Sunday, July 31, 2011

APC starts donating media, community building begins

Tony Naar, the General Manager Knowledge Services at the Australian Paralympic Committee, has been busy learning the ropes with Wikimedia Commons, and uploading images from the APC collections. Tony intends to negotiate releases for thousands of photos, videos and audio recordings, for the HOPAU project, and donate them to The Commons, so as to assist Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation volunteers to illustrate their work and improve coverage of the Australian paralympic movement. So far Tony has successfully negotiated and donated 90 images of athletes, teams, celebrations, and events, with many many more to come. Already, they're getting picked up by Wikipedia editors.

Images in the Images from the Australian Paralympic Committee category on Wikimedia Commons

The image of Prya Cooper poolside at the 1996 Summer Paralympics in Atlanta for example, has been added to four articles on the English Wikipedia, two articles on the German Wikipedia, one article in the West Frisian, and one in the Dutch Wikipedia. Just imagine if through the donation of these images, volunteers responded by generating articles for every Australian medal winning paralympian so far! That in itself would be a massive achievement, but what if we had pages for these athletes in several different languages? and what about the events in which they won their medals? And what about their coaches?... there's a lot of potential to get excited about here.. but we're new to this, so we'll heed wisdom and guidance.

Australian Wikimedia Foundation President, John Vandenberg has been giving us invaluable advice on community building in Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons, setting a steady and gradual pace for our project's presence in those projects. John has helped us familiarise with the Paralympics Taskforce page, and is teaching me (a terribly slow learner) how to monitor contributions to Australian coverage. John's approach is to find and assist current editors, and help improve their articles, and work at getting their pages featured on Wikipedia's Front Page feature known as "Did You Know". John has been maintaining the Paralympics Taskforce news, and watching Recent Changes for new Australian related content. Over time and following John's advice, we hope to develop a connection with the existing editor community, as well as bringing in new editors by running Wikipedia editing workshops in regions around Australia.

Community building is complex, difficult and delicate work, and we have a lot to learn from John. Fingers crossed we can do this!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's official! Press release goes out.

Australian athlete Bruce Wallrodt (Western Australia)
prepares to throw in the F53 seated javelin event
in which he won the bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games
See more images loaded to Wikimedia Commons
The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) today launched an exciting and innovative new project to tell the extraordinary story of the Paralympic sport movement in Australia.

Historians and experts from the University of Canberra, the University of Queensland and Wikimedia Australia will use Wikipedia and social networking tools, as well as traditional historical research, to tell Australia’s Paralympic history online and in print.

APC Chief Executive Jason Hellwig said the project will help ensure that the cultural and sporting significance of the Australian Paralympic movement is understood and recognised.

“We will assemble content from a variety of sources to engage the community and enhance the profile and presence of Paralympic sport,” Hellwig said.

“The result will be a rich, multi-dimensional history of the Paralympic movement in Australia, which can be added to as the Paralympic movement continues its rapid growth.”

The APC has secured the services of experienced sports historian Murray Phillips from the University of Queensland to lead the project.

“I have been writing sport history for over two decades, but the history of the Paralympic movement is a unique opportunity and I am thrilled to be involved. It is unique because it combines traditional forms of history with the ways in which the sporting past is created in the digital age,” Phillips said.

“This project will produce a book and online resources that capture the experiences of athletes, coaches, administrators and others who have generated the story of the Paralympic movement in Australia.”

In addition to Phillips’ involvement, the University of Queensland will engage the University of Canberra, through its National Institute of Sports Studies (UCNISS), to manage the project’s online components.

“The National Institute of Sport Studies is delighted and honoured to be a partner in this exciting venture,” said UCNISS Director, Professor Keith Lyons.

“We are keen to share our experience of open access publication in this project and to contribute to the flourishing of Australian Paralympic sport."

A key component of the project will be the establishment of an Australian Paralympic project through Wikipedia.

Wikimedia Australia President John Vandenberg said: “Our Australian user group will assist members of the Australian Paralympic community to contribute to the Wikipedia content as Wikipedia editors, helping to foster the sense of a Paralympic community.”

A program of outreach and support work will assist Wikipedia volunteer editors to engage with the Paralympic community to enhance Wikipedia’s Paralympic coverage through articles which incorporate and link to images, videos, audio and websites.

“We will address the gaps in the information about Australia’s contribution to the Paralympic movement through the publication of a large number of articles on Wikipedia – the world's largest free content website,” Mr Vandenberg said.

To assist in this process, the APC is making available through Wikimedia Commons a significant proportion of its photograph collection of more than 35,000 images. The first of these, from the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, are now available for free use through the Wikimedia Commons website. (Search “Australia at the 1996 Summer Paralympics”.)

The donation of photos will fill a gap in the availability of high quality images of Paralympic sport which can be used to highlight the achievements of this unique sporting movement. Photos from other Games and events will be progressively made available by the APC.

The project is part of the APC’s commitment to collect, manage and preserve Paralympic history in Australia, and is one of a number of APC initiatives currently underway to ensure Australia’s Paralympic history is accessible and understood.

The APC’s history project also includes:

  • Oral history interviews with major contributors to the Paralympic movement in Australia, through the National Library of Australia’ oral history program;
  • The production of audio-visual interviews to complement the oral histories;
  • The ongoing collection of Paralympic vision, images, audio and press clips managed by the Australian Sports Commission through the National Sports Information Centre.
  • The development of the APC’s in-house library;
  • The launch of the Australian Paralympic Hall of Fame, with the inaugural inductees to be announced on 29 August, 2011;
  • The staging of Paralympic Team reunions,
  • The establishment of an Australian Paralympic alumni;
  • A physical collection of memorabilia.
You can track the progress of this project, by following the project blog.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wikipedia and Commons work begins

Priya Cooper after medal presentation
at the 1996 Atlanta games
Laura Hale has drafted a new Wikipedia page for Australia at the 1996 Summer Paralympics, and work continues by a few experienced Wikipedia volunteers and HOPAU project people, to build up that page and cross check facts. See the discussion page for editing to-do lists and issues to work out, and please feel free to add any review comments and suggestions there, or edit the page directly. Our hope is to develop this page to a quality standard that will serve as an example for all subsequent Wikipedia pages covering Australia at Paralympic Games.

Tony Naar has been working to get 86 images taken during the 1996 Summer Games, released onto Wikimedia Commons so they can be used to compliment the new Wikipedia page. These images have begin appearing in the Wikimedia Commons category for the 1996 Summer Games.

John Vandenberg has nominated the new Wikipedia page for Wikipedia's Did You Know project, which could see our work listed on Wikipedia's main page. If successful, this may help our effort to attract collaborators to assist with editing. John has also tweaked the Wikipedia project space for the Paralympics Taskforce, adding a prominent news banner and mentioning the new page for Australia at the 1996 Summer Games. We hope this will also help in attracting more editors. We'll be doing our best at logging all Australian Paralympics Wikipedia work on that project page.

The Wikiversity page for The History of the Paralympic Movement in Australia project overall, continues to develop, with some items on the To-Do list getting check off, and a growing List of Contributors that we plan on reaching out to for assistance in editing Wikipedia articles - after we officially go public. A new Quality Statistic table was added by John that will track all Australian Paralympcis related Wikipedia pages and their status in the various quality review processes such as Featured Page.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Brisbane meetup in June

On 26 June 2011, Tony, Murray, Leigh and John met after the Brisbane Wikipedia Meetup. Thanks to Lankiveil who arranged an excellent meeting space with the Queensland Library, and joined us to discuss the project.

The notes from the meeting are on the project wiki, and main points included:

What's already on the wikis?

In May we commissioned Laura Hale to survey the Wikimedia Foundation projects for existing content, authors and statistical data relating to the Australian Paralympic movement. Laura completed the survey across the English Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikimedia Commons, Wikinews, Wikiquotes and Wikisource. We don't as yet have any knowledge of what is going on in other language projects. Graham Pearce checked Laura's work to see if he thought it was missing anything, and feels it caught all he would expect to find.

In all, Laura found 62 articles existing in the English Wikipedia as of 31 May 2011, 12 articles on Wiktionary, 228 media files on Wikimedia Commons, 1 article on Wikinews, 4 articles on Wikiquote, and 1 article of Wikisource.

At the very least, we can use these primary statistics to measure the over all impact of this project. But looking deeper, Laura's work gives us some clues as to whether an existing or potential editing community exists across the projects.

Based on Laura's survey of English Wikipedia, we can see that there are 6 users who have initiated more than 3 new Wikipedia articles that relate to Australia at the Paralympics. Based on that information, we will make contact with those users, tell them about our project, invite them to participate, and offer them library support for accessing information and media that might help them edit more pages relating to Australia at the Paralympics. We're aiming to begin this outreach work in mid July.

Monday, July 4, 2011

HOPAU blog for mobile viewers

The HOPAU blog now has a template design for mobile. Use the above QR code to get there. People browsing the blog on a mobile phone should now see the blog something like this:

Google groups for an email forum

We've set up an email list on Google groups. It is an open and public list, and membership is originally made up of people close to the project. It is intended as a communication channel for announcements and discussion relating broadly to the project, but primarily about the day to day running of it, issues and events.

Subscribe to History of the Australian Paralympics Movement

Visit this group

Wikiversity as a project space

Cover of the original tender PDF
UCNISS originally prepared their tender to the APC, on Wikiversity. It was an open tender. From the first sentence to the last image and budget amount, all of it was openly accessible to anyone with interest. UCNISS even extended an invitation to any 'competing' tenderer, to join the open tender if they saw strengths in a collaboration.

The APC took up the UCNISS proposal, and strengthened the proposal by adding an expert historian from the University of Queensland to the project, Murray Phillips. The project now continues to be managed and documented on the Wikiversity page, with the original tender now moved into a sub page archive.

Things like the project's objectives, monthly tasks, meeting notes, data sets, and budgets are stored on the Wikiversity project space. Some communication takes place there also, but the email list is the primary communication channel for day to day activities.

Welcome to HOPAU

HOPAU is the tag word for the project called 'History of the Australian Paralympic Movement'. This blog documents our progress. But first, a bit of background:

Early in 2011, The University of Canberra National Institute of Sport Studies(UCNISS) proposed that they help the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) to write the History of the Australian Paralympic Movement, using the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) wikis, namely Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and Wikibooks.
Our first objective is to try and build and sustain a volunteer editing community on Wikipedia and to a smaller extent, Wikimedia Commons. We want to work with that community to write a wide range of quality Wikipedia articles, and support that process by releasing and uploading a wide range of Australian Paralympic related media to Wikimedia Commons, such as audio and video content like interviews, productions and raw footage, quality images, and book and poster scans.
The APC has contracted an Historian at the University of Queensland named Murray Phillips, to participate in the review of nominated Wikipedia work, to compile a Wikibook to be called The History of the Paralympic Movement in Australia, and to produce that book into a printed and bound format.
This project will be managed and documented openly on Wikiversity, as well as theUCNISS-HOPAU blog, and the task force page on Wikipedia. Communications take place on the HOPAU email list and anywhere the #hopau tag is used.