Basque Wikimedians User Group/Reports/2017

After its inception in early 2016 (see Report 2016 here), the Basque Wikimedians User Group engaged in a dynamics aiming at improving the Basque Wikipedia project in many respects, which included a systematic approach towards off-wiki and outreach activities. It crystallized in both GLAM and Education outreach by means of different agreements with a museum, relevant academic institutions, notably the Basque public university UPV-EHU, and city libraries, centred in Donostia. These test programs operated successfully and enabled their renewal and consolidation during 2017, enriched with further collaborations and initiatives.[1][2]

In 2017, the Basque Wikimedians User Group has faced challenges internally related to its expansion, like the inclusion of new individual members and collaborators, an organizational re-arrangement, financial uncertainties derived from the delayed funding expected for the Education Program, as well as the need for task specific posts assigned to coordination and management of the Education Program. Despite the growing pains, the new initiatives have gathered momentum and found an audience made up of individuals and different institutions, finding also considerable echo in the different mass media, by receiving coverage in the BWUG's own platforms (Twitter, Facebook), including a new website with our own domain, and from local and regional outlets.

Education outreach edit

Agreement with UPV-EHU edit

The Basque Wikimedians User Group has bet hard on Education outreach. Following the auspicious 2016 autumn term, a new agreement was signed up with the UPV-EHU to increase collaboration. The compromise was visualized in two workshops (one of them Medicine in the Campus of Leioa; another one in the Campus of Gipuzkoa) during March and April, 9 hours altogether, with 50 students attending each.

The BWUG, however, was not intending to target only university officials. We have also take a bottom-top approach by explaining what we are doing with other lecturers and persuading them to incorporate Wiki Education into their syllabus, as it happened in the Medicine course taking place in Leioa, Biscay.[3] At the same time, the Education program combined with GLAM collaboration, when Education College students collaborated with the GLAM Program's Children Library of Donostia to draw up 19 Wikipedia articles of that domain.

Agreement with UEU, Basque Summer University edit


The collaboration with university did not stop there. The BWUG reached an agreement with the UEU, Basque Summer University with a view to launching a one-day long course in their yearly summer courses. That took place on 6 July in the flagship Tabakalera Centre for Contemporary Culture. The course addressed the latest updated information and innovations of the different Wikimedia projects involved in the Basque WP, with a turnout of circa 40 participants. The course, managed by Aitzol Astigarraga, provided insight and training on Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata. This event counted on the cooperation of Wikimujeres in the Basque Country, with whom the Basque Wikimedians opened a collaboration line to fill the gender gap in the Basque WP articles.[4]

Thanks to this partnership with the UEU, further initiatives where taken to have a Wikipedian in residence releasing the Basque Summer University's text material, as well as selecting and uploading images to Commons, including charts, and especially maps; see here. The resident in charge selected for the operation was AnttonUgarte.

Education Program: 12-16 edit

The Basque mass media and education officials took good notice of the Basque Wikipedia's activity and its relevance when it comes to the education of our children, with metrics revealing that schoolchildren 12–16 years old and students make up for the large majority of Basque Wikipedia readers, concentrating especially on workdays. The program is also intent on countering the gender gap as a cross curricular subject and includes 70 articles to work on for their creation or improvement.

Wikipedia was revealed as an important niche for opportunity and improvement, since quality of articles was lagging behind quantity. In addition, gaps were detected in relation to certain must-have topics and articles with a presence in major language projects. This provision was also targeted. Following talks with the Culture Division of the autonomous Basque Government, an informal agreement in May opened the way for the 12-16 Education Program, a two-year duration scheme backed with financial support. We looked into the topics needing coverage in Wikipedia with the Berritzegune, the Basque Agency for Pedagogic Innovation in First and Secondary Education.

The first implementation of the program took place with a course in UPV-EHU's Campus of Álava, at the Faculty of Arts, Translation and Interpreting, where students registering would receive an academic credit for the autumn term; the course reached its climax on 25 October at a motivational and hands-on event, with volunteering Basque wikimedians assisting the new undergraduate editors with their technical queries.

In order to cater for the pedagogic needs related to instruction on Wikipedia aimed at the students, we assigned the translation of the Dashboard and several other resources like the pdf Handbooks, due out in 2018 (Meta-Wiki, Translatewiki). These and other developments in the Basque Wikipedia were presented by Theklan in the Durango Fair, an annual Basque cultural landmark, where the BWUG secured a space called Kabia, "the Nest", for one day, a slot devoted to technological innovations.

GLAM Outreach edit

Since 2016, the BWUG has tightened ties with the public library network of Donostia on a partnership with Donostia Kultura, the city's culture division, with a special focus on Basque Children Literature and based in the city's Children's Literature Documentation Centre in collaboration with the Education College of the University of the Basque Country, Campus of Gipuzkoa. This cooperation was renewed for another year, chrystallizing in the Children's Literature Wikiproject 2017, coordinated by Leire Cano as a Wikipedia resident and Xabier Cañas from March 2017 to December 2017. She was in charge of arranging the participation of students in the elaboration of writers' articles.


As of March 2017, the program engaged librarians, the Liburuzainak, within the framework of Wikiliburutegiak (Wikilibraries). 15 librarians gathered on Fridays to improve articles on Basque writers, books, illustrators, and translators. Another job of theirs consisted of a collaboration with Catalan librarians by translating articles on 25 Catalan and Basque authors, using Spanish as a lingua franca in their pursuit, with their Catalan peers doing inversely the same. This job was called Idazlezainak ("Writers' curators"); check out the link (in Basque) for goals, resources, and participants in further detail.

Record of writer Mariasun Landa's introduction

From September to December, their task switched to the release of literature book covers, the recording of writers' voices and their artistic portrayal, as well as the engagement of education students in the elaboration of articles; see full Outreach reports, March, April, and June. (hemen estatistika zerbait behar da) We staged a final, modest recognition event in the basement of the Victoria Eugenia Theatre celebrating the engagement, hard work and achievements of the partipant librarians on 4 December, attended by librarians, as well as local culture personalities and agents, and Wikipedians. The event summarized the whole year's work and acknowledged the commitment of the librarians. On 8 December, our member and librarian Merzab presented a summary rearview of the program at the Fair of Durango's Kabia; see full details in the January 2018 GLAM Report.[5][6][7][8]

In addition, October saw the initiation of relations with the foundation Elhuyar, also a holder of a large terminology base and a major publisher of specialized science contents in Basque with a view to collaborating, persuading them to release certain materials and transfer terminology definitions and names into Wikidata. These synergy eventually bore fruit in January 2018, since a large number of specialized concepts have been uploaded to Wikidata.

Internal organization edit

A meeting in Eibar
Tabakalera building

2017 is an year full of challenges for the internal cohesion of the group. While 2016 bore witness to the establishment of the Basque Wikimedians User Group, 2017 has seen a re-arrangement of the group into different branches and positions to deal with specific tasks and programs. The board of the group is made up of 5 members, and the whole organization numbers 12 members by 31 December 2017, underpinned with 2 new members.

The BWUG has held three meetings during the year in order to face up to the quickly changing challenges. Due to the make-up of the organization, the meetings have been held in Gipuzkoa. i.e. 18 February, 20 October. As of September, the new office of the group, made up of two computers and desks in a co-working facility, lies at the Tabakalera, Centre for Contemporary Art and Culture, Donostia.

In order to deal with the heavy workload derived from the Education Program, a team splitting from the BWUG takes the full burden of the jobs related to the program, for which a budget has been assigned with all the terms and conditions required by law. This is coordinated by Theklan, who is not now a member of the group. Edagit is in charge of administration and accountancy. Tasks of translation (see above) were assigned to translators with a knowledge in the resource, including them in the budget.

The group has held three meetings on 18 February, July, and 20 October, regular and according to circumstances. In addition, communication has been fluent among members, using for the purpose different digital channels such as the email group, or Whatsapp. Whenever on-site meeting was not possible, Skype was also used. The communication and diffusion of the group's messages are via Twitter, Facebook, and our new wikimedia website with featured articles related to our activity and initiatives. (hemen estatistika behar dira)

Other activities edit

Off-wiki activities edit

  • 20 March - Press release outlining the 2017 plan. It took place in the Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea, central Donostia, along with Kike Amonarriz, a senior Basque culture personality, as a guest.[9][10][11][12]
  • 25 March - Publication on Pediapress of the first version of the Uliako Mintegietako Parkea book, including 81 WP articles contained in 331; it is based on the wikiproject Uliako Lorebaratzak ("Park of Nurseries of Ulia"); the first version has been upgraded to a second version now made in January 2018 into a hard copy of limited circulation, following the Foundations' allocation of a grant in December 2017.
  • 28 March - Presentation and workshop on Wikipedia held at Zizpa gaztetxea (Q25476832), in Bayonne.[13][14]
  • 8 April - Group participation with our own kilometre in the Korrika, the biannual popular race in support of the Basque language.
  • 27 May - Wikipedia training workshop staged along with the Azkue Foundation at the Euskararen Etxea, "the Basque language house", Bilbao.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25]
  • 13 June - Intervention of our member Xabier Cañas at the presentation of the platform Basque Ethnopole, devoted to the preservation and recreation of heritage for everyday use and artistic creation, along with other culture agents of the area. It took place in the Basque Museum, Bayonne. Find more details in media coverage section below.
  • 7 September - Presentation of the Basque WikiLoves Monuments, spanning for the month of September; the event took place in Vitoria-Gasteiz and was hosted by our president Xabier Armendaritz and Theklan along with our new partner Azkue Foundation.
  • 8 December - BWUG in the Fair of Durango. We had a slot allocated for us, called Kabia, "the Nest", for the whole day. The space played host to the presentation of the Education Program, the explanations provided by our member and librarian MerZab, also featuring a Photo-call space to make the most of the opportunity and take pictures of Basque culture personalities attending the fair, with hundreds of pictures uploaded subsequently to Commons; further details here.

On-wiki activities edit

Basque Wikimedians have participated in initiatives undertaken by other Wikipedias, such as Intercultur in early 2017, an article production contest for the Spanish domain. We also launched our own Basque WikiLoves Monuments during September, providing the springboard for the Worldwide WikiLoves Monument contest the following month. Also in October, we held the Basque river landscapes contest, that counted on a wide participation chrystallizing in the uploading of a good number of articles.

Itinerancies edit

The Basque Wikimedians User Group has stuck to its path initiated in 2016 determined to participate in external and international events and meet-ups with other Wikipedia projects and Wikimedia, looking for collaboration with them. Communication has been therefore fluid with Wikimedia Spain, Wikimedia France, and projects of our surrounding area.

Notwithstanding, the BWUG is naturally inclined to cooperation with minority language projects, and a special focus on the European ones. Therefore, the Basque Wikipedia and the BWUG have gained a certain notoriety in relation to its dynamism on that sphere. We have actively participated in the following:

Media coverage edit