Sum of all Swiss GLAMs aims to improve the information about heritage institutions on Wikidata and to promote the use of this information on Wikipedia and in other projects. The goal is to achieve a complete and high-quality inventory of heritage institutions and make this information available on an international level. The main aim of Sum of All Swiss GLAMs is to get Swiss heritage institutions and their umbrella organizations to actively participate in data maintenance on Wikidata alongside volunteer contributors. A Wikiproject page has been set up here: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Wikidata:WikiProject_Wiki_Loves_GLAMs.

Background and Context

Sum of all Swiss GLAMs is a spin-off of the project “Sum of all GLAMs”, carried through by Wiki Movimento Brazil in 2019 in collaboration with OpenGLAM CH. The Brazilian project, which was kindly supported by the MY-D Foundation, focussed on the creation of templates enabling the automated use of data from Wikidata in Wikipedia (infobox and M-Babel templates in different languages). In parallel, the project “Sum of all Swiss GLAMs” analysed the current state of data quality, data modelling and data completeness related to Swiss GLAMs on Wikidata. A case report on the state of January 2020 can be downloaded here as a pdf.

Project Goals & Strategies

The Sum of all Swiss GLAMs Onboarding Project focuses on two aspects: data provision and maintenance through a crowdsourcing approach; and promotion of actual data use to encourage data provision in the first place. 

Data Provision and Maintenance

The project will sensitize heritage institutions to the usefulness of Wikidata in the pursuit of their own mission. Currently, the use of Wikidata differs strongly from one institution type to the other. Some archives and libraries already make use of Wikidata to give their holdings greater visibility, namely by referencing relevant holdings of their institutions by means of the property “archives at”. Other institutions, such as the ETH Library and Swissbib, are developing their collection discovery systems with the help of Wikidata to enhance the users’ search experience. Nevertheless, the number of Swiss institutions making use of Wikidata is still rather low, in the museum community in particular. 

The project will encourage Swiss heritage institutions to check, correct and complement their data entries on Wikidata. Thereby, the focus will lie on providing information not only about the institutions themselves (first level of description), but also about the institutions’ holdings (second level of description).

As many institutions do not have any editing experience and some may not even know about the existence of Wikidata, the main challenge of this sensitization campaign is to engage the GLAMs in something completely new. To give a large number of institutions a first insight in Wikidata, to show the possibilities which it offers and to explain how to edit and query the database, free introductory courses and online tutorials will be provided that are particularly targeted at GLAMs. The courses and tutorials will be promoted through the various OpenGLAM CH communication channels (website, newsletter, mailing lists, Facebook, Twitter) and through the communication channels of the professional umbrella associations VSA, Bibliosuisse and VMS / ICOM Switzerland. 

Promotion of Data Use

In order to incentivize GLAMs to regularly update the information on Wikidata, it is important to show and promote the use of the data in a variety of applications. 

Some institutions already use Wikidata as a means to give their holdings greater visibility on Wikipedia or to improve their own collection discovery systems. One of the goals of the Sum of all Swiss GLAMs Onboarding Project is to familiarize a greater number of institutions with the opportunities offered by Wikidata as a central data repository that powers a variety of applications, including Wikipedia infoboxes, Google searches, graph-based searches in library discovery systems, Wikidata-powered maps used for a variety of campaigns, etc. 

By promoting its use, the project ensures that the data gets more visibility, which in turn encourages active data maintenance – not only by the institutions themselves, but also by the members of the Wikimedia community. As indicated in figure 1 below, greater data use thus promotes better data quality. And better data quality will enhance the benefits for the users of the various applications.

Feedback loops between data use and data quality:

Contact

Please contact andrea.allemann@opendata.ch if you would like to

  • know more about the Sum of All GLAMs project.
  • contribute to the project and be part of the working group.
  • host a workshop at your institution.
  • publish your institution’s data on Wikidata.
  • financially support the project.