Tag Archives: Wikipedia

The 10-Minute International Librarian #81: Discover your local Wikimedia chapter

A couple of days ago, the first #1Lib1Ref campaign of 2022 launched, encouraging librarians from around the world to add references to Wikipedia.

In this way, librarians help build and extend Wikipedia as a free and open source of reliable information for all able to access it.

Yet as already set out in our blog, people who are interested in going further than adding a reference have lots of options also!

You can create new articles – for example to provide information about underrepresented people or themes, contribute to projects such as WikiData – or even plan events.

But of course, the work of Wikimedia in promoting access to information takes place around the year, and you can get involved!

So for our 81st 10-Minute International Librarian exercise, discover your local Wikimedia chapter.

There are 38 chapters for different countries around the world, operating as independent organisations but aligned around the goals of the movement as a whole.

There are also many more user groups, many of which bring together Wikimedians in countries which do not yet have a chapter.

These groups get involved in projects and networks, such as the network for Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAMs), or WikiData as mentioned above.

In some cases, they are also in advocating for policy changes that favour access to knowledge, taking positions which are often strongly aligned with the interests and focus of libraries. As such, they can be powerful advocacy partners too!

Use the links above to find out what is going on in your country, and even get in touch!

Good luck!


This idea relates to the IFLA Strategy! Key Initiative 1.2: Build a strong presence in international organizations and meetings as a valued partner

As we publish more ideas, you will be able to view these using the #10MinuteInternationalLibrarian tag on this blog, and of course on IFLA’s Ideas Store! Do also share your ideas in the com

#1Lib1Ref 2022: Your chance to broaden access to verifiable information!

The coming of the internet has, at least for those who are adequately connected, allowed billions of people to enjoy an extraordinary increase in the volume of information available to them.

This represents major progress towards libraries’ goal of guaranteeing meaningful access to information to all, but it is far from being the same thing as achieving this goal fully.

For one, there are still billions of people who have no access to the internet at all. Furthermore, those counted in the statistics as being online often only have slow or limited connections, and only have access to a restricted range of content in their own language, or covering the issues that matter for them.

Crucially, quantity and quality of information are also not the same thing. There is a big difference between a random claim, and an assertion backed up by references to other works which can be checked, controlled, and shown to be accurate and reliable.

While library users – especially those affiliated with national or academic libraries – may have possibilities to access high quality research collections, this may not always be easy as it should be.

Copyright laws may mean that it is only possible to consult works in person (something that may of course also be impossible, for reasons of COVID or disability for example), or simply local libraries may not have the resources for a major collection. Paywalled information sources are, by definition, only available to those people and institutions with the resources to pay.

The easiest option is therefore just to turn to the internet.

This is why, in order to achieve libraries’ mission of meaningful access to information, it is so important that people can benefit from a free and reliable – verifiable – source of information online. This is what Wikipedia seeks to provide.

Crucially, Wikipedia does not replace the work of libraries, but rather complements it. And in turn, librarians, libraries and their collections can have a key role in turn in delivering on Wikipedia’s potential as a comprehensive, accessible, and verifiable source of information.

This is what #1Lib1Ref is all about, with its call on librarians around the world to add just one reference to a Wikipedia article, in order to improve its verifiability!

#1Lib1Ref is taking place for the 7th year on 15 January – 5 February, and then again on 15 May – 5 June, with the first period coinciding with Wikipedia’s 21st birthday.

The Wikimedia Library, which organises the event, sets out some great ways to get involved, with translations in 46 different languages! Take a look at the blog they have prepared for more.

Key opportunities involve:

  • Add a reference: look at the instructions on how to find an article that requires citations or improved sources, including using the CitationHunt tool which is now available in 7 more languages!
  • Create a new article: for example, in order to help diversify the information available on Wikipedia, to celebrate unique people or things covered in your collections, or to share your expertise – find out more here
  • Organise an event so that others can add references with you!: take a look at the guidance on how to set something up (it doesn’t just need to be during the period of #1Lib1Ref!)
  • Create WikiData items for works on WikiSource: help strengthen Wikipedia by creating WikiData items for works already mentioned in your local WikiSource
  • Share!: as part of the guidance for adding a reference, there are instructions on how highlight that it is a #1Lib1Ref edit. If you are organising an event, you can register it on the Wikimedia platform (you’ll need to create an account first). And of course, just use the hashtag #1Lib1Ref to talk about your participation on social media!

Good luck!

The 10-Minute Digital Librarian #1: Update your presence on Wikipedia

Our first batch of tips on being an effective digital librarian will focus on how you can make use of digital technologies to raise awareness of your work and services.

At a time that there is active competition for people’s time and attention, and that people expect to be able to find information easily, it is valuable to use available tools to avoid getting lost in the crowd.

A good way of doing this is by making sure that you are present on the sites that your users are using. Wikipedia is a great example, as the 5th most visited site on the internet. Furthermore, other search engines often draw on Wikipedia entries in order to provide responses.

Your library may already have a page on Wikipedia. In this case, you can make sure that information is up to date. For example, do you have collections of particular interest, or is there something unique about the building?

You may need to create a new page – there are helpful instructions available on how to start. In doing so, you will need to remember to follow the rules for Wikipedia editors, and of course that you find external sources as far as possible for what you want to say.

To get inspiration, you can look at specific examples, such as Manchester Central Library in the UK, Berlin State Library in Germany, the Central Library of Buenos Aires province, or the list of libraries in India.

You can also participate in activities like #1Lib1Ref, using your expertise to improve the quality of other articles, benefitting all of Wikipedia’s users. There’s also a great community around Wikimedia (which covers the wider range of Wiki projects), in which many librarians are already active.

Good luck!

If you are interested in library marketing more broadly, you should take a look at the work of IFLA’s Management and Marketing Section, which provides a platform to share expertise and experience.

Discover our series of 10-Minute Digital Librarian posts as it grows.

Alice Kibombo, wikimedian in residence at the African Library & Information Associations and Institutions

In 2020, AfLIA welcomed Alice Kibombo of the Wikimedia Community User Group – Uganda as a Wikimedian in residence. IFLA is delighted to see this initiative coming to life and therefore invited Ms Kibombo to share project’ insights with the international library community.

Could you tell us about your background and how you came to Wikimedia projects?

I am a practising librarian as well as an active volunteer/editor based in Uganda. I regularly contribute to both English and Luganda Wikipedia, Wikidata and WikiSource.

Coming into Wikimedia projects? Let’s see… as much as I would like the narration to be a bit more romantic, I am what would be classified as an accidental Wikipedian. I was contributing individually until my boss sent someone to the library because she just did not know what to make of what they wanted. It turns out, he was active with the Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda and they were looking for a library to partner with and host them for a number of activities. Gradually, a number of Wiki-related projects such as WikiLovesWomen in 2017 came in and provided me with the opportunity to get involved with the administrative side of things and the rest is current affairs (see what I am responding to now…)

Since then I have contributed a number of articles and been the beneficiary of various regional training, learning days and scholarships which to a large degree prepared me for my current assignment.

Which Wikimedia projects will be considered and why are they relevant to libraries?

Our primary project of focus is Wikipedia – the encyclopaedia project of Wikimedia. As often stated, libraries and Wikipedia have an overlapping mission which is to provide reliable information through verifiable references and doing proper research to bring quality, accurate information to the world. Wikipedia is as good as its sources and when it comes to libraries, not only do we have the best sources but the experts on these sources. Let’s just say that we should consider Wikipedia as an extension of the work we do albeit in the free knowledge movement.

In addition, library resources, in a number of forms, are relatively invisible on the web and while Wikipedia emphasises quality resources, some of what’s accessed are relatively sub-par because of the sources.

To be addressed in the course will be Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata and WikiSource will be addressed in the near future as Wikidata deals with linked data which is the “thing” right now.

As a Wikimedian in residence at AfLIA, what are your goals and next steps to get started?

This I believe is a turning point for all parties – mind you, it has not been attempted before on the continent, well not on such a scale and it is a testament to the benefits of a partnership. There are both personal and institutional goals but both AfLIA and the Wikimedia Foundation (and loudly, I, in the background) agree on some aspects :

We have talked a lot about being able to represent our facts and tell our stories thus the focus on local languages and CCC (Cultural Context Content). The course (which is an adaptation of the will be conducted in English, French and Portuguese but the skills and content therein are very much translatable to a local context. Call it decolonising our realities.

In terms of training/ skills/ empowerment which is really the bulk of the work, this is already underway –  we recently had the honour of “wrapping up” with the pilot cohort who as a group gave us very valuable insights which we were able to incorporate into the material for the main cohort. We are hosting the first main cohort between February 1 st and April 24th and if the number of responses is the only indicator of success, then I can say it has been received positively or our networks served us well or both.

Through a pre-course survey, 54% of respondents reported that they were not aware of any Wikimedia community in their locale. Keep in mind that a number of African wiki communities also reported limitations in their ability to initiate GLAM-related initiatives since they had no access to the network that is the librarian community in Africa. This, therefore, provides the project with the opportunity to nurture relationships between these two communities and hope that the results will be worthwhile.

At this point I need to mention that I do not work alone, I see myself merely as a liaison between this particular outreach of the Wikimedia Foundation and AfLIA’s step in fulfilling its core objectives. We do have all these interesting projects lined up and which you will be hearing about in the near future.

How could the library community support these projects?

The experience with the pilot cohort brought to the fore a number of issues – we knew they existed, we just did not know the depth to which they ran. First, there was a huge disconnect between the librarians’ community in Africa and Wikipedia! 54% of a group of information professionals not knowing about their potential partners in the Free Knowledge movement begs a lot of questions!

With that in mind, we are training librarians from over 30 countries in Africa so we constantly encourage institutional buy-in for them to realise the benefits of such training for their staff. From personal experience, you would be surprised outright negativity we have to deal with and I do commend the librarians who have made an individual effort to be part of this project

With the situation presented by COVID-19, the library community has not been spared the reality of being increasingly distributed and virtual and now more than ever, driven by heterogeneous interests in both training and content. I would therefore encourage information institutions to engage with the librarians we are training on thematic contribution where possible. Depending on the nature or mission of the institution, some may focus on image release, others on community engagement, others on content generation.

The project would benefit greatly from the shared expertise of librarians who have also experienced Wikipedians. A good number work in isolation so if and when they read this, perhaps they should contact us.

Lastly, this presents an opportunity for the community to engage in alternative pathways to individual development mainly by supporting the human resource they have. Institutions and individuals that may not for example offer space could offer publicity or actively encourage their staff to participate in programs such as these, offer access to hard-to-access resources eg those behind paywalls or historical collections to support thematic engagement

Would you like to add anything?

Lots and lots and some more – it’s hard to choose without writing a whole dissertation. Since I have and cannot fully exhaust whatever it is on this here forum, a lot is happening

You can also keep yourself updated by visiting the project page and following us on social media.

To us, the Free Knowledge movement is not the last frontier as much as it is a new frontier.  I like to think with this project that and this project is mutually beneficial.


Z. Blace & Kristian Benić: building Wikiprojects at the Rijeka City Library (Croatia)

The Rijeka City Library started to engage in Wikimedia activities within the library led by  Z. Blace and Kristian Benić. IFLA is delighted to travel to Croatia to have a dive in this project.

1. Thank you for agreeing to participate in this interview, could you please tell us more about yourself and your collaborators?

Z: Z. Blace (~Zblace) – artist and cultural worker, active in advocating open and free digital commons with communities and institutions, cross-pollinating queer/commoning

Z. Blace, Telekomunmunist International satellite event of Transmediale in Berlin, 2016/02/26 photo by Alp Klanten

perspectives and embodied experiences across different networks and contexts… and now first Wikimedian in Residence in Croatia.

K: Kristian Benić, head of marketing and projects at Rijeka City Library, which includes all sort of activities, but most importantly for this context being the editor of our two online media projects Magazin GKR https://gkr.hr/Magazin and Brickzine https://brickzine.hr that also have printed editions periodically, as a magazine for children and parents.

2. Could you explain to us how and why this position was born within the Rijeka City Library (Croatia)?

K: Rijeka City Library is for many years seen in Croatia as one of the most progressive, innovative and fast membership growing, although at the same time it has huge infrastructural challenges. This was the first library in Croatia that established a maker-space with 3D printers GKR Lab https://gkr.hr/Lab, has one of the most effective digital communication strategies online, newsletter and generally openness to ordinary people who can write about books and more. We really want to be in the first row of the big everyday changes and at the same time empower communities that we serve. Library is not just a service, it is an active community stakeholder and can serve as a platform for progressive ideas.

Z: I was interested in GKR work before (was interviewed by their Magazine for doing an exhibition a few years ago) and also in the city as a super interesting non-capital and ofte

Photo of Kristian Benić lecture about history of geek culture in Yugoslavia, by Lucija Jančec, CC BY-SA 4.0

n border-case city that is the 2020 European Capital of Culture. I suggested that we try doing something and for them to test the format of having artist-in-residence as a wikimedian and organizer. In the pandemic they remained flexible enough to test this, though it was hard to operate so we submitted this as a rapid grant proposal to Wikimedia Foundation. We are remote, but learning things online on the fly and it is an interesting challenge to navigate the Wikimedia world where (almost) nothing is hidden/deleted, but many things are non-obvious.

3. Have you heard of a similar job in the library or GLAM sector in Croatia before? If not, what do you think about the creation of such a position could mean?

K : I am also not aware of activities with Wikimedia in Croatia. That is a little bit strange because concepts like one Wikipedia develops is perfect for all sorts of librarian activities. Wikipedia changed the role and meaning of printed encyclopedias which used to be one of the most important parts of traditional libraries.

Z: In short this is an exception and first step. I reached out to WMF to ask and indeed it seems that this is a first WiR position in Croatia, so fairly late, but also not too surprising considering the terrible reputation Croatian instance of Wikipedia has for about a decade. GLAM sector in Croatia is not really univocal or even coordinated around policies like digital commons, so I hope to advance that in both the city of Rijeka, Croatia and the region. Think my experience as a new media practitioner and cultural networker is good for a start as WiR now on the smallest WMF experimental grant, but in future different types, scales, resources, plans and capacities should be developed once basic understanding exists.

4. What is the development strategy on Wikimedia projects within your institution? Or do you have to create your roadmap?

K: For our library all of this is really new. With Z. we are actually learning about potentials and searching for the best options in the future. But the general idea is to form some kind of local community which is interested in creating high quality content for Wikipedia/Wikimedia and to empower a few librarians for educational activities, try some new event formats…

Z: We are in the learning, roadmap building phase so hope to have the first version of ‘strategy’ by the end of this harsh year (that will include reflecting on #Rijeka2020 and 20 years Wikipedia anniversary). We try to establish basis for Croatian GLAM coordination with Multimedia Institute that did pioneering work on CreativeCommons, but also establish new actions like our crossover of established #WikiLovesLibraries and #WikiLovesMonuments with ~OkGsG and ~GK_Ivan_Vidali remote libraries that operate as cultural centers). We also did #femWikiRAINBOW as an intervention into CEE Spring translation event, than few small local workshops (#1, #2, #3), presentations and follow-up with education, outreach and networking to individuals, groups, NGOs, institutions before the end of 2020.
All this only makes sense if there are ripple and multiplier effects that go in directions of different communities and stakeholders. Only in sinergy significant changes can happen.


Wikimedia workshop in Rijeka with Z Blace, Kristian Benić, CC BY 4.0

5. How do you think Wikimedia projects support the work and objectives of libraries?

K: As I said, Wikimedia projects seem perfect for libraries and librarians because they have skills and approaches that can be really useful in the post-factual world. At the same time libraries are some kind of open spaces which have a role to empower communities, they are used by all sorts of different groups so they can be really helpful in removing some fog around Wikimedia.


Z: Libraries are super important as cultural (infra)structures that both preserve and bring coherence in the super complex and problematic times. Kristian used the post-factual world example, but I would also add post-social (here post-socialist and pseudo-capitalist). Much of the shared ‘norms’ have either collapsed (like a sense of communal good and responsibility) or have been reducing (like middle-class life quality and public services).

We live in “a small country for a great vacation” that from soft-socialism fell into most wild privatization and corruption of (post)war mess. WikiMedia as a site of participative co-editing and co-curating, sometimes even co-production that can help re-socialize knowledge work.

It is not easy to judge for the moment as Wikimedia projects are so many and it is not super easy to get an overview and even more to be clear how to make the most of them and where to focus (they have different internal dynamics or state of adoption and even dormancy)…
Taking part in Wikimedians in Residence Exchange Network – WREN  makes it a bit easier as I know who to ask for advice (at least when I can formulate questions). Hope that young librarians in Croatia will have use Wikimedia support to work with both as WiRs in 2021.


The 10-Minute International Librarian #2: Improve a Library-Related Wikipedia Page

For those with access, the internet has opened up exciting new possibilities to access information and discover the world.

Libraries globally are doing great work to make it easier for as many people as possible to find and use their collections.

In parallel, sites like Wikipedia help bring together knowledge from thousands and thousands of contributors, and give access to this for free.

Indeed, we’re currently celebrating #1Lib1Ref – a biannual effort to work with librarians to improve the quality of articles on Wikipedia.

But Wikipedia articles don’t just need to be by librarians – they can also be about them and their work.

So for our 2nd 10-Minute International Librarian exercise, find and improve a library-related Wikipedia page!

Ensuring your library appears on Wikipedia can be a great way of helping both your users, and other librarians around the world find out about your building and your services.

Or you could ensure that the pages about key institutions or concepts related to libraries are up-to-date, helping colleagues elsewhere.

Find out more about how to edit Wikipedia on the #1Lib1Ref page and on our blog!

This idea relates to the IFLA Strategy! Strategic Direction 2, Key Initiative 2: Deliver high quality campaigns, information and other communications products on a regular basis to engage and energise libraries


As we publish more ideas, you will be able to view these using the #10MinuteInternationalLibrarian tag on this blog, and of course on IFLA’s Ideas Store! Do also share your ideas in the comments box.

#1Lib1Ref from the 15th May to the 5th of June

From 15th May to 5th June, IFLA continues its support of the #1Lib1Ref campaign (1 Librarian, 1 Reference)

What is #1Lib1Ref?
#1Lib1Ref is an event launched by the Wikimedia Foundation and which aims to invite librarians around the world to add sources to Wikipedia! IFLA is delighted to promote and support libraries’ efforts to get involved in this campaign.

Why add sources to Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is one of the most popular educational and information sites worldwide. People use Wikipedia to find information, whether it is the general public, students, researchers or librarians. As a free resource, it can be, for many, a vital – or even the only – reference they have on an issue.

Improving the quality of articles on Wikipedia means both fighting false information, detecting and structuring information, and promoting knowledge of important sources in relevant fields.

Why do libraries around the world have a role to play?

Wikipedia has a very precise policy on the reliability of sources! Each piece of information added in Wikipedia should be backed up by secondary sources, either a book or two articles.
Libraries collectively hold a wealth of documents which can be extremely valuable documentary sources for Wikipedia. Each book and article ever published is a potential goldmine of references.
Several themes dear to libraries are at the core of this project: combating misinformation; access to information and knowledge; and the development of resources and spaces for learning that complement the work of libraries themselves.

In addition, it is valuable for libraries to engage in each country because each nation, each community has its history, its perspective on its history and the sources attached to it.

In order to have a better representation on Wikipedia, it is necessary to bring together different visions and sources so that citizens can build a balanced opinion.

How to participate?

#1Lib1Ref is an initiative which aims to invite librarians to contribute to Wikipedia, and provide an opportunity to think about how to integrate this as a new way of delivering on the mission of libraries to provide equitable and universal access to information.

Everyone can adapt this initiative according to what they consider relevant.

There are libraries contributing to the addition of references on Wikidata rather than on Wikipedia. Some libraries organise national contests between library institutions to find out who will contribute the most and others hold workshops with their audiences to teach them how to contribute and add sources on Wikipedia.

If you want more information, you can check this page: here.