Wikimania 2012

Last Saturday I spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of Wikimedians at the Wikimania 2012 Conference here in Washington. Over 1400 people from 87 countries came together to talk, hack, and share their expertise and experiences at the week-long event.  I was glad to share in their joie de vivre and to talk about our common missions at the closing plenary session.

Check out the enthusiasm for the National Archives at Wikimania 2012:

Merrilee Tattoo
Merrilee Proffitt, Senior Program Officer at OCLC Research, and NARA enthusiast
Dominic Tattoo
National Archives’ Wikipedian in Residence, Dominic McDevitt-Parks

So you may be asking why the Archivist of the United States is so interested in working with the Wikimedia Foundation.  As I noted at the conference, 42% of Americans turn to Wikipedia for information.* It is a terrific way to make Archives content more transparent and available. If we are serious as an agency about our mission to provide access to permanent federal records, and indeed we are, then we must consider working with the community and using the power tools available through the Wikimedia Foundation.

Our Wikipedian in Residence (pictured above) has already worked with our staff to upload over 90,000 digital copies of our records to the Wikimedia Commons for use in Wikipedian articles.  We have several more projects in the pipeline, too, all in an effort to increase access to our records.

Here’s what I said to the crowd Saturday afternoon:

The conference had a robust backchannel of information through Twitter: #Wikimania

Recent posts about the National Archives’ participation in Wikimania 2012 include at Wikimedia DC’s blog.  Wikipedia’s editor newsletter, the Signpost, ran a feature on Wikimania includes a section summarizing my remarks.

*As per Pew poll:

9 thoughts on “Wikimania 2012

  1. I attended the “Wikipedia Loves Libraries” special session on Wednesday afternoon. An amazing event coordinated by Merrilee Proffitt and Max Klein (OCLC’s Resident Wikipedian). Max is planning a project involving OCLC’s VIAF (Virtual International Authority File), which will include a couple thousand of NARA’s original name authority records. Win! Here’s a link to a recent YouTube video featuring Merrilee and Max as they discuss linked library data and Wikipedia:

  2. Thank you so much for posting this – I learned so much. All the information presented in the video, on twitter (#wikimania), by commentators etc. was so helpful in expanding my knowledge and providing ideas to assist the faculty and students at my school library in the fall.

  3. Thanks for the mention Jerry. I met a lot of NARA staff over the past week, and just by virtue of the already close ties that OCLC has with NARA it seems like VIAF integration project is going to be mutually beneficial.

    As for Ferriero’s plenary, this was the second time I heard him deliver catchphrase “If Wikipedia is good enough for the Archivist of the United States..” but it’s still every bit as effective. The other time was, by the way, at Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit in Boston in 2011.

  4. And if you are wondering what “Wikipedia Loves Libraries” is, it’s a campaign being organized by Wikipedia for the fall to encourage libraries (and allied institutions, like archives and historical societies) to host events that will bring local Wikipedia volunteers into the building. The idea is to build bridges between the Wikipedia and library/archives communities, and maybe even have some working meetups where attendees edit articles related to the institution’s collections. Since NARA is a nationwide network of archival facilities, and not just in DC, my hope is that we can get involved in a big way, and host a series of these events and foster new local citizen archivists around the country. Learn more about Wikipedia Loves Libraries at

  5. I didn’t even know that they had a Wikimedian conference, this is definitely something that I would love to attend in the future because I love Wikipedia

  6. It was an amazing event and party, thanks to a solid org team and support from the Archive and Library of Congress, among others. By far the largest Wikimania to date… Thank you for sharing it with us, and writing so finely about it!

  7. I also ran across this great post from February about Yes We Scan!, which is sadly no longer open for comments. Is there some way to connect older posts with some more permanent space for discussion around them?

  8. It is unbelievable! Because I’ve been thinking how could I attribute to make people understand about Korean War more. And I thought I could use Wiki. And NARA & Wiki. It seems makeing perfect circle. ^^ Thank you for your excellent article!

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