experienced editors differently and strengthen our interaction with them, increase their engagement in the community projects. Besides supporting quality content, these meetups and editathons also play a vital role in ensuring community empowerment.
We will work on the better assessment of community needs through various community discussions. Activity discussions, for instance, help us to shape our activities in a way that they are more community directed and inclusive, Annual Plan discussions provide us with valuable feedback and suggestions from community to form the upcoming Annual Plan collaboratively. Moreover, we will improve the reporting process in order to report to the community more frequently and in a more comprehensive manner enabling mutual communication and community involvement.
We will encourage and support further participation of our community members in international events, as it gives them a real sense of being part of a large international family and motivates them to come and share their learning with the rest of the community. Their ties with international peers will later work in benefit to WMAM cooperation with others.
We will continue working on the capacity building of our community by organizing different seminars, trainings and meetings with different experts of their field creating a platform where the editors can dispel their doubts, find answers to their questions, exchange experience, learn, thus having more quality contributions. WMAM will put systematic effort to introduce the new Wikimedia tools to our community thus keeping them up-to-date and supporting the generation of quality content.
WMAM will support its editors with technical resources. We will provide them our laptops and other necessary equipment, office space with good internet connection when necessary. We will make sure the editors have their necessary sources and literature. The latter will be done also with the help of the National Library of Armenia with which Wikimedia Armenia has signed a memorandum.
Wikiseminar for teachers/lecturers from regions and Yerevan
The Teachers’ Training being one of the main components of Wikimedia Armenia education program, will be included in the upcoming funding program. As always we will organize 2 seminars based on the teachers’ school holidays. This year we plan to broaden our target group involving also teachers from Yerevan. This will allow us to have new collaborations with various schools in Yerevan. Moreover, with the help of teachers’ activities, international and local experience we want to design an Educators’ Guidline especially adapted for Armenian environment. This guideline will later serve as a foundation for teacher trainings.
We will continue to provide technical support to those teachers who run WikiClubs in their schools and encourage others to establish new ones in their schools.
In addition to schools and colleges, we will establish collaborations with universities in a more targeted way. Instead of cooperating with individual professors, we will try to broaden our target to the faculty level. For this purpose we plan to organize also a seminar for university lecturers. This will be a new experience for us and a good chance to include wiki component in the university activities so targeting professors and their students. First, we will put our efforts in 2-3 universities (Yerevan State University, Gevorgian Seminary and Fondation Université Française en Arménie) which in case of successful collaboration will have high impact on WMAM education program and Wikimedia projects in the respect of quality content.
Non formal education
Wikimedia Armenia will enlarge its education partnerships and for the first time, will try to collaborate with non-formal education sector. We believe that organizations and institutions dealing with non-formal education have huge uncovered potential. With their help we hope to disseminate WMAM education programs in the regions of Armenia and reach out to new communities.
In the upcoming funding period Wikimedia Armenia plans to organize 4 WikiCamps - 2 university and 2 school student camps (2 in winter, 2 in summer). As described above, this year we will focus on working with university students and will continue to adapt our camp activities to those students. Following our strategy of quality content, our main goal will not be the quantity but the quality of content. The students will work mainly on 1 or 2 articles trying to cover all the necessary information related to the topic of the articles.
Wikimedia Armenia also constantly works on the involvement of new interesting components to the camp which will inspire and motivate the campers to have a productive and high quality contribution. We will work on incorporation of other non-wiki activities to support campers’ personal development. This include sports, games aimed at improving campers’ leadership, communication and other skills, sessions on active citizenship and etc.
In addition, for the school student camps, we plan to revise “Learning through wiki” part where campers will not only learn through contributing but also learn through reading, checking and referencing wiki. On the base of our periodic interactions and discussions with camp Group Leaders and Wiki Mentors we plan to create “Wikicamp Handbook” in order to document and structurize all procedures and activities.
To expand the concept of WikiCamps and the Wikimedia Movement, WMAM will negotiate with different state and non state stakeholders to incorporate WikiCamp activities in existing youth camps. This will be a good way to export our capacity in organizing camps, reach more people with less resources and reach out to new audiences.
Wikimedia Armenia with the support of Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) will open 5 new WikiClubs in various regions of Armenia. The project targets rural communities as children and adults in rural communities have poor access to quality, alternative education and knowledge, little opportunities for self-development. A number of activities are planned which involve not only the local communities but the neighbour ones as well. We will put more stress in engaging adults in our WikiClubs and teach them using Wikipedia as a source for information.
During the course of operation of WikiClubs, we have observed its impact on participants’ development be it on their personal skills or performance at school. However, as we actively work on the enlargement of WikiClubs this year, we will do a research on WikiClubs influence to collect data and have evidence based proof of their positive impact on clubbers’ life, education and overall development. We will also tightly work with WikiClubs coordinators on increasing the quality of the content produced in the clubs. WikiClub coordinators will assist us in designing “Handbook of WikiClub coordinator”, so making easy for new coordinators to get engaged and consider all challenges that they might face.
We will introduce new learning modules in our Clubs’ activities, which will include documentary screenings, discussions on various topics, training sessions on different soft skills, such as communication, public speaking, team work and etc., which will make the WikiClubs even a better place for education and personal growth.
Creation of Separate Western Armenian Wikipedia
During this year Wikimedia Armenia will work more actively with the editors to resolve the technical and translation issues in creation of the Western Armenian Wikipedia. We believe that after the separation the encyclopedia will attract more editors, as it will be technically more convenient for Western Armenian people and there will be no language barrier in using the platform.
Trainings for experts
Similar to previous years, Wikimedia Armenia will organize a wiki seminar for different Diasporan professionals in Armenia. The seminar is aimed at the dissemination of the ideology of Wikimedia movement in the remote corners of Armenian Diaspora which will allow us to involve more editors and volunteers in WMAM programs. Along with the organization of a seminar in Armenia WMAM plans to have meetups in the Diaspora. These meetups will be both an introductory presentation for those communities who are new to the Wikimedia Movement and a workshop for those communities who have learned editing tools during previous WMAM events but need deeper knowledge to move further and make higher quality contribution. WMAM will also try to be get involved in different non wiki events organized for Diaspora Armenians both in Armenia and abroad, thus reaching out more audiences.
Summer WikiSchool in Aleppo and other activities
Syrian Civil War weakened and decreased the Armenian community in Syria. In order to diversify the life of Syrian-Armenian students in Aleppo, bring new activities to their daily life and also to use the potential of this strong Armenian Community we plan to build Wikimedia community in Aleppo. Wikimedia Armenia in collaboration with Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation will organize a Summer WikiSchool in Aleppo. During one week the participants will be introduced the Wikimedia Movement, Wikimedia projects, how they work. The participants will do their first editing steps during this week.
Along with these activities Wikimedia Armenia will hold a number of online and offline edit-a-thons aimed at the improvement of certain topics in Western Armenian Wikipedia. This will also help to keep in touch with the Diaspora communities.
Continuing the tradition of hosting active wikieditor students in Armenian WikiCamps this year as well the most active editors from Diaspora communities will be invited to participate in Winter and Summer WikiCamps in Armenia.
This component will have two major directions: procedural improvements and skill upgrading.
We expect to have the revised Bylaw by the end of 2016-2017 APG and start operation by the new one since July 2018. After Bylaw is adopted, we will develop and adopt several internal regulations, such as Board and Employee Handbooks, membership guidelines and etc. We will conduct an organizational assessment to reveal our strengths and weaknesses and to create a list of required policies based on the findings. These policies will regulate different spheres of organization’s life, ensure its smooth operation. Based on the assessment we will come up with employee capacity building plan aimed at improvement of the required skills for better implementation of their job descriptions. We believe that these improvements will bring WMAM to a new level of development, which will positively impact its programing and image among the community, partners and society in general.
We will try to tighten our cooperation with our peers in other countries to learn from their experience and to share our skills. WMAM representatives will continue attending Wikimedia Conference, Wikimedia Executives meetups among other Wikimedia events, which we find a great venue for learning, networking and exchange.
Wikimedia Armenia has a positive image in Armenia, but very often it is known by its WikiClubs and WikiCamps as those are the most promoted and thus perceived as an organization working only with kids and Wikimedia content developed again by the kids. Currently we are trying to promote our other initiatives, e.g “I create a vital article” and our experienced editors to show also more adults and professionals engaged in Wikimedia editing.
We will develop a Communication plan, where we will indicate the major communication directions and online/offline channels, which will be utilized to build a well known and positive image of Wikimedia Armenia and Wikimedia Movement in general. We will engage in various local networks, participate in diverse events on education, media and content development, youth, voluntarism and etc. We will organize fun online and offline Flashmobs to attract people’s attention. We will further improve our website as our main information platform and engage more people via our social media channels to tell people that Wikimedia Movement is much more than only editing Wikipedia. We will develop outreach materials both printed and online to speak about Wikimedia editing and Wikimedia Movement.
Wikimedia Armenia has a great experience in collaboration with local private sector representatives who fund WikiClub establishment and monthly operation. Due to shortcomings in our Bylaw, WMAM is not able to get those funds and spend itself, thus all expenditures are carried out by donors directly. After the Bylaw is revised, WMAM will receive those funds and manage itself, thus ensuring better management of resources. We will establish a reporting mechanism for our sponsors, to ensure the transparency of our operations and to share the success of their supported Clubs.
Currently WMAM works on development of its online donation system integrated with our http://wikimedia.am website. This will help us to engage donors not only from Armenia, but also from Diaspora. We will develop diverse fundraising products to help contributors understand where we need their assistance more.
We will continue fundraising from institutional donors and look for cooperation opportunities with large organizations, companies, and initiatives. WMAM will work on introducing editing training modules as a paid service in youth camps implemented by other organizations.