GLAM Organizations and Wikimedia Commons

mediaWikimedia Commons is a repository for free and sharable media content.  It is mostly commonly used for photographs but can also be used for video and audio recordings. The aim of Wikimedia Commons is to develop a resource of media that can be used for educational purposes that is open and freely accessible to all.

GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) around the world have chosen to contribute to Wikimedia Commons.  GLAM organizations often have public domain content in their holdings and uploading that content to Wikimedia commons is one way to make content more accessible.  The content can then also be linked to existing Wikipedia articles and enhance online knowledge of heritage collections.

For example, the Brooklyn Museum announced a project to” cross-post images of its collection to Wikimedia Commons and Internet Archive.” The museum planned to upload “5,157 primary object images and 4,354 Library & Archives images”.  The Brooklyn Museum is just one of many GLAM organizations around the world choosing to share their holdings in this way.

There is a decent FAQ page for GLAM users looking to upload content to Wikimedia commons that answers some of the common questions around image rights and the type of material that can be uploaded.  There is also a great checklist for organizations thinking about starting to upload their own material.  In may cases it may be possible to streamline the importing process if you’re looking to upload batches of images.

On the other side of the coin for GLAM professionals putting together presentations or editing existing Wikipedia content the Commons can be a great resource for visual material.

What have been your experiences using Wikipedia Commons as a GLAM or private user?

Remembrance Day in a Digital World

Each year it seems that the amount of material available to commemorate remembrance day and Canadian soldiers, grows tenfold. The mass amount of information available makes it easy to get lost while looking for relevant information. Below is a list which compiles some of the more educational and historically relevant sites I have come across.

The Veterans Affairs Canada site includes a wide variety of information on Canadian soldiers and commemoration. Some of the more noteworthy parts of this site include:

  • Heroes Remember–a video archive of personal recollections of various war efforts. This archive is searchable by both name and hometown.
  • The Canadian Virtual War Memorial–a registry of information about the graves and memorials of more than 116,000 Canadians who served. The interesting part of this being that the site also digital images of photographs and personal memorabilia about individual Canadians. Users can also contribute photos or information they may have about family members who served.
  • Diaries, Letters, and Stories–This is a collection of WWI and WWII solider diaries and letters, all of which have been transcribed and made available to the general public online. These first hand account of the potential to be used by students as primary sources.
  • Books of Remembrance–Many community libraries still house traditional books of remembrance. This archive features digital copies of many of the Books of Remembrance in the Memorial Chamber on Parliament Hill, and contains the names of many of those who participated in WWI and WWII.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) also features a number of online resources relating Canadian presence in various wars. These resources include:

  • A selection of War diaries, featuring excepts from soldiers diaries from WWI.
  • A virtual exhibit on WWII, “Faces of War.” The exhibit also allows users to explore photos from both the LAC collection and the collection held by DND.
  • Military Personnel records are also searchable via LAC. These records can be searched via names, location, military medals, war diaries, and war graves.

The Canadian Military History Gateway also features a number of interesting resources and ways of exploring Canada’s military history.

  • Canadian Military Reference Book–available in full text online, simple resource for anyone looking to gain a basic background in Canadian military history.
  • A number of lesson plans and educational suggestions relating to Canadian military history.

Lastly, From Colony to Country: A Reader’s Guide to Canadian Military History is a great resource for anyone looking for a comprehensive guide to the written material on Canadian military history. The site is divided up by military campaigns, and then each military campaign is divided into thematic subsections. The guide has been compiled by LAC and noteable military historians.

Authorship in an Online World.

Overwhelmed by search results? Struggling to keep up with Tweets? Buried under your RSS feeds? The amount of digital content and digital authorship is constantly growing. Today anyone can digitally publish content. Blogs, personal websites, twitter, and other social media have made it easy for individuals to create an online presence and produce “published” material.

Academics are picking up on the importance of creating an online presence. Granted, many Universities currently do not place the same weight on digital content as traditionally published works. However, this hanging onto traditional journal publishing may fade in nears to come.

The mass amount of online content raises the question of tracking changes in authorship, and the eventual movement towards a universal authorship. Currently, “authorship, including books and new media, is growing nearly tenfold each year…Authors, once a select minority, will soon be a majority.” [1]

What does this increased sense of authorship mean? Diversified and increased content for one. Additionally, the much used adage of “quality over quantity” becomes increasingly important in a world in which everyone can publish. However, it also opens a lot of opportunities to intelligent individuals who may not be able to publish in more traditional mediums. I see the growth of authorship as a benefit, but something which requires efficient means of gathering, organizing, and storing information

[1] Denis G. Pelli and Charles Bigelow, “Nearly Universal Literacy is a Defining Characteristic of Today’s Modern Civilization; Nearly Universal Authorship Will Shape Tomorrows”, SeedMagazine.