Jump to content

Submissions/GLAM: WWI photos from Swiss Federal Archives

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2014 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this August.

Submission no. 2017
Title of the submission
GLAM: Mission “Free Access to Knowledge” – The Swiss Federal Archives’ experience of working with Wikimedia CH to upload a First World War photo collection
Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
E-mail address
Swiss Federal Archives
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Swiss Federal Archives
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)
The Swiss Federal Archives (SFA) embarked on an experiment last year: in association with Wikime-dia Switzerland we recruited a Wikipedian in Residence – the first GLAM institution anywhere in Switzerland to do so. One of our aims was to publish freely available source materials from the Federal Archives online via Wikimedia. This we did by uploading a collection of 5,000 photos on the “Active Service” in the First World War.

This upload serves as a case study forming the centre of the presentation. It is a report on the SFA’s experiences as a GLAM institution becoming involved in the world of Wikimedia. Our contribution looks at various stages and aspects of the upload: first of all, we had to gain a sense of what source materials from the SFA would be of interest for Wikimedia projects and the Wikimedia community, and whether the photo collection was suitable. Another key issue was clarifying the legal situation. In the case of the photo collection, there were no problems of copyright or personal rights. The requirement by Wikimedia Commons that the material should be made available freely, including use for commercial purposes, proved rather more of a sticking point, as this was not immediately reconcilable with our archiving legislation. Technical issues also needed to be addressed: the collection was already available in digital form, both as high-resolution TIFFs of the original glass plate negatives and in versions of these scans (positives) that had already been processed by us. We had to decide which was better suited to uploading. Another aspect was mapping the metadata: how completely should the photos be described? Should we include the fullest possible set of metadata or just a selection? Finally, there were a few matters to clear up concerning the upload process itself: under what account should the upload be conducted? Who should carry it out? What do we, as a GLAM institution, have to do; where can our Wikipedian in Residence help us; and where will he have to call on his network?

Our contribution will also demonstrate that the support of the Wikipedian in Residence was crucial. Without his experience, advice and contacts it would have been much more difficult for us to under-stand the requirements, practices and processes of the Wikimedia world. This is an obstacle that GLAM institutions working in Wikimedia should perhaps be wary of underestimating.

In the last part of our presentation, we will describe what happened to the images we uploaded and what lessons we have drawn from the experience: how were the photos used within the community and beyond? What feedback did we get on the SFA user discussion page? What did we learn from this first upload that is of use for future projects? And what are the pros and cons of publishing in Wikimedia Commons as opposed to other portals?

We can already say that for us as a GLAM institution, our introduction to the Wikimedia world was not without obstacles. But it was worth it for all concerned: us, Wikimedia and the community. Which fits perfectly with our shared mission of providing free access to knowledge for all.

Length of session (if other than 25 minutes, specify how long)
about 20 to 25 Minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
The talk could easily be linked with the contribution " Two Wikipedians in Residence at the Swiss National Library SNL" submitted by the Swiss National Library.
Special requests

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with four tildes. (~~~~).

  1. B25es (talk) 20:03, 25 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Blagojcedisoski (talk) 13:01, 13 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Eleninviki (talk) 13:02, 13 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Jonathan Cardy (WMUK) (talk) 14:19, 28 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:54, 28 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Kelson (talk)
  7. Scott (talk) 19:32, 23 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Muriel Staub (WMCH) (talk) 09:16, 31 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  9. --Nickispeaki (talk) 22:49, 31 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Micha L. Rieser (talk) 17:16, 3 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Beat Estermann (talk)
  12. your name here!