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!