GLAM Wiki CSI (Contribution Study Initiative) or GLAM CSI is a project to assess the contribution pipeline in the Wikimedia technical infrastructure for supporting cultural and heritage partnerships and projects.

GLAM Wiki CSI - Contribution Study Initiative



SURVEY OPEN: GLAM CSI survey for Wikimedia contributors

This survey takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete and covers several areas, including your current participation in Wikimedia activities, the challenges you face, and tools you find most helpful. You are invited to respond on behalf of your institution, a specific project, a Wikimedia affiliate, or an individual contributor.



The project examines the ongoing efforts from the Smithsonian Institution and other cultural and heritage partners to produce real-life user stories from various GLAM-Wiki efforts.

The report will document the needs and practices of content partners for participating in Wikimedia activities while identifying the opportunities for improvement and prototyping possible solutions, particularly on the shared focus of addressing knowledge gaps.

Gathering feedback will be done both synchronously and asynchronously. We will create a survey as an initial means of gathering a breadth of information from various stakeholders. The survey will also allow the research team to follow up with respondents to gain a deeper understanding of areas of interest.

The insights from this survey will be used to:

  • Establish focus groups for more in-depth interviews
  • Develop first draft personas, user stories and user journeys
  • Identify tools that should be mentioned as helpful in the final report
  • Diagnose gaps in tools for GLAMs

The goal is to gather the first round of feedback through March and mid-April 2024.


  • Andrew Lih, Wikimedian at Large, Smithsonian Institution, USA - User:Fuzheado



When Wikipedia was founded in 2001, engagement between the Wikimedia community and the cultural/heritage sector was not immediate. Could you trust Wikipedia's content and its volunteer community of contributors?

Wikimania 2008 at the Library of Alexandria, Egypt

Interest gained traction in 2008, when the Wikimania conference was hosted by the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, signaling a shift in traditional institutions acknowledging Wikipedia's emergence as the world's foremost reference site. In 2010, collaboration with the cultural sector took on the label "GLAM Wiki" when Liam Wyatt was the first Wikipedian-in-residence, at the British Museum in London. These initial collaborations took the form of joint public events such as edit-a-thons for article improvement, or the uploading to Wikimedia Commons of digital images of photos, documents, or collections with their associated metadata. Because of this increased need for contribution at scale, tools to mass upload image collections from GLAM institutions were developed to go beyond the standard Upload Wizard. These included specially developed utilities such as flickr2commons to allow "side loading" from existing license-compliant albums from users on, or the development of commons:Commons:GLAMwiki Toolset Project by Europeana and EU-based Wikimedia chapters.

The advent of Wikidata in 2012 brought GLAM Wiki collaboration to a new level, particularly with libraries working with controlled vocabularies and data taxonomies. Wikidata's support for structured data and authority control records resonated with them, resulting in Wikidata training and sessions becoming a staple at top librarian conferences such as IFLA and LD4.

In 2016, the addition of Wikidata-like capabilities to Wikimedia Commons was initiated with the Structured Data on Commons project. This opened up more possibilities to full collections contributions by GLAM institutions, given the much wider scope of Commons, versus the stricter notability guidelines of Wikidata and Wikipedia.

However, in 2023 there was a significant concern about the uncertainty around the direction of GLAM Wiki efforts with a number of issues, many of which were highlighted by the Wikimedians in Residence Exchange Network User Group in a GLAM manifesto report and a session at Wikimania. Among the areas of concern were issues related to:

  • Contribution - Mass image uploading tools such as Pattypan were not being maintained, causing frustration for many GLAM partners
  • Enrichment - Uncertainty around the direction of Structured Data on Commons and the associated Commons Query Service
  • Measurement and evaluation - Many metrics tools became inoperable in 2023, leading to a number of GLAM institutions pausing their wiki efforts
Example of tools used by GLAM institutions in a Linked Open Data workflow. (From: wikidata:Wikidata:Linked open data workflow)

The report also highlighted progress: the Wikimedia movement has invested in OpenRefine, Thumbor and references for SDC during that period. However, there was overall concern about the general state of the tools as described in the Wikidata:Linked open data workflow.

It is within this climate that a proposal at the end of 2023 was made to better study and capture user stories and customer journeys to guide decisions going forward, with the Smithsonian Institution leading the study, in cooperation with the GLAM wiki community.

Plans and status






SURVEY OPEN: GLAM CSI survey for Wikimedia contributors

This survey takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete and covers several areas, including your current participation in Wikimedia activities, the challenges you face, and tools you find most helpful. You are invited to respond on behalf of your institution, a specific project, a Wikimedia affiliate, or an individual contributor.



Planned milestones and feedback sessions at upcoming conferences and gatherings:

    • Identify key stakeholders for interview and feedback, with a prioritization on the creation of user stories and customer journey map. Begin identification of key tools based on Content Partnerships Hub survey from 2022, extending it to new tools and facilities.
    • March - Finalize research survey in consultation with GLAM wiki community
    • April - European GLAM coordinators online meeting describing survey and participation
    • Start production of user stories and journey map for feedback, gather detailed data around technical contribution pipeline. Begin pilot prototyping the use of DPLA /Smithsonian metadata and content uploading on a smaller Smithsonian units.
    • May 3-6 - Wikimedia Hackathon in Tallinn, Estonia, and GLAM + AI Sauna, Helsinki, Finland
    • Publish drafts of intermediate results for feedback from key stakeholders and Wikimedia community. Incorporate feedback and prepare report.
    • mid-June - Intermediate results published and feedback sessions with GLAM community
    • June 20, 2024 - Wiki Workshop as possible avenue for results and feedback (
    • August 7-10, 2024 - Wikimania 2024 in Katowice, Poland, as part of the GLAM track
      • Planned presentation of user stories results and evaluate feedback from GLAM wiki community
      • Brainstorming of solutions and demonstrating prototyping directions
    • Refine report and begin drafting recommendations based on feedback. Begin dissemination and discussion of results at major gatherings including Wikimania, WikiConference, or high value gatherings (emphasis on November 2024 events).
    • October 3-6, 2024 - WikiConference North America in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
      • Presentation of final user stories for refinement
      • Test prototypes of solutions and receive feedback on possible directions
    • November 2024 - Museum Computer Network (date to be determined)
      • Potential venue for disseminating customer journey/user stories for general feedback and tool demonstration


WikiConference North America 2023 - GLAM Wiki Tools Roundtable with Selena Deckelmann and Andrew Lih

Some initial work has already been done at WikiConference North America in November 2023, with a session among GLAM wiki professionals and volunteers, and Wikimedia Foundation CPTO Selena Deckelmann. This gathering of 20-30 individuals provided good initial research for the CSI effort that helped produce some key stakeholder insights.

Proposed timeline


To be announced.

The project is scheduled to be completed by December 2024.

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User stories


Potential user stories


See also