Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wikimedia + Archives of American Art = #wikilove

This summer I have the pleasure and honor of being the first Wikipedian-in-Residence at the Smithsonian! More specifically, I'll be spending the next few months working at and with the Archives of American Art. The Archives of American Art holdings consist of the world's largest collection of primary resources related to American art - from letters to photos, sketches to oral histories - if you are an art historian, there will most likely be a time when you will seek to utilize the archives of AAA.

(To the right is Greek-American artist Jean Xceron from AAA's collection. This photo is in the public domain, as it was taken by the Works Progress Administration! And yes, it's in Commons already ;)

I will be working closely with Sara Snyder, webmaster, Karen Weiss, the Archives Information Systems Manager, and curatorial, collections and archival staff. Their passion for sharing and digitizing their collections are inspiring, and I can only hope that my own passion for sharing, educating and "freeing information" can be equally as inspiring - encouraging to other Smithsonian related organizations too.

One question I get frequently is "What the heck is a Wikipedian-in-Residence?" You can learn a bit more about the concept & origin from the first Wikipedian-in-Residence Liam Wyatt's blog.

There are a few things I hope to achieve there this summer, some of these plans include:

  • Expand coverage on Wikipedia about topics relevant to the Archives of American Art's collection. This includes providing sources for existing pages and writing non-existent pages about notable topics.
  • A content donation to Wikimedia Commons.
  • Work on an e-volunteer program, inspired by the Indianapolis Museum of Art's program.
  • Collaborate with art history related educational programs outside of the museum (university level) to work with students for article contributions.
  • Brown bags and workshops with Smithsonian employee & volunteers.
  • Examine statistical data related to traffic from Wikimedia websites to the AAA's website.
  • A backstage pass tour for GLAMWIKI.
  • Case study
  • .....and so much more!
I've also been speaking with other GLAMs about their involvement with Wikimedia, including the National Building Museum and the Special Collections Resource Center at George Washington University. The National Archives will also have a Wikipedian-in-Residence this summer! This is already turning out to be a great year to be a Wikipedian, riding the wave of the free encyclopedia's 10th birthday and the search for affordable and unique ways for GLAMs to expand awareness about their collections.

A quick side note - if you haven't had a chance to read Lori Phillips's guest blog "Museums & Wikipedia: The Future of Collaboration and Accessibility" on the Center for the Future of Museum's website, then get on top of it, darnit. It really speaks for what we're hoping to achieve in GLAMWIKI, and as a fellow masters student (at different schools) and colleague of Lori's (the Wikipedian-in-Residence at The Children's Museum), I'm proud to be associated with her and her work, which has served as a cornerstone for GLAMWIKI work.

Thanks to all who have support my scholarly labors, and I can't wait to see what happens this summer!

1 comment:

  1. How are we looking at the paintings of Mark Rothko these days?
    Is he old hat, replaced in America by more contemporary concerns? Looking at his minimal canvases and their enticing floating squares of subdued paint live at the MOMA recently, I had to stop to wonder whether he still communicates to a modern and younger audience., the site that sells good canvas prints to order from their database of digital images, has many Rothko prints. I ordered this one, Blue and grey,
    , that I have now hanging in my study. I can spend a long time looking at this elusive image that takes me to some other place not in this world.