Defining Open Authority

An attempt to illustrate, define, & discuss the intersection between museum
authority & participatory digital culture. | Ask me about museums & Wikipedia.

Posts tagged "GLAMWIKI"


2 years ago 16 notes Wikipedia museums GLAMWIKI future of museums neutrality

Now that Wikipedia is perfect...

Please read the above link prior to reading my admittedly defensive reply below : ).


So, as someone who is at once an emerging museum professional (and technologist) and a Wikipedian…

While I absolutely agree with all of Jasper’s points, (in fact they have me very excited!) I do have to make the very obvious observation that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and that is very different from a museum. This basic definition (Wikipedia as an encyclopedia) is the reason that Wikipedia falters in all three of the characteristics that Jasper mentions (brevity, humor, and passion). Though I can’t fault him for choosing Wikipedia to frame his points - it’s a great way to illustrate what makes museums special - they have the power to NOT just be an encyclopedia. They should not be! They should take advantage of the fact that they can be brief, passionate, and humorous, in a world that craves these characteristics. Wikipedia still has a very important role to play — as a space to present information as neutrally as possible after discussing all points of view on the talk page (and within a global community.) Museums, in fact, have the power to not be neutral. While many still strive for neutrality, isn’t it those museums that aren’t that are all the more intriguing? Embrace that. (Hey Jasper - I’d love a post on this point… #4 perhaps?? Lack of neutrality?)

All three of these things (brevity, humor, and passion) are extremely important for museums. That doesn’t mean that Wikipedia is bad in comparison because it lacks them. And I’m not meaning to imply that Jasper is saying Wikipedia is bad, but the very act of comparing the two makes Wikipedia look dim, sad, and irrelevant. This is of course not so. Wikipedia is exciting because of its power to build knowledge collaboratively and its ability to spread and share knowledge on a global scale. One day, it may just be one of the last places to find neutral information, and so be it. 

When it comes to the sometimes painfully long articles, I do want to point out something that Jimmy Wales mentioned on his visit to The Children’s Museum this past September. He explained that as Wikipedia has grown, it has started to become inaccessible to children and families - something that he hoped a partnership with the Children’s Museum might begin to fix. He suggested that we have a renewed effort to fix the [[Lead]] (or introductory) sections of every article so that they really do reflect the most basic information in a concise way. This is the goal already, but it needs to become the focus. So… it’s a mandate :), and one that we’re working on.

As someone who quite literally makes a living by piloting projects that incorporate Wikipedia into museums, you’ll have to forgive my defensive stance.  I believe that museums do a great job at being museums (but can always do better, especially using many of Jasper’s great suggestions throughout his blog.) I also believe that Wikipedia does a great job at being a free and open encyclopedia (but can always do better, which is what I am trying to help with every single day.)  In my job, I bring the museum content to Wikipedia, and I help think of ways to incorporate Wikipedia into the museum. There is a place for both, I think. One can compliment the other. Trying to compare the two… well it’s apples and oranges.

Oh and for your reading pleasure: [[What Wikipedia is Not]] (courtesy of Wikipedians)


2 years ago 2 notes Wikipedia reflection top 10 GLAMWIKI

My top 10 firsts of 2011

It’s the time of year where we all begin to reflect on the past 12 months. Typically, thanks to being in the midst of parenthood & grad school, I would forego such reflection. But this year has been quite the doozey, if I do say so, especially in regards to my career. I’d like to take a moment to remember and be thankful for all of my recent opportunities, which I’m deeming “firsts.”

Seeing it all laid out, it’s really one massive snowball effect that is rather interesting to follow - and none of it would have come about without having first been introduced to Wikipedia in Fall 2009 (thanks Richard & Jenny!), getting involved in GLAM-Wiki in Spring 2010 (thanks Liam!), and starting at the Children’s Museum in Fall 2010 (BIG thanks Angie!)

In chronological order:

1. January 5, 2011: First guest blog post for a national professional organization.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to share about Wikipedia on the National Council on Public History Off the Wall blog. This led to many other blogging opportunities throughout the year.

2. March 2011: First major GLAM-Wiki image donation

After months of preparation and lots of help from museum staff and Wikipedians, I successfully shepherded the Children’s Museum through their first image donation to Wikimedia Commons this spring, alongside a number of other content donations & programs that I’m proud to have facilitated this year.

3. February - April 2011: First formal museum-Wikipedia consulting project

I had the incredible challenge of significantly improving and revamping the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Wikipedia article, and thanks to the help of an amazing team of peers & fellow-Wikipedians, we pulled it off and have a great case study to show for it.

4. May 20-22, 2011: First GLAMcamp workshop, NYC

I was talked into going to the first-ever GLAMcamp for Wikimedians involved in cultural partnerships. And wouldn’t you know it? I’m now helping to plan the third GLAMcamp coming up in February.

5. June 1, 2011: First real contributing blogger gig

People used to joke that I’d make a career out of blogging and that isn’t too far from the truth! I’m happy to now be a contributing blogger for the New Media Consortium & MIDEA.

6. June 7, 2011: First museum job (not internship!! :)

Part-time, that is, at the extraordinary Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. I am so appreciative of the opportunities they have provided me, and I’m forever overwhelmed by the support of the staff. I have the audacious hope that this is only the first chapter.

7. August 3-7, 2011: First presentation at an international conference

…and first trip to beautiful Israel! I really didn’t think my trip to Wikimania 2011 in Haifa would actually pan out, but thanks to the support of family and friends, it did. And what an incredible opportunity it was!

8. August 19, 2011: First press release

Now this just gets silly. I never thought Liam’s New York Times appearance would trickle down to the rest of us Wikipedians-in-Residence. But it just continues, humorously enough. We’re always glad to have GLAM-Wiki receiving press, though!

9. September 2011: First article in a major organization’s print publication

Boy was I amazed when the American Association of Museum’s approached me to write an opinion piece for their member magazine. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my amazing mentors. I owe much to Jenny Mikulay and Modupe Labode - thank you!

10. December 2011: First national appointment, the Wikimedia Foundation

I’m extremely excited to begin my next chapter with GLAM-Wiki through a formal position with the Wikimedia Foundation, all while continuing my work with the Children’s Museum. I’m looking forward to seeing what can be accomplished in the coming year!


2 years ago 5 notes GLAMWIKI Wikipedia museums Indianapolis IUPUI

IUPUI Student to Lead Growth of U.S. Wikimedia Cultural Partnerships

I can’t go without sharing this little bit from IUPUI’s press release about my US Cultural Partnerships position at Wikimedia:

“Without the Children’s Museum’s support, I would not have had the opportunity to prove what I knew to be true: that Wikipedia is and will remain an important platform for sharing cultural heritage on a global scale,” Phillips said. “I’m thankful to have had this chance, and to have the Wikimedia Foundation recognize this as a continuing need within the cultural sector.”


2 years ago 7 notes Wikipedia GLAMWIKI museums

My presentation (at 26:00) at Wikimania 2011 in Haifa, Israel on E-Volunteers, with case studies from The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. (Don’t judge, I was nervous and I’m not a great public speaker.)

Friend Alex Stinson presents before me about Campus Ambassadors, with my partner in crime Sarah Stierch presenting after me about WikiProject:Public Art (beginning at 37:00).

Click through to larger video in YouTube.


2 years ago 9 notes Wikipedia museums GLAMWIKI

Wikipedian in Residence in Indianapolis Woman magazine

I’m very excited to be featured in the Five Questions section of Indianapolis Woman magazine this month, discussing my role as Wikipedian in Residence at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and broader goals of the GLAM-Wiki movement.

This was my favorite question:

What do you see for the future of museums and Wikipedia?

…In the future, I see every museum not only sharing their research with Wikipedia, but also including information from Wikipedia on their own websites. Rather than wondering if Wikipedia content is accurate, museums will ensure its accuracy by contributing to the conversation, effectively collaborating cross-institutionally and cross-culturally. By using Wikipedia as a tool to share their expertise, museums are poised to make a significant impact on a global scale. It’s already begun; I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.