Grants:APG/Proposals/2018-2019 round 1/Wikimedia UK/Impact report form

Purpose of the reportEdit

This form is for organizations receiving Annual Plan Grants to report on their results to date. For progress reports, the time period for this report will the first 6 months of each grant (e.g. 1 January - 30 June of the current year). For impact reports, the time period for this report will be the full 12 months of this grant, including the period already reported on in the progress report (e.g. 1 January - 31 December of the current year). This form includes four sections, addressing global metrics, program stories, financial information, and compliance. Please contact APG/FDC staff if you have questions about this form, or concerns submitting it by the deadline. After submitting the form, organizations will also meet with APG staff to discuss their progress.

Background & strategic contextEdit

2019-20 represents the first year in the delivery of our new three strategy. This has brought some refinement in our work on underrepresented knowledge, digital literacy, and advocacy for open knowledge. We also started introducing new metrics to help us hone in on measuring our work.

Strategic Framework for 2019–2022Edit

Wikimedia UK believes that open access to knowledge is a fundamental right, and a driver for social, educational and economic development. We work with the Wikimedia Projects such as Wikipedia to enable people and organisations to contribute to a shared understanding of the world through the democratic creation, distribution and consumption of knowledge. We are committed to the ideal of a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge, and believe that here in the UK, we can play a unique and important role in realising that vision.

Wikimedia UK’s strategy is informed by and supports the strategic direction of the global Wikimedia movement. Our work will focus on the knowledge and communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege; breaking down the barriers that prevent people and organisations from accessing and contributing to free knowledge, and supporting the development of technical solutions to help eradicate inequality and bias on the Wikimedia projects.

Our vision is of a more tolerant, informed and democratic society

Our mission is to be the platform which enables the long-term sustainable development and use of open knowledge in the UK

Wikimedia UK is working towards the following long-term outcomes:

  • Our work has significantly increased free, online access to knowledge
  • The Wikimedia projects reflect our diverse society and are free from systemic bias
  • Learners in the UK are able to understand and engage with open knowledge
  • High levels of information literacy have strengthened civil society and democratic processes
  • Wikimedia UK is recognised as a leading organisation for open knowledge

Our strategic aims for 2019–2022 are to:

  1. Increase the engagement with and representation of marginalised people and subjects
  2. Work with partners to develop digital, data and information literacy through Wikimedia
  3. Create changes in policy and practice that enable open knowledge to flourish
  4. Develop our capacity and profile as a leading organisation for open knowledge

The four goals below correspond to the four programme strands. These represent a refinement rather than an overhaul of our previous programmes, with many projects and partnerships having continued into 2019/20.

Our delivery model is based on the cross-cutting strategic priorities of partnerships, community and technology, which are an essential element of all our activities.

2019/20 Indicators, targets and logic models – backgroundEdit

As part of the process of renewing our strategy for 2019 - 2022, we reflected on and reviewed our success measures. In applying for 2019/20 funding from the Foundation, we defined and set targets for five metrics as required, which are the Grant Metrics and Defined Metrics below. Our aim for this year was to revise and shape our metrics in the light of the new strategy. We spent some time thinking about and developing these throughout the programme year, and are excited to share the initial baseline findings. We are not only hoping to gain a better understanding of our programme’s impact through these new metrics, but also to offer these insights and ideas to other organisations within the Wikimedia movement.

The new metric ideas presented below are inspired by the review of our delivery between 2016 and 2019 and reflections on our Theories of Change, as well as board-level discussions about outcomes, impact and programme excellence, which took place at our away day in September 2019.

In reviewing the logic models for our previous three programme strands, and designing new theories of change for each of our newly defined programmes, we were able to create an overall organisational theory of change, which draws together our vision and our strategic aims - making the link between the different areas of our work:

Wikimedia UK believes that to achieve our vision of a more tolerant, informed and democratic society we need to improve the representation of diverse people in the knowledge ecosystem, increase civic engagement by building digital literacy, and secure policy changes which increase access to open information for all. To effectively achieve these goals we must also work on strengthening our voice and sector recognition.
Without access to knowledge, we can’t build understanding. Without diversity of content, this understanding is limited.

Review of Strategic Delivery 2016 - 2019Edit

Early in 2019 we commissioned an extensive independent report on Wikimedia UK’s delivery during the period 2016 to 2019. The report aimed to summarise progress against our quantitative indicators, pull together the qualitative highlights of our programmes and provide an overall analysis of how our programme activities delivered on our 2016 - 2019 strategic framework and the short to intermediate outcomes identified in our logic models.

The report shows that we were overwhelmingly successful both in meeting our annual quantitative targets and in achieving both our short and intermediate outcomes. It draws on our very wide range of programme activities to illustrate the different approaches that we have taken, the many ways in which volunteers are involved in the delivery of our programme, and the different types of partnerships that have been developed.

The report explores some of the key achievements and innovations facilitated by the chapter during the past three years, such as the appointment of the first ever Wikidata Visiting Scholar, the launch of the first minority languages community conference, the achievement of gender parity in biographies on the Welsh Wikipedia and the creation of a digital literacy framework for Wikimedia. It also highlights the fact that a number of our Wikimedians in Residence - initially, by their nature, fixed term projects - have been so highly valued by their host institutions that the post has been made permanent.

Some of the numbers included in the report which don’t currently form part of our formal quantitative indicators include the 17 project grants awarded to volunteers, 82 community events and meetups, 195 Wikipedia editing events and 31 Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons training sessions, with activities organised in 98 different places across the UK. This extensive offline work with the Wikimedia UK community translated into significant online impact, with 2 million Wikimedia articles added or improved as a direct result of our programme over the three years under review.

Global metrics overview - all programsEdit

For more information and a sample, see Global Metrics.


Metric End of the Year Targets End of the Year Results Explanation and/or Examples of Activities
Participants GM1 6,000 7,475 People attending our events: Wikipedia in classroom courses, conferences, workshops, training, editathons, and community meetups. The rising popularity of Wikipedia in classroom courses increased our numbers here, particularly via the university-based Wikimedians in Residence.
Newly registered editors GM2 1,000 1,007 Mostly from education courses, plus Wiki Loves Monuments (WLM)  contest, our grant to support engaging dentistry students in editing,  and new editors trained as part of volunteers trained to help with uploads (e.g. WiciMon project in schools in Wales).
Articles added/improved GM3 250,000 397,202 Almost 120,000 new items on Wikidata on Welsh books, paintings from the National Library of Wales and P.B Abery photographs were added by the Wikidata Scholar at National Library of Wales (NLW) and the resident, 4862 Wikidata items created using metadata for each image - all data added in English and Welsh, items added to the Dictionary of Welsh Biography data, and about 210,000 edits on Wikidata, mainly cleaning data for images and adding image collections from Commons to improve this website: and edits to the data on Wikidata on Dictionary of Welsh Biography by the resident at NLW.

Remaining content comes from the rest of our programme activity, e.g. education courses.

Volunteer hours 20,000 24,225 5,400 hours come from Wikipedia in Classroom courses. 584 hours from editors part of the NLW Volunteer Programme creating and/or improving articles on health, the Dictionary of Welsh Biography and translation. 516 hours spent by students in Wales taking part in the WiciMon project in Wales. The rest are made up of wiki training, workshops, editathons, the AGM, meetups and other events (11,000 hours, including 1,600 hours of lead volunteers organising events and interacting with WMUK partner institutions).
Total audience and reach (online or in person engagement with Wikimedia UK) 70,000 64,510 Includes 56,584 social media subscribers, 7,475 event participants plus 451 leading volunteers. We had an issue with our website and blog for a number of months in 2019 which meant that visits and views were not tracked. We believe this explains why the target was not reached.

We are still pleased with the size of the audience we reached. In terms of real-life engagement at events, a few significant examples are worth highlighting: 180 people attended a speech by Robin Owain at the Our Voice in the World Festival in Aberystwyth, 120 people attended a workshop on editing Wikibooks at University College London, 500 people attended presentations on Wikidata at the Museums+Tech conference and during the Open Access Week by Martin Poulter and Jason Evans at the British Library in London, 250 people attended Lucy Crompton-Reid's keynote speech - Creating a more tolerant, informed and democratic society through open knowledge - at the CILIP Scotland Annual Conference for librarians and information professionals, 80 people attended Martin Poulter’s presentation in Oxford: "Wikidata: Knowledge Representation the Easy Way" lecture at Digital Humanities Summer School, 60 students attended Aaron Morris’ Skills Week workshop in Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni, Secondary, 100 people attended presentations on the Map of Witches Project at the "Suffer the Witch" symposium and on Mapping the Scottish Reformation with Messy Data seminar by Ewan McAndrew at the Edinburgh Centre for Data, Culture and Society UoE.

Color coding of the results

Achieved Target has been achieved or exceeded
Opportunity for improvement Good progress has been made towards achieving the target, but the target has not been reached
Attention required Little or no progress has been made towards achieving the target

All metrics totals for all programmesEdit

For new metrics, see definitions below.

For metrics disaggregated by programmes, see individual sections per programme below, for example programme 1. Numbering on the left is consistent throughout the report.

Metric 2019-20 result
1 Total audience and reach (direct engagement) (grant metric) 64,510
2 Digital media reach 56,584
3 Total participants  (grant metric) 7,475
4 Number of newly registered users (grant metric) 1,007
5 Number of leading volunteers 451
6 % of leading volunteers who are women 44.68%
7 Estimated number of volunteer hours (grant metric) 24,225
8 Volunteers would recommend WMUK (annual) 88.37%
9 Volunteers feel valued by WMUK (annual) 83.87%
10 Volunteers have developed new skills (annual) 81.82%
11 Images/media added to WM Commons 15,280
12 Images/media added to WM article pages (and %) 2,853 (18.67%)
13 Content pages created or improved, across all WM projects excl. Commons (grant metric) 397,202
14 Number of articles created 145,372
15 Reach of content - image/article views (NEW) 1,219,388,403
16 Content diversity - % of events where the focus is on underrepresented content (NEW) 106 (34.86%)
17 Language diversity - how many languages have we worked across (annual) (NEW) Articles created: 13

Articles edited: 55

Common uploads 2019/2020 re-used: 53

All Commons uploads re-used: 321

18 Geographical reach - % of events outside of London (NEW) 80.92%  (246 out of 305 events)
19 # education courses we work with (annual) (NEW) 20
20 Digital skills - Improved skills and confidence (annual) Score increased from 3.799 out of 5 to 3.927. Measured by survey; see  Programme 2 for further details
21 New inclusion in courses and curricula (annual) 4
22 Responses to consultations (this will become ‘Policy touchpoints’ in 2020) 2
23 Policy change 3

New metrics for the 2019-22 strategic priorities have been approved by the Board during the 2019/20 activity year. The team explored how to interpret, capture and represent them. Below are our initial findings for 2019-20 (totals for the year):

  • Diversity of leading volunteers: see narrative from volunteer survey - we feel this would be hard to express in a single result KPI. We have included diversity questions in the volunteer survey, however, and can describe the results below.
  • Reach of content: we primarily considered image views in Wikipedia articles of the content released with support from Wikimedia UK (Commons category). In 2019-20 there were 1.2 billion views (1,219,388,403). We are working on methodology for this and so the results may change in the future. These figures are so big that it may also be interesting in the future to highlight views from particular sections of content - for example, in 2019 photos uploaded from Visit Wales got 1,302,267 views.
    • We also considered including views for Wikipedia articles written at initiatives we supported. It is  extremely time consuming to provide a number spanning all of our article writing work, so in the future we may want to look at the output of specific events. In any case the articles created in 2019 during WMUK events received 747,979 views (in 13 WP languages).
  • Programme content diversity: interpreted as the % of events where the focus is on underrepresented content: 35% (106 out of 305 events). This may seem low, but most other events were focused on other strategic priorities including digital literacy and advocacy.
  • Language diversity: interpreted as the number of languages we have worked across: this could be expressed in different ways, each showing the multilinguality of our work. It may be useful to retain this diversity of metrics rather than narrowing down to one indicator.
    1. We created articles in 13 languages
    2. We edited articles in 55 languages
    3. Our images uploaded to Commons in 2019/2020 were re-used on 60 Wikimedia projects, including 53 languages Wikipedias
    4. Our images were used in articles on 321 wikis
Re-use of images uploaded to Wikimedia Common in 2019-20
Number of re-use of images uploaded to Wikimedia Commons in 2019-2020 (Cat supported by WMUK) on different language version Wikipedias (2).png
  • Geographical reach: interpreted as the  % of events outside of London: 80.92% (246 out of 305 events). We organised events in Wales (69), England(71), Scotland (88) and Ireland (3), as well as sessions online (7), in France, Spain, Germany and Sweden, connected to other Wikimedia chapters’ events. 89.43% of our educational programs were organised outside London, whereas the % of events outside London was just a bit behind, in SG1 (79%), SG3 (70%) and SG4 (73.33%). Scotland was leading for underrepresented content related events, while Wales was leading for education related courses, and England (outside London) for advocacy in SG3.
  • Education courses active: 10 active in Q4 at the University of Edinburgh (3), Queen Mary University London, Middlesex University, University of Stirling, University of Sheffield, University College London. Throughout the year, there were 20 active courses in total, covering the University of Edinburgh (7); Middlesex University (2); University of Stirling (2); University of Sheffield (2); Imperial College London (1); London School of Economics (1); Queen Mary University, London (1) Swansea University (1); University College London (1); University of Derby (1); University of Kent (1).
  • Digital skills - for the 2019-20 academic year we adopted a new approach to measuring student digital skills: a survey at the start of the course and a survey at the end to establish whether the course had resulted in changes in confidence. The survey indicated that confidence in online collaboration increased, as well as confidence in using data. Giving the results a weighted average, across eight aspects relating to digital skills students increased their ability from 3.799 out of 5 to 3.927. Courses also resulted in greater understanding of open knowledge, open data, and copyright.
  • Inclusion in courses and curricula - 4 -  this activity year there were new courses using Wikipedia at the University of Derby; London School of Economics; University of Kent; and the University of Sheffield in as well as discussions with the London College of Communications and the King’s College London digital humanities department about the inclusion of Wikimedia.

Telling your program stories - all programsEdit

Programme 1: Knowledge Equity Edit

Strategic goal: Increase engagement with and representation of marginalised people and subjects

Background and Theory of Change (TOC)

Long term outcome:

Wikimedia reflects our diverse society and is free from systemic bias

  • There are content gaps on Wikimedia projects which makes it biased and not-representative of our society
Theory of change:

Wikimedia UK is helping to create more complete information online; by supporting marginalised people to become contributors and community leaders, and by uncovering and sharing knowledge created by and about underrepresented people and subjects.

Where is our intervention
  • We facilitate the transfer of underrepresented knowledge from content holders to diverse audiences. This usually takes place through the Wikimedia projects but can be through other accessible platforms where appropriate.
  • We develop targeted projects and programmes to recruit, train, support and develop volunteer contributors and leaders from all backgrounds.
Strategic objectives:
  • Develop partnerships that address inequality and bias on the Wikimedia projects
  • Deliver projects that increase access to underrepresented cultural heritage
  • Support the development of minority and indigenous language Wikipedias
  • Engage with volunteers and partners across the UK, widening the charity’s geographic reach
  • Diversify content producers by recruiting new editors from under-represented communities
  • Support the development of a more inclusive culture across the Wikimedia projects
  • Ensure that Wikimedia UK’s own policies and practices support diversity and inclusion
Why us
  • We have connections to the existing editor community, experience in running programmes and training sessions, and strong links with UK content holders.

Partnerships, projects and campaigns focused on

  • Underrepresented cultural heritage
  • Minority languages (with a focus on the “Celtic Knot”)
  • Gender Gap
  • Diverse contributors
Evidence that it’s working + Who are we reaching (Metrics)
  • Content pages created or improved across all Wikimedia projects
  • Images/media added to Wikimedia Commons
  • Number of articles created
  • Newly registered editors
  • Volunteer hours
  • Total number of participants
  • Number of leading volunteers
  • Reach of content - image/article views
  • Content diversity - % of events where the focus is on underrepresented content
  • Language diversity - how many languages have we worked across (annual)
  • Geographical reach - % of events outside of London (annual)


(The metrics in the left column in bold are our Grant metrics)

Indicator 2017/18 end year results 2018/19 end year results 2019/20 end year results Explanations
3. Participants 2686 2,294 1,709 People taking part in our events - Wikipedia/Wikidata training series, open events, editathons, conferences, workshops, meetups, volunteer programs.

This result is smaller than in previous years (while we achieved our target across all programmes), which reflects a growing focus on our education programme.

4. Newly registered editors 734 627 553 Mostly registered from editing training sessions, editathons, and volunteer content competitions, or grants. Context as above.
13. Articles added/improved 344,786 1,112,699 394,911 This includes new and modified articles on Wikipedia and files added and edited on Wikidata e.g. our visiting Wikidata Scholars’ mass uploads of Welsh biographies of notable people, paintings and photographs of NLW’s collections, or the WiciHealth project that is translating English articles to Welsh.

This number depends heavily on the type of projects we run, and can differ a lot year to year.

7. Volunteer hours 8639.6 8,409 9,257 The amount of time that participants and lead volunteers contributed to the work of Wikimedia UK. This can include attendance at contests, open events, training series, workshops, editathons, conferences, and presentations.

As we work on more complex partnerships (needing more discussions, setup etc), the volunteer time increases.

1. Total audience and reach 2819 2,460 1,952 Includes participants as above (GM1) plus leading volunteers (see below).

Context as with GM1.

5. Leading volunteers 133 166 243 Leading volunteers who are organising or maintaining GLAM partnerships, contests, workshops, and editathons engaging new communities and institutions, volunteers taking leadership roles in driving the activities of the chapter.

Working on more complex GLAM partnerships means more leading people involved.

11. Images/media added to Commons 27,207 41,256 15,280 Wiki Loves Monuments resulted in 10,665 uploaded images, and the rest of the results comes from a diverse set of image and audio files.
12. Images/media added to Wikimedia pages 8456 20,435 2,853 Mostly images added to Wikidata (Listed buildings, Natural landscapes, images of notable people from England and Wales, paintings from the collections of NLW). The Wiki Loves Monuments photos take a while to be ingested into Wikipedia/Wikidata, and so the reuse stands fairly low at this point.
12. % uploaded media used in content pages 31,08% 49.58% 18.67% % of images that were re-used on WM content pages (incl. Wikidata)
14. New articles added 35,489 66,656 120,334 (incl.112k Wikidata items) Wikidata uploads and articles created by volunteer programs, participants of educational courses and our editing events.
15. Reach of content - image/article views N/A - new N/A 1,227,127,546.00 A new metric, or rather a selection of indicators we are exploring:

1,219,388,403 views of articles using images uploaded to Commons in the  Supported by WMUK category+

747,979 views of articles created in 2019 during WMUK events (views in 13 WP languages)+

views in GLAMORGAN from Wales on categories Natural Resources: 5,688,897 and of “Visit Wales”: 1,302,267 views

16. Content diversity - # and % of events where the focus is on underrepresented content N/A - new N/A 106 (34.86%) Events, training, editathons and workshops with a focus on underrepresented content. This takes all the events we organised this year (over 300) and only reports on the ones focused on underrepresented content. The remainder of events focus primarily on digital literacy or advocacy.
17. Language diversity - how many languages have we worked across (annual) N/A - new N/A Articles created: 13 (eventmetrics)

Articles edited: 55 (eventmetrics)

Common uploads 2019/2020 re-used: 53 (PetScan)

All Commons uploads re-used: 321 (GLAMorgen)

We measured across different tools the number of languages our activities involved, the languages we edited or created articles in, the number of language version Wikipedias where articles re-use images from our uploads in the reporting period and the cumulative no of language version Wikipedias in which images in the supported by Wikimedia UK category were re-used.
18. Geographical reach - % of events outside of London (annual) N/A - new N/A 80.92%

(246 out of 305 events)

A solid proof we work to make sure not all our events are based in the capital.

Highlights of programme activityEdit

Minority and Indigenous Languages (wit a Focus on the Celtic Knot)

Breakdown of articles created and edited on the English and Welsh Wikipedia's as a result of our work
Breakdown of articles created in a language other than English as a result of our work

The key celebration and knowledge sharing event in this strand of work was our Celtic Knot 2019 conference in July, described in detail in the case study below. Importantly, we focused the event on very small languages and brainstormed support and development opportunities available to these communities. Our ongoing work within the broader Celtic Knot theme included:

  • We completed a successful year of collaboration with the National Library of Wales and their National Wikimedian (originally a Wikimedian in Residence). The Library delivers specific themed projects funded partly by the Welsh Government, which in 2019 included:
    • WiciPobl (Wiki People) project. This resulted in almost 2000 biographies being published on the Welsh Wikipedia, using both human and bot contributions. A translation event was held, together with a focused Wikidata activity.
    • WiciLlen (Wiki Literature) project. This initiative focused on openly sharing information about Welsh literature on the Wikimedia projects. The project consists of two main strands. Firstly the National Library shared a huge dataset of all books of Welsh interest ever published in Wales. This dataset contains information about nearly half a million books, their authors and publishers. The data is searchable and reusable in dozens of languages, including Welsh. This will improve access to this important dataset, help improve citations on Wikipedia and provide opportunities for developers and researchers wishing to re-use the data. The second strand of the project is focusing on improving content on the Welsh Wikipedia.
    • Wiki Education project, blending content creation with school education - more on this in our Programme 2.
    • We’ve also been working on the Peniarth Manuscript collection which is on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. Images of manuscripts were added to Commons and Wikidata.
  • We supported the Dumfries Stonecarving Project in Scotland to document and research the stonecarving heritage of Dumfries in collaboration with local photography groups continued throughout 2019. This beautiful element of Scottish heritage is largely overlooked and the project has helped redress this through Wikimedia. It’s also a great example of using digital in cultural preservation.
  • We already see Scottish heritage as underrepresented, however, within that context, it’s the Highlands & Islands that are often missed out and face more barriers to engagement. For this reason we are slowly building up links for programmes in this area, using existing partners and networks - for example the Highlands Data meetup, University of the Highlands and Islands Learning & Teaching week.

Beyond Celtic Knot languages, we worked with a long standing academic volunteer editing group called LingWiki. We run an ongoing series of events to represent minority languages and cultures on English Wikipedia, with a further aim to improve the general content related to anthropology. The group continued to make edits to minority language and linguistics pages and the task of improving anthropology pages. With our growing expertise in Wikidata, we worked with this group to see how their activity could be boosted by technology. This brings us to the second strand of our Knowledge Equity work:

Technology for Diversity

Increasingly, our work to support minority languages draws on technology-driven solutions, even when this wasn't previously the case. For example, we’ve been collaborating with the editing group LingWiki for several years, but have only recently started discussing the use of Lexemes for testing and improving data models. LingWiki is a social editing group made up of academics and PhD students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Connecting them with a computational linguist has worked particularly well so far and we will be developing this collaboration further.

The power of Wikidata to generate and amplify underrepresented content is significant. The search functionality can also shed light on previously hidden areas of under-representation. See below for our major case study on using data to uncover the stories of Scottish Witchcraft.

In 2019 we grew the number of projects in this area, and can highlight the following:

  • Science Museum – We met a representative from the Museum at the 2018 GLAMWiki Tel Aviv and discussed the potential use of Wikidata, possibly via Wikibase. The conversation continued, and we are now entering a more detailed collaboration planning stage. They envisage using Wikidata to manage their extensive collections data, with a particular focus on research capabilities and the possibilities offered by linked open data. A particular value we see is interrogating their collections data to uncover areas where the Science Museum has unintentionally underrepresented certain subjects. The technical capacity and expertise in the museum offers the potential for large-scale, well-managed work with linked data, and there is a good level of understanding of the challenges and opportunities of this work within the museum already. As an added dimension to this, there is a key initiative in the GLAM sector in the UK called National collection data aggregator - big programme to set up a unified way and place to capture and share collections data, powered by considerable funding from Arts and Humanities Research Council. Wikidata offers potential solutions to this, and so there is considerable interest in the sector to draw on it to produce solutions to the aggregator challenge. We are in talks with the Science Museum Group to work on this; there is potential for this collaboration to be substantial.
  • We are discussing a data collaboration with the British Library's Endangered Archives programme. They have a large collection of images of items (photographs, manuscripts, etc.) from archives in the Global South, especially in Africa but also South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. The images are not openly licensed, but there is the possibility of describing the items on Wikidata. They have been using OpenRefine on the archive data so are getting Wikidata identifiers for South American personalities depicted in photographs.
  • We are planning our involvement with the Hacio’r iaith (tech+language) conference at Aberystwyth University, spring 2020 (moved back from 2019). Usually this conference takes place over one day, but we will be delivering a second day based exclusively on open knowledge and the Wikipedia projects. We will showcase how technology such as Wikidata infoboxes can support the development of a minority language Wikipedia.
  • Throughout 2019 we’ve been working with Banner Repeater to develop schema for artists' publishing (linked-data compatibility, user-testing and schema development).

Technology is also being used for wider heritage capture and dissemination - for example, in Aberdeen, one volunteer from Code the City is working on capturing plaques and their content through Commons and Wikidata. There are now 132 Aberdeen Commemorative Plaques recorded in Wikidata (and 90 in Glasgow via a process we copied). This now allows for insights such as identifying which plaques lack images, or mapping plaques against a map. It’s possible to generate a timeline, or analyse the gender of plaque subjects. All these are interesting insights for any heritage group, and the volunteer plans to work with this hack group to extend this work.

Gender Gap

  • University of Edinburgh - the gender gap has long been a focus of activities at Edinburgh, and the university has recently appointed a Women in Red intern, who will work on promoting Wikipedia gender gap events (the next one in their calendar is 34th in series, which shows how embedded this activity is). This work is embedded in the University of Edinburgh's Athena SWAN four year plan to get female role models in Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines online so others can learn all about their lives and contributions and be inspired. The University was Highly Commended for our Women in Red work by the British Society in the History of Science Outreach Ayrton Prize 2019.
  • We delivered events around the broad Art+Feminism banner - for example with Paul Mellon Centre, in collaboration with ArtUK, and University of Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art.
  • Women’s Engineering Society (WES) - Improving coverage of female engineers on Wikipedia and Wikidata to mark the WES’ centenary. Building on the first workshop that took place in September, a second workshop with the WES took place in January at the University of Leeds. Over the course of the workshops 26 people were trained to edit Wikipedia. Most of the attendees were women, addressing Wikipedia’s gender gap amongst its contributors, which is a factor in the under-representation of women in its content. In these two events alone, the attendees improved 58 articles, including 13 which were brand new. Since then, they have been read 27,000 times.

Diverse Contributors

We delivered a range of events throughout 2019 that were targeted at specific audiences. Some of our ‘underrepresented content’ work is focused particularly on working with communities linked directly to that content. We had an opportunity to focus on this during Wikipedia’s block in Turkey. We ran a Turkish editathon event with PEN International to expand content on human rights abuses and imprisoned journalists in Turkey. This session was surprisingly productive for new editors, with useful contributions made across a range of articles in both English and Turkish, showing that there is a lot of “low hanging fruit” on the Turkish Wikipedia for motivated people with access to good sources. We ran a follow up event more generally on Turkish culture, creating and expanding content in Turkish.

One dynamic we have noticed is that having trainers used to working on English Wikipedia pushes editors into adding references to other language Wikipedias with a generally more relaxed attitude to citations. An unexpected outcome was Uyghur attendees at one of the events, who created content on the Uyghur Wikipedia during the session and who are unable to return to China (unrelated to their involvement in this event). We are following up to support them, and to see if there’s any room for supporting work on underrepresented languages on Wikidata.

Other examples of working with specific communities include:

  • an editathon to coincide with Bolton Pride in mid-September
  • an October editathon with the David Livingston Trust focusing on Black History Month.
  • We have been discussing a collaboration with the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre who are interested in learning how to make some of their archive on Black British history more publicly available. Work such as training on Wikipedia or engagement with WikiJournals could be a path to surfacing some of the archive.
  • We supported two LGBT+ volunteers to attend Wikipedia for Peace at Europride Vienna 2019, organised by Wikimedia Austria. This included taking and uploading photos for the Wiki Loves Pride competition, an editathon across a range of languages, and participating in Wikimedia’s LGBT+ User Group meeting – advising on future plans, and inputting to the development of criteria for global resource allocation.
  • We have also been working with West Yorkshire Queer Stories (a project collecting LGBT+ histories in West Yorkshire; the largest UK project of its kind). They are interested in using the content collected to improve Wikipedia coverage of the subject, and we will be exploring this with them going forward.


MA students with an interactive map of Scottish witch trials, one of the outputs from processing the witches database.
  • As mentioned, an increasing amount of our work on language draws on technology. We add this angle to our partnership conversations to enrich and boost our collaborations. LingWiki is one example. With the increased interest in databases from the cultural sector, we are having more conversations around Wikidata and under-representation of knowledge (for example National Gallery, Natural History Museum). For example, the Digital and Data Driven Aberdeen History Group is an emerging group exploring tech for heritage preservation and dissemination, with a lot of interest in Wikidata.
  • Introducing our new 2019-22 strategy gave us an opportunity to reflect on the metrics we have been tracking, and experiment with new ones. New measurements we have been trialling are connected to impact areas of knowledge equity and digital literacy, and we hope that they will give us new insights into these areas of our work. The process gave us an opportunity to reflect on how under-representation translates to our programmes. For example, analysing the diversification of content producers could be done in a range of ways, potentially looking in depth into diversity statistics tracking or monitoring the number of events we run which have a defined underrepresented group as the target audience.

We have been looking to increase the capacity of our Wikimedians in Residence by recruiting interns, particularly as many of our host organisations, run established internship programmes. The University of Edinburgh had a student internship for the Witchcraft project (described in the detailed case study below), organised through Equate Scotland's scheme to provide paid placements for Women in STEM students. Emma Carroll worked for three months geolocating the places mentioned in the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft database so the accused witches of Scotland could be plotted on a map, making over 47,000 edits to Wikidata in the process.

Changes, Challenges and LearningEdit


Compare to our proposal.

The increasing significance and potential of Wikidata means that we have put a greater focus on this in our partnership work over the past year, and have started exploring more systematically the opportunities that technology offers to our work on underrepresented knowledge. This will be supported by the recent creation of a Technology Advisory Board at Wikimedia UK - made up of staff, trustees and volunteers - who will oversee all aspects of technology for the organisation. Whilst this wasn't highlighted in our proposal, it is a very welcome development.


Early in the year we worked through a challenge within our programme in Wales. In 2016 we reached gender parity in biographies on Welsh Wikipedia, which was a first across the movement for Wikipedias with more than 10,000 articles and a very proud achievement. We have been working to try and maintain this balance, by (for example) encouraging editors to create female biographies if they have also written an article about a man. This piecemeal process was somewhat disrupted by the Wici People project delivered by our partner organisation the National Library of Wales, which generated 2000 new biographies. Most of these new articles on the Welsh Wikipedia were about men – such is the nature of the source material within the library – which threatened to skew the site’s hard-won gender parity. To overcome this, volunteer editors worked hard to create a corresponding number of female biographies; however this was a significant effort. We have now agreed with the Library that where possible, future externally-funded projects of this kind will consider aspects such as gender balance and quality, as well as article creation numbers. The situation led to reflections on the complex relationship between targets and programme delivery, and reinforced the importance of working with the Wikimedia community in this delivery.

Another challenge is related to knowledge equity. Working with underrepresented topics poses a constant challenge around the content being rejected on Wikipedia. The Bolton Pride project is an example. We partnered with Bolton Museum and Library in autumn 2019 to hold an editathon coinciding with Bolton Pride. At a drop-in session we had an engaged audience, who enthusiastically set about improving Wikipedia’s coverage of LGBT issues, especially in North West England. One of the outputs, an article on Bolton Pride, was deleted with the reasoning that it relied too heavily on local news sources, but has since been restored and rewritten. The event has given the LGBT community plenty to think about, not least coverage of bisexual history, and they are interested in holding similar events in the future.


Banner Repeater Wikibase partnership is a new area both for us and to an extent the Wikimedia movement. This means that a lot more exploratory work is needed, and we have had to hold several meetings to discuss the fairly specialised subject of determining the correct schema for the complex and diverse movement of artists’ publishing. We also connected the project to the Royal College of Arts, drawing on their technical and design skills, and run a wider consultation around data schema and linked-data compatibility. This is an emergent area of work - there is a lot of interest about Wikibase in the cultural sector, but the Wikimedia movement does not have a tested model of how to engage institutions or teach it successfully. We are hoping to develop something here that can be reused by others.

On a meta level, we will continue to explore and learn from our new metrics in this programme area; we see them as an important development in being able to track progress towards knowledge equity within our work. We will continue to learn about how to interpret our results, and also explore other ways of capturing this work.


  • Brexit will have far reaching consequences for the UK’s economy, society and legislative agenda for decades, and may lead to civil unrest as well as a significant economic downturn. It may also lead to the eventual dissolution of the United Kingdom, as there are increasing calls for a second independence referendum in Scotland. The relationship with Northern Ireland may also change. This may affect the shape and role of Wikimedia UK, while potentially giving us an opportunity to work on affiliate subsidiarity in our context.
  • The ongoing diversification of the UK and our position as one of the most multicultural countries in Europe – as well as the largest Wikimedia chapter for the English Wikipedia – means that there is an ever growing need to include a wider range of narratives and perspectives in our efforts to make knowledge creation more open and inclusive. The drive towards knowledge equity in the global strategic direction resonates with an increasing awareness amongst UK content holders of the need to represent diverse stories and histories. Wikimedia UK has a crucial role to play in opening up and sharing content, and in supporting the decolonisation of cultural collections and education curricula. Equity and decolonisation comes up in most, if not all, of our conversations with content-holding partner organisations, and we will only see this trend grow. As a team we watch this sector conversation closely, so that we can speak to it and offer insights into how Wikimedia can help improve the issues identified.
  • As mentioned, the UK-wide National Collections project is potentially significant and would draw our focus to working with Wikidata as a key collections data tool.

Case studiesEdit

 Survey of Scottish Witchcraft, & the University of Edinburgh’s Data Visualisation internship

One of the biggest ScotWiki success stories of 2019 was that of the University of Edinburgh’s Data Visualisation internship, funded by Equate Scotland’s scheme to provide paid placements for women students in STEM subjects. This focussed on the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft, gaining national and international press coverage, and contributing to the ongoing call for a national monument to those killed as witches during the early modern period in Scotland. In the first three months of its launch - - the site had over 115,000 users and 200,000 page views. The project, which saw information from the original piece of research uploaded to Wikidata, and then visualised through an interactive map, gained a great deal of press attention (both national and international), saw renewed interest in the dataset. The project gained a great deal of press attention, with the Scotsman, Herald, Guardian, Scottish Daily Mail, Vanity Fair Spain, Evening Express, Edinburgh News, Press & Journal, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC RAdio 4, New York Time,s John O’Groat Journal and all covering the story.

What’s been clear from reading the many pieces of coverage (and indeed, the many comments on social media sharing the website) is that the site caught the imagination not just of academics and those with an interest in linked and open data, but of the general public too. Arguably, this is because of the extremely low barrier to entry in terms of understanding the data, and the ability to see the detail of accused witches in your area which helped the user to connect with the data.

- summary by Dr Sara Thomas

A version of this article appeared in Broadsheet, the magazine of the Scottish Council on Archives, no 51, December 2019.

Putting Scotland’s accused witches on the map with Wikidata.

(By Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedia in Residence at the University of Edinburgh.)

A new interactive map ( tracks more than 3,000 Scots accused of being witches in the 16th and 17th century. Open data experts at the University of Edinburgh’s Information Services directorate have been building profiles using linked open data of all the women and men who were accused of practicing witchcraft as part of an internship project which has breathed new life into an old dataset, caught the public’s attention and helped to change the way the stories of these women and men were being told.

The map is built upon a landmark Edinburgh study that highlighted the plight of the many people –overwhelmingly women (85%) – who were strangled and burned at the stake. Now users can move through a map of Scotland to see where the accused witches lived, as well as the towns and villages where they were detained, punished and executed.

The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft Database Project was led by Professor Julian Goodare, lecturer at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology and Dr Louise Yeoman, formerly a curator at the National Library of Scotland, later a researcher with BBC Scotland. This fabulous resource began life in the 1990s before being realised in 2001-2003. It had as its aim to collect, collate and record all known information about accused witches and witchcraft belief in early modern Scotland (from 1563 to 1736) in a Microsoft Access database and to create a web-based user interface for the database. It’s a data set that has the power to fascinate as an extremely rich historical resource.

Since 2003, the Survey data has remained static in the Access database, and so students on the University of Edinburgh’s Data Science for Design MSc, at the course’s annual “Data Fair” event, were invited to consider what might be done if the data were exported into Wikipedia’s sister project, Wikidata, and linked to other datasets?

Happily, two groups were enthused, both in 2017 and again in 2018, to work on this assignment and busied themselves analysing, modelling and processing the data for import before showing their end-of-project visualisations. The success of this ‘Data Fair’ model, where researchers have three minutes to pitch “data challenges” involving real datasets for the Masters students to work on, in groups of three, over a six week project, prompted questions as to what more could be done with the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft data and whether funds could be leveraged to hire a student with good GIS skills who would take the work done to date on to the next level. The idea being to work over a more extended period to track down all the places mentioned in the database and geolocate them on a map for the first time.

This interactive map was conceived and built by student intern Emma Carroll, who worked for three months collating the historical information and plotting the locations on the map of Scotland, making over 47,000 edits to Wikidata. Emma’s Data & Visualisation internship was organised by Equate Scotland Careerwise – an initiative that arranges paid placements in industry to women working in STEM subjects.

The task demanded a lot of detective work as many of the places recorded do not exist anymore or have changed over time.

Emma worked closely under the direct supervision of the University’s Wikimedian in Residence, Ewan McAndrew, who helps staff and students develop digital skills and information literacy through improving the quality of information online through Wikipedia and its sister projects.

The project was a collaborative one with Emma’s detective work involving colleagues from the National Library of Scotland, the Scottish Studies Archive, the Scottish Place-Name Society, and the website creation itself drew in the creativity and expertise from the university’s Interactive Content team and e-learning developers. The project also involved academics from Edinburgh Futures Institute, as well as University researchers working in the fields of Data Driven Innovation and Digital Humanities.

Emma collaborated with Wikidata experts across the UK, blogged every week of her three month project and produced a new ‘beginners guide’ video tutorial on how to process & reconcile data with the open source software, OpenRefine.

Since the map’s launch in September 2019, the project has gained media coverage across Scotland and the world and shows the potential of engaging with linked open data for students, educators, researchers, data scientists and repositories of all kinds as this resource is a free, open and stable knowledgebase available to everyone. Beyond this, anyone can help connect to and leverage from a variety of other complementary datasets in multiple languages; helping to fuel discovery through exploring the direct and indirect relationships at play in this semantic web of knowledge, enabling insights in a variety of disciplines.

The hope is that this project will both aid students’ understanding of data literacy through the practical application of working with a real-world dataset and help shed new light on a little understood period of Scottish history. This, in turn, may help fuel discoveries by dint of surfacing this data, making it queryable and linking it with other related datasets across the UK, across Europe and beyond. As the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft’s website states itself “Our list of people involved in the prosecution of witchcraft suspects can now be used as the basis for further inquiry and research.“


Ewan gave a talk at the Suffer the Witch symposium in Edinburgh, where the Witches project once again contributed to the continued calls for a new memorial to accused witches in Scotland. He also spoke to a new group interested in undertaking a similar kind of project regarding clergy in during the Scottish Reformation. The Map of Accused Witches is now on display on the University Library’s large digital display wall, alongside the Histropedia timeline for Women’s Suffrage in Scotland, crowdsourced from University of Edinburgh Women in Red editors, Commons uploads and structured data in Wikidata.

Furthermore, the Map of Accused Witches project won the Digital Humanities Award in category for best Data Visualisation.

 Celtic Knot conference Cornwall 2019

Wikimedia has co-organised the Celtic Knot Wikimedia Language Conference every year since its inception in 2017. It is an important opportunity for Wikimedians working in and with minority and indigenous languages to meet in person in order to share learning, inspire others, invigorate language communities and overcome challenges together. Building on the success of our previous two language conferences, in 2019 we hosted the conference in partnership with Cornwall Council, with the event taking place at the University of Exeter’s Penrhyn campus. This third Celtic Knot Wikipedia Conference aimed to show how Wikimedia can be used in innovative low-cost ways to support small, minority languages. We wanted to help smaller language communities to participate in workshops and sessions with an emphasis on transferring knowledge from larger languages to smaller languages; practical sessions for participants from smaller languages with less expertise; and general networking for language communities to make the most of Wikimedia to support their languages. The groups we focused on experience many challenges that can be hard to appreciate by large, well established languages – such as lack of official backing or disagreements on the written script. A talk by Annas Sedrati from the Moroccan User Group encapsulated these issues perfectly.

The first Celtic Knot conference primarily aimed to support the development of the six Celtic languages, however with this year’s conference we broaded the programme to explicitly include any small, regional language community interested in using Wikimedia and in linking Wikimedia projects between languages. This brought submissions from new communities as well as those we had worked with before, such as Wikidata editors making use of its multilingual applications, and Wikimedians dealing with specific challenges such as integrating oral traditions into a primarily textual website. With the focus on minority languages it was important to match up with the right community – and we were very pleased to see the Cornish group taking the lead on hosting the conference. Cornish is spoken by a relatively small number of people (estimates vary) and is classified as ‘critically endangered’ by UNESCO.

Mark Trevethan working at the Cornwall Council attended our first two Celtic Knot conferences and was keen to host the third. His presence at previous editions of the conference led to discussions with volunteers with the Welsh Wicipedia and researchers at Bangor University. Cornwall Council is aiming to double the number of Cornish speakers, and ensuring there are readily available digital resources is an important aspect of making the language accessible and ensuring its survival. The Celtic Knot has inspired more work on the Cornish language, with interest in using Wikipedia in classroom settings and at heritage sites. As well as bringing together Wikimedians separated by geography but encountering similar challenges, the conference has the opportunity to help the growth of the Cornish language. The conference was filmed so those unable to attend can still benefit from the discussions, and the sessions are available on our YouTube channel and Wikimedia Commons.

One of the aims in coming to Cornwall was to stimulate more Wikimedia activity in Cornwall and in the Cornish language, through exposing participants to the skills of those in more active communities. We acknowledge that there is a very low level of wiki activity in Cornish/Cornwall, but this is partly due to a lack of understanding about how to use Wikimedia to its full potential, for example in education. We therefore also invited people from Bangor University, who are helping to develop the online Cornish dictionary – including use of Wikidata – based on the work we’ve facilitated in Welsh.

Having attended the previous two conferences, Mark was able to see how other mid-sized languages are using Wikimedia and wanted to bring that energy and expertise to Cornwall. A big part of the conference was showing models of how wiki collaborations made things easier for small languages, and it was clear that many ideas could be tried in Cornwall. After the conference Mark reported several encouraging signals of connections as the conference seemed to have a strong impact on the people who attended. The ideas he has been exploring as a result include:

  • Holding editathons in English and Cornish to develop the Cornish Maritime Churches project on Wikipedia – this is very relevant to Cornish culture.
  • Developing more articles in Cornish with the help of Robin Owain
  • Using Wikipedia to provide information on Cornwall’s threatened ecology, particularly 30,000 miles of hedges which are around 4,000 years old in parts, and which provide habitats for local wildlife. This would involve starting to develop our own content, rather than translating.
  • Using Wikimedia in education, based on the WikiMon model – this will need some work to develop but there is a lot of interest in this. Cornwall is investing in Superfast Broadband, and has an accompanying social inclusion programme which this could potentially fit into.

We believe these are very positive developments, and are working to help the community take some of these ideas forward.

 Wikimedia UK and Turkish language editing

Wikimedia UK has long encouraged the creation of content in languages other than those native to the UK, often incorporating this into events with diverse attendees, or through working with universities with foreign students.

For a couple of years we’ve focused slightly more on working with some specific communities such as Turkish and Kurdish speakers in London, and it has led to several successful and highly inclusive events. It takes time to build contacts and partners, but 2019 saw some good engagement with the large Turkish community in London.

One of the key issues for Wikipedia and Turkish language speakers has been Turkey's block of Wikipedia, cutting off access to its largest community of potential readers as well as contributors.

Partnering with freedom of expression charity PEN International - as well as Article 19 and English PEN - we ran an editing event at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon. The focus of the event was journalism and freedom of expression in Turkey, with updates made to articles.

Planning and communications around the event were sensitive, given at the time the Wikimedia Foundation was in the Turkish courts arguing for the ban to be lifted, and the argument that Turkish Wikipedia isn’t an external influence on Turkey but a representation of its own people’s ideas is not necessarily aided by any suggestion of activity happening elsewhere. We therefore worked closely with the legal team at the Foundation to ensure we were positioning the event in a way that wasn't damaging to the legal case being made at the time.

This session was surprisingly productive bearing in mind it was mainly attended by completely new editors, with useful contributions made across a range of articles in both English and Turkish and everybody contributing something to an existing article or creating a new article. This demonstrated that there is a lot of 'low hanging fruit' in Turkish Wikipedia for motivated people with access to good sources.

We ran a follow up event more generally on Turkish culture, creating and expanding content in Turkish (as well as Uyghur at one event).

Some things we noticed, or at least had confirmed for us, were that having trainers used to working on English Wikipedia pushes editors into adding references to another language Wikipedia with a generally more relaxed attitude to citations.

Another is that language communities do intermingle, and often multiple languages are represented even though the subject is one particular culture. But more generally; these are long, low intensity, relationship-building exercises that do result in valuable contributions and improvement in understanding of these resources that are, and should be, available to all.

Programme 2: Digital LiteracyEdit

Strategic goal: Work with partners to develop digital, data and information literacy through Wikimedia

Background and Theory of Change (TOC)

Long term outcome:

People in the UK are able to understand and effectively engage with open knowledge, creating high levels of information literacy which underpins civil society and democratic processes.

  • Information literacy is a key prerequisite for democratic participation
  • People aren’t able to successfully engage with open knowledge without support; effort is needed to build the UK society’s digital literacy
  • Data literacy will be key to future successful democratic participation
Theory of change:

Access to high quality, neutral information based on reliable sources helps to create a shared understanding of the world, and is important to the creation of a tolerant and democratic society. However, this is being undermined by increasingly widespread misinformation and disinformation. To counter this, Wikimedia UK works with educators and other partners to develop digital literacy skills, with a focus on information, media and data literacy.

Where is our intervention:
  • Wikipedia is a rich example of how knowledge is captured, and how it should be consumed responsibly. It’s an excellent tool for building a range of digital literacies.
Strategic objectives:
  • Develop and deliver Wikimedia-based activities that develop digital literacy in schools
  • Support the higher education sector’s engagement with Wikimedia as a digital literacy tool
  • Facilitate Wikimedia-based digital, data and information literacy projects with other partners
  • Create content and resources for learners and educators focused on digital literacies
  • Advocate for the inclusion of Wikimedia in curriculum, syllabus and course development
  • Collaborate with the civil society sector and other partners to combat misinformation
Why us
  • We are taking advantage of the education sector’s ‘suspicion’ towards Wikipedia to open a key conversation about information integrity, and digital literacy
  • ‘Wikipedia in the classroom’ model offers a solid, tested model of engagement in this field
  • Data and information literacy projects in collaboration with formal education sector partners such as schools and universities
  • Advocating to government and relevant bodies for the inclusion of Wikimedia in curriculum and syllabus development
  • Case studies with key partners
Evidence that it’s working + Who are we reaching (Metrics)
  • Content pages created or improved across all Wikimedia projects
  • Number of articles created
  • Newly registered editors
  • Volunteer hours
  • Total number of participants
  • Number of leading volunteers
  • Number of courses we work with (annual)
  • Improved skills and confidence (annual)
  • Inclusion in courses and curricula (annual)


(The metrics in the left column in bold are our Grant metrics)

Indicator 2017/18 end year results 2018/19 end year results 2019/20 end year results Explanations
3. Participants 703 1,287 3,620 Participants of our educational courses: MSc courses, Wikipedia in the classroom courses and schoolchildren in Wales.
4. Newly registered editors 360 437 448 New users registered through courses.
13. Articles added/improved 1,684 + 8,785 new items and 53,636 edits to Wikidata (in total 64,105) 4,415 2,273 Editing activity of the participants across Wikimedia projects during the courses.
7. Volunteer hours 5067 8,506 12,033.5 Participants and course leaders time spent on the programme
1. Total audience and reach 744 1,361 3,753 Participant and volunteers who are leading the educational courses.
5. Leading volunteers 41 74 133 Course leaders, education organisers.
14. Articles added 95 +8785 mass upload to Wikidata (in total 8880) 263 312 Articles written as a part of Wikimedia education courses.
19. Number of courses we work with (annual) N/A N/A 21 The highest number of courses we’ve had yet; we are able to support them all since some are long standing and need less of our help.
20. Improved digital skills (Computer and Internet Skill Improvement) 84.62% 86% Score increased from 3.799 out of 5 to 3.927. Measured by survey; see  below for further details
21. Inclusion in courses and curricula N/A N/A 4 New courses we set up in 2019-20

Digital Skills Survey

To assess the impact of interacting with Wikimedia on digital skills, we survey students on university courses that we support. For the 2019-20 academic year (starting in September 2019) we adopted a method which involved distributing two surveys: one before students have learnt about Wikimedia in the classroom and one at the end of the course. Students were asked to self-assess their confidence in a range of skills that contribute to ‘digital literacy’ overall. Between September 2019 and January 2020, 40 people responded to the first survey and 36 to the second. Whilst this is a relatively small sample size, we believe the fact that most students completed the follow up survey speaks to their level of engagement with Wikimedia.

We had one question each to assess students’ confidence in:

  • Using a computer to find information
  • Creating online content
  • Collaborating online
  • Identifying reliable information
  • Understanding and using data
  • Please rate the following
  • Understanding open knowledge
  • Understanding open data
  • Understanding copyright and the public domain

Students assessed their confidence on a five point scale. The results were weighted, with scores for each skill out of a maximum of five. In almost every aspect students’ confidence increased; the one exception was ‘Identifying reliable information’ where the score declined slightly. In this area, the proportion of people reporting that they were confident or very confident actually increased (80% up to 80.55%), however this was offset by a higher proportion of people saying they were not confident (10% up to 13.89%). The chart below plots the before and after points in the survey, showing that some areas had a greater increase than others. ‘Creating online content’ did improve, however this was the students’ second greatest area of confidence to begin with and the increase was so small that at this scale two points overlap.

Highlights of programme activityEdit

Higher Education's Engagement with Wikimedia as a Digital Literacy Tool

The 2019-20 activity year for Wikimedia UK spans two academic years, the end of 2018-19 and the start of 2019-20. At the top level, there has been an increase in the number of courses we have been supporting but also some important structural changes such as an increase in the use of the outreach dashboard to manage courses. It is a valuable tool for course leaders to track their students’ activity as well as demonstrate impact to others. We continue to look for opportunities for volunteers to support classroom courses. In some cases, this can develop into a long-term support strategy; such as at Queen Mary University London where one volunteer has been crucial in introducing students to Wikipedia for several years. However, this year when the volunteer was unavailable the course leader was confident in leading the students’ introduction to Wikipedia, having seen the volunteer’s work first-hand.

The 2019-20 activity year saw us adapt the digital literacy skills survey, changing methodology from a single survey to a pair issued before and after students learn about Wikipedia.

It was also an important year for residencies, with the residency at Edinburgh finishing its fourth year and a new residency starting at Coventry University. The work at Edinburgh has inspired many others - both within higher education and beyond - to engage with Wikimedia and the project at Coventry has the potential to do the same. The Edinburgh residency made national news through one of its projects making witch trial data more readily accessible. At Coventry, discussions to use Wikimedia in the classroom are ongoing, with the resident based in the Disruptive Media Learning Lab which has a cross-departmental remit.

Wikimedia in Schools

Our collaboration with WiciMon picked up momentum during 2019, resulting in a wide range of exciting projects. The Welsh Baccalaureate Community Challenge moved onto delivery by students, as their initial wiki training finished in time between February and April. To complete the challenge, students needed to go and deliver their Wikipedia training and activity within their communities (Wiki Clubs). Some students worked with Primary school children, some targeting teachers and some targeting local community homes. An example of this work would be Wythnos Addysg Oedolion/Adult Learners Week - a project with the Anglesey County Council called ‘Activities for Adult Week’. Wicimon run a workshop with year 5 and 6 pupils of Ysgol Rhyd y Llan in Llanfaethlu. The pupils then taught the adults how to feed information on Wicipedia as part of the event. The pupils created their own presentation about the world of Wikipedia, and together with adults created content about Anglesey history.

We were able to work with the same cohort of students within the Wikimedia 2030 strategy - we run the strategy Youth Salon with them. It was fascinating to hear the students’ thoughts on the future of learning and Wikipedia - we summarise the event and the feedback received in the case study below.

Building on the WiciMon work with schools, we were able to successfully pitch an education pilot project with the Welsh Government. Led by the National Library of Wales and in partnership with Menter Iaith Mon, it focuses on generating educational materials for schools. Together with us, the partner organisations have identified the 100 most important events and themes studied for the subject of History in Welsh primary and secondary schools. Working with subject specialists, the project team will use existing Wikipedia content and learning resources to develop quality articles and supporting media, suitable for different age and ability pupils. The articles were chosen following consultation with teachers and the WJEC (Welsh Joint Education Committee) examining body. The articles will appear on Welsh Wikipedia and the use of video targeted at primary and secondary pupils will be trialled, and will include links to related educational resources. The articles will also be published as open ed resources on HWB - the Welsh Government’s learning resources platform.

Beyond text articles, 10 short videos about different aspects of history will be produced. These will be in Welsh and used to illustrate articles and be shared on HWB. A bilingual introduction to Wikidata video has already been created, which will be shown at schools, and to help spread the word about linked open data.

In early 2020 a series of events will also be rolled-out in secondary schools to engage Key Stage 5 pupils in writing Wikipedia content for younger students.

Developing Digital Literacy Beyond the Education Sector

Group of Wikipedia editors from the Scottish Law Librarians Group who took part in an event in Scotland in January 2020

To supplement these institution-led activities above, we are working on several sector-wide initiatives. We recognise that digital literacy doesn’t just sit in specific schools or universities, and we can roll out our programmes in other areas. For example:

  • We are working with CILIP’s UK-wide libraries training programme to offer Wikipedia competencies for frontline staff in public libraries
  • Via Coventry University, we’re bidding for ‘City of culture’ funding to support outreach activities connected with digital skills in the communities
  • We connected with Scottish Libraries Information Council & Information Literacy on their Information Literacy project. We advised on both the use of the Wikimedia projects to help deliver information literacy learning, and also advocated that the toolkit should be made available on a CC-BY-SA licence.


The work with Welsh schools on creating a set of education-oriented articles is new for us and we look forward to supporting it. This project is informed by our Welsh Wikipedia readers survey which revealed that a lot of school age pupils read Wikipedia.

Not so much an internal programme innovation, but our Wikimedian in Residence work within the University of Edinburgh is being recognised by several prestigious awards. For example, it won the Herald Higher Education award in June 2019 for Innovative Use of Technology category, and had been shortlisted for LILAC Information Literacy Award in April 2019. External recognition of our work shows how Wikimedia projects are seen as an innovative way to teach digital literacy.

Changes, Challenges and LearningEdit


Compare to our proposal.

We were pleased with how our formal education programme continued and grew in 2019. The maturity of the programme was visible during the Coventry Education summit in February 2020, with our partners confidently leading their programmes and inspiring others in the sector. Equally, the schools education programme in Wales has also seen impressive developments, and it’s been great to be able to build on it with the support from the Welsh Government.

It has been harder to shape programmes focused on misinformation, which we hoped to do at the time of the proposal. We have several pitches prepared, including around the Online Harms paper mentioned in Programme 3 - none of them are set to be implemented imminently though. We are working on scanning the funding landscape and hope that with the right support we will be able to roll a pilot out.


In spring 2019, our programme coordinator leading on education came back from sabbatical, which gave us an opportunity to check in on the Wikimedia in Classroom courses and explore any challenges they may have been experiencing. 2019 marked our first collaboration with the University of Derby and the London School of Economics (LSE) on classroom courses, providing support and advice to course leaders using Wikipedia in the classroom for the first time. Support for LSE included helping one group of students negotiate the deletion of the article they were working on, which resulted in it being restored. This shows that a difficult experience with the editing community can lead to the course not being continued. A model that has worked in other cases is to have students draft articles in their sandbox, publish when ready, and prepare reflections on the process which will then also draw on their analytics skills.

University of Derby experienced issues with the outreach dashboard not working, which caused concerns about the reliability of the tool. Each time the situation was resolved within a day, albeit after the lecture with the course leader. The course leader, Caroline Ball, remains very positive about Wikimedia.

Within a larger university context, we have been affected by university strikes (industrial action on unfair treatment), which in most cases were extended to a ‘digital picket’, meaning our academic colleagues scaled back their engagement with projects online. We didn’t want to put their activities in jeopardy by calling to maintain Wikimedia activities, and so inevitably our work in education was temporarily reduced.


In 2019 we ran a simple metric looking at digital skills development in students taking our Wikipedia in the Classroom courses. This was done on a small scale and with limited indicators. In the 2019-20 programme year we evolved our approach, in that we run a base survey before the course, and a follow up after the Wikimedia involvement. Previous iterations of the survey had taken the approach of a single survey issued at the end of the course, asking students to reflect on the improvement through the course. While this approach provided useful insight, we thought that having a before and after assessment would be more rigorous, though there is the tradeoff that there is therefore more opportunity for respondents to drop out. We explored the possibility of using the outreach dashboard to issue the surveys to students; it would have been integrated into the timeline as a task for students to complete, however we considered that this may not have been prominent enough. Instead we asked course leaders to distribute the surveys, which was also practical since not all of the courses use the dashboard, though an increasing number do. Students have other forms and assessments to fill in, so we were wary of contributing to survey fatigue. Despite this, course leaders were typically happy to distribute the surveys. We maintained a flexible approach, so for example in one case where a course leader asked if it would be possible to skip their course since they were already planning to run a survey which would directly influence their teaching we did not distribute the survey to their students as it would have resulted in fewer responses to both surveys, diminishing their value. The two survey approach requires regular managing from WMUK to ensure we get responses, but the contact points with course leaders are useful in themselves and it can be an opportunity for course leaders to reflect informally as well.


The misinformation trend is very relevant to our digital literacy work, with increased interest by funders to support types of projects above. We are actively looking into constructing and pitching projects that address these challenges, and hope to deliver more work in this area in 2020.

On a very practical level, we have a steady pipeline of potential courses, for example Bournemouth University film studies is looking at Wikimedia module integration for the 2020/21 academic year, with a one-off editing event planned for Spring 2020 to gain some familiarity with Wikimedia. University of Derby is also looking at possibilities. London College of Communication is working with us both on setting up a specific journalism course (based on their Wikipedia/Fake News interest), and a more university-wide approach inspired by the Edinburgh University model. This follows Lucy’s keynote speech at the Academic Leaders’ Forum in July.

We are pitching a wider collaboration at several other institutions, to have universities as hubs of activity, similar to our model with bigger GLAMs. For example, at the University of Leeds we are working with the library, but also discussing a multi-university collaboration spanning the White Rose Consortium (consisting of the universities of Leeds, York, and Sheffield), perhaps based around a Wikimedian in Residence (WIR) post. At Leeds City Museum, Lucy Moore has arranged for a work placement to support an editathon themed around the people of Leeds to take place in March 2020, while the West Yorkshire Queer Stories are keen on working with Wikimedia. Part of our work at Wikimedia UK has been supporting these groups individually as well as helping them work together to share experience, expertise, and resources.

Case studyEdit

 2030 Youth Salon, consulting Welsh students on the future of Wikipedia

We are already actively participating in the global Wikimedia strategy through our working groups involvement. However, we also wanted to involve our communities, hearing their thoughts on the future of Wikipedia and open knowledge. Responding to a call by the Foundation, we decided to run a ‘Youth Strategy Salons’ - structured event to allow the Wikipedia stakeholders of our future - the youth of today - a chance to express their needs and views about the future of free knowledge, and what it looks like to them for Wikimedia to become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge in a way that is open to their participation and benefit.

It felt like a great opportunity to draw out the reflections and experiences of the students we’ve been working with through our Welsh education project. We partnered with Menter Iaith Mon (the Anglesey Language Enterprise) and invited school students aged 16 - 18 who are studying for the Welsh Baccalaureate course. The students came from the seven schools that have already participated in a number of Wikimedia training sessions delivered by Aaron Morris on behalf of WiciMôn.

To focus the event’s discussions, we have selected the strategic themes of Diversity and Product & Technology, which arose as particular areas of interest for participating students during the training sessions delivered on Wikimedia over the past year.

In total 26 students participated, all having completed their WJEC Community Challenge, as part of their Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification. 60% of the group were female and all were Welsh speakers. The Salon not only celebrated their successful completion of the Challenge, but also placed Wikipedia into a wider context of the Wikimedia projects, future technology and the Wikimedia movement’s global strategy to 2030. Each student had been trained to edit Wikipedia by Aaron, and how to train others. The Salon was a chance for everyone to reflect on what worked well and what was not so successful, what problems they had, and suggested solutions, as well as attempting to look into the crystal ball of Wikipedia in 2030. Where are we now, where do we want to go and how do we get there?

We started with two presentations to put the event into context of the global Wikimedia strategy, and the developments of Welsh Wikipedia. These presentations were followed by a range of more interactive, discursive activities with the students, aimed at giving them the opportunity to express their needs and views about the future of free knowledge, through the lens of their own experience as minority language speakers and as young people still in full-time education.

The most interesting part of the event invited the students to think about the Wikipedia of the future and describe what improvements it would have. Some of the ideas shared were:

  • Wikipedia’s main problems are simplifying the infoboxes from Wikidata and fair use photos not on Commons,
  • Creating short videos as intros and synopsis of articles
  • Simplifying references
  • Getting WP onto other platforms
  • Releasing content from the National Museum of Wales, Cadw etc
  • Keeping the gender parity and getting more female editors
  • Live-wiki (self-learning wiki) which grows with the user / simple Welsh WP
  • Partnerships with other countries (live video to discuss articles etc)
  • Create projects with other countries with video links so that we can “chat about which articles on Wales we would like in their language etc”
  • Wikipedia ‘growing with the pupil’, with any article dynamically changing, increasing complexity along the growing skill of the reader.

The event consolidated the work already delivered with these young people and celebrated the skills that have been learnt. It also encouraged them to see themselves as part of the wider global Wikimedia community, with a voice in how this community and the work of the movement develops in the future.

There’s a wonderful video with the students sharing their experiences from the day here.

 Impact of the SLIC residency - distributing digital skills through a network

Adapted from Delphine Dallison’s impact report

We concluded the Wikimedian in Residence project at the Scottish Library and Information Council in spring 2019. This 18 month programme aimed to facilitate culture change at the libraries within SLIC’s network. The end of the project provided an opportunity to reflect on the impact that was brought about by the Wikimedia collaboration.

In the eyes of SLIC’s Head of Programme, the Wikimedian in Residence project has given staff the confidence to look beyond the collections they hold on their shelves and see themselves as key content creators, able to steer visitors to high quality digital resources.

We ran a survey of the project’s participants (staff from libraries across the network), and found the results very revealing. Feedback from the residency has helped highlight the fact that open knowledge projects are still a new area for librarians in the Scottish library sector. Across the sample of respondents, only 17% were aware of any open knowledge projects having previously taken place within their organisation and only 8.5% had been directly involved in those projects.

Survey respondents mainly participated in the SLIC Wikimedian in Residence by attending the one day Introduction to Wikipedia for Librarians training sessions offered by the resident throughout the project. They also reported taking part in a variety of other opportunities that were offered including attending an advocacy session, participating in one of the Wikimedia campaigns (Wiki Loves Monuments, Wiki Loves Libraries, 1Lib1Ref) and either organising or participating in an editathon.

Since taking part in those activities, 83% of respondents have reported feeling more confident explaining the principles of open knowledge to others. 70.5% reported feeling more confident about working on open license projects. 76% reported feeling more confident about overcoming arguments against open knowledge and 88.5% felt more confident about spotting the potential of open knowledge projects in different areas of library work. 80% of respondents have recommended using Wikipedia to one of their library users since taking part in the project.

Librarians gave the following examples of how taking part in Wikipedia activities has been beneficial to their work:

Not only did the programme train library staff but it included train the trainer sessions to ensure there are an engaged network of librarians involved in the Wiki community now that the residency has ended. 40% of the questionnaire respondents completed the Trainer the Trainer programme offered as part of the SLIC residency. 60% of respondents reported feeling somewhat confident about delivering their first Wikipedia event and 25% reported feeling very to extremely confident. Most respondents felt that their confidence would increase with more editing practise and after delivering their first event.

Respondents also reported that they felt confident about who to contact for support from Wikimedia UK if needed when running future events. (All training resources are publicly available).

When asked about future plans, all the respondents fed back that they are either currently planning future Wikipedia activities (60%) or would like to (40%). Between 70% and 75% said they would be likely or very likely to be involved in the 2019 Wiki Loves Monuments campaign, to take part in a future Wiki Loves Libraries campaign and to participate in #1Lib1Ref. 66% are also likely or very likely to run a WikiProject Women in Red event.

To have 119 librarians trained in editing Wikipedia and 32 trained as trainers who will be able to upskill and encourage more library staff to get involved is a massive achievement for public libraries in Scotland. Over 40 librarians outside the public library sector have also benefited from the residency, paving the way for some exciting cross sectoral work. The project has also created 55 new articles on Scottish history and culture, and the creation of these pages by Scottish Libraries and their communities is a very special output from the project. Respondents acknowledged that the project had had an impact on the organisations they worked for, with 80% agreeing or strongly agreeing that it had helped their organisation develop new digital skills, 75% that it had increased their organisation's expertise in relation to copyright and open licenses, 70% that it had increased senior support for open knowledge projects and 62% that it had encouraged an organisation-wide buy-in to the benefits of open knowledge. Librarians still felt that there were barriers to overcome in developing a culture of open knowledge in their library, highlighting the following:

  • Issues around capacity, staff skill levels and time input
  • Issues around engagement or resistance at a senior staff level
  • More work needed to develop staff knowledge and expertise on copyright and open licenses
  • More time needed to roll out training across their wider staff team
  • Structural issues such as the separation of libraries and museums, when they should be working together
  • Organisations sticking with the better known paywall system for digital collections rather than considering the benefits of open licenses

However, librarians also related the many benefits to the wider library sector that this project had helped highlight:

  • "Libraries are about access for all and [open knowledge] supports this ideology."

Programme 3: AdvocacyEdit

Strategic goal: Create changes in policy and practice that enable open knowledge to flourish

Background and Theory of Change (TOC)

Long term outcome:

Our work has significantly increased free, online access to knowledge and information

  • Access to information is being restricted
  • Content holding organisations can have a negative attitude towards opening up their collections under an open licence
  • Policy context in the UK restricts sharing of open knowledge
Theory of change:

Open access to information is a fundamental right and a prerequisite to building understanding, but political and market forces in the UK can strive to keep information closed and inaccessible. Wikimedia UK advocates for change at an institutional, sector and policy level, making the case for open access to knowledge.

Where is our intervention:
  • Access to knowledge is being restricted for a variety of reasons. A key one can be a lack of understanding of the benefits (and risks) of sharing knowledge openly. We have the arguments and successful examples to change minds and practice on this.
Strategic objectives:
  • Support and enable individual organisations to adopt more open policies and practice
  • Promote and facilitate sector-level change towards open knowledge
  • Work with national and international partners to build the case for free knowledge
  • Advocate for open knowledge within the UK’s public policy and legislative arena
  • Contribute to international advocacy activities and programmes as appropriate
Why us
  • We have the network, thought leadership, and experience of working through policy resistance towards open knowledge.
  • In-depth work with selected organisations in the UK to change their policies and practice. Generating case studies and business cases
  • Advocacy within specific sectors (e.g. GLAM), using specific arguments for open knowledge adoption
  • Policy work with UK decision makers
Evidence that it’s working + Who are we reaching (Metrics)
  • Volunteer hours
  • Number of leading volunteers
  • Number of touch points/interactions with policymakers (including consultations)
  • Evidence of cultural/attitudinal shift within partner organisations (through benchmarking and exit interviews)
  • Organisations adopting open licensing practices/policies
  • Recognition of our policy agenda in Government policy
  • The Government policy agenda is visibly enacted through regulation, investment or direct action


(The metrics in the left column in bold are our Grant metrics)

Indicator 2017/18 end year results 2018/19 end year results 2019/20 end year results Explanations
3. Participants 2863 3,942 2,146 Audiences at our talks, raising awareness or generating calls to action
7. Volunteer hours 4275 6,339 2,934.5 Connected to the talks above
5. Leading volunteers 123 102 75 Community leaders delivering advocacy work or awareness raising talks
22. Responses to consultations 4 5 2 White Paper on Online Harms involvement, and  Arts Council’s consultation on their next ten year strategy - reduced political engagement otherwise.
23. Policy change 4 3 3 Long term evidence for success of our advocacy work: Oxford University GLAM Digital Strategy, Society of Antiquaries Scotland, S4C (Welsh TV broadcaster)

Highlights of programme activityEdit

Organisational Change Towards Openness

For the past year we’ve been working with the Society of Antiquaries Scotland to support the organisation's desire to shift towards more effective working with open knowledge. This was led by a Wikimedian in Residence. The set up allowed for an in-depth review of the organisation, to analyse how each part of its activities could be boosted by being open/collaborating with Wikimedia. The result of this work is a draft policy containing recommendations with comprehensive coverage of avenues in which the Society could engage with the Wikimedia projects - ten policy recommendations and twenty-five project ideas that would help the Society better achieve its strategic objectives, whilst also aligning with those of Wikimedia. The policy document also makes several suggestions on how Society can work with marginalised groups, especially language groups. In preparation for the coming changes and enabling the team to deliver recommendations, the Resident is delivering Wikimedia staff training, including on Wikimedia Commons.

The recommendations will change the organisation itself, but will also have an impact within the sector. The Society runs a microgrant programme, and the Resident recommended a change that would include Wikimedia work: "It is recommended that along with the ‘One Grant, One Edit’ requirement grants receipts be required to participate in a social media campaign to highlight their work, the society and their contribution to Wikimedia projects, like the #1lib1ref social media campaign. #1lib1ref is when the Wikipedia Library team and affiliates from around the world, usually on the birthday of Wikipedia, ask librarians to engage by "adding one more reference to Wikipedia". They create memes and do general promotion. A #1grant1edit campaign would see the grant receipts post on social media (any platform) about what they have contributed to Wikimedia projects as part of the Society’s grant. This should not be a burden on grant holders and can be just a single social media post."

The report is currently with staff for feedback. The next stage of this work will be to start embedding the recommendations in 2020, through staff training, events, and more. To support this, we have funded the Society for continued work of the Resident - this is a valuable investment to make sure that the changes are implemented sustainably; they are also using this funding to leverage extra resources from another body.

Further, we are expanding our advocacy activities in Wales and Scotland, as we feel it’s a good time to start working with new partners, drawing on our accumulated case studies and the momentum from current successful partnerships. This includes reaching out to organisations that have previously been less open to working with us. Key examples of this include:

  • National Museum of Wales - we have been working on shifting their policies towards openness for years, with little effect. It is the next logical organisation though to try and create large-scale change in Wales, and using evidence we’ve amassed so far we are making another approach, supported by the Welsh Language Commissioner.
  • National Museum of Scotland - we have recently started to develop a relationship with them, discussing internal advocacy, KPIs and monitoring, plus some quick win activities. This is an organisation that has previously been somewhat resistant to our approaches, so this opening is very promising.

In terms of our long term, established relationships, there are a few key things to highlight in terms of their continuing engagement with open knowledge:

  • University of Edinburgh won the award for 'Innovative Use of Technology’ at the Herald Higher Education Awards 2019, to recognise the value that Wikipedia in the Classroom brings to teaching. This will highlight its value to other universities in the UK. The award is also strengthening the discussions that our resident is leading around the “Curriculum 2025” development, putting the focus on open knowledge and digital literacy.  
  • The National Library of Wales marketing is sharing more information about their Wikimedia work. This is a signal of the whole organisation embracing working with Wikimedia and seeing its value, not just an isolated department.
  • Oxford University is currently implementing its GLAM Digital Strategy, “To embrace the opportunities offered by digital to democratise access to the collections, eliminating geographic, cultural and economic boundaries.” There are many strands to this strategy, and some of the work relates to search and discovery of digitised materials. This is exactly what our resident in Oxford was working on. His three “explorers” – Wikidata-driven proof-of-concept web applications –  have shaped the institution’s thinking about how linked data can assist search and discovery. We will see outcomes of this in 2020, but at this stage it’s great to see the policy itself. See the case study below for a broader view on this.

Sector-wide Advocacy

In depth, organisation-level advocacy work is extremely important for us in order to build case studies and facilitate deep change. This is not particularly scalable though, so within the year we seek to influence whole sectors (glam, education etc) towards becoming more open. This work can be done by conferences; for example we were present at the key culture/tech event of the year, Museums + Tech, where Jason Evans of the National Library of Wales and Martin Poulter of the University of Oxford presented about using Wikidata to join up and visualise different data sets.

Another way of leveraging impact within a secor is via a campaign - we run a coordinated #1lib1ref campaign in Scotland across January and February. This was led by the Scottish Library & Information Council (SLIC) resident, who was able to use the networked nature of her post to reach a wide range of institutions in Scotland. The WiR boosted the campaign with the help of campaign amplifiers such as CILIPS (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland), the Scottish Health Information Network (SHINE) and the SLIC social media team.

The campaign points to another scalability approach - using existing partners in our network as leaders and changemakers. This is happening, for example, at the National Library of Scotland, which continues to engage with open knowledge and the Wikimedia projects since its WIR in 2014. National Library of Scotland (NLS) hosted two ‘Culture to Commons’ events. The first was attended by internal staff but also other organisations in Edinburgh - including two representatives from the National Museum of Scotland, who brought along (excellent) images of the Lewis Chessmen for upload. NLS subsequently hosted a meeting with Jason Evans from the National Library of Wales to talk about his Wikidata work in depth.

Lastly, in an overlap between public policy and sector advocacy, we engage with key decision makers, with the aim to influence their policies in support of open knowledge. For example we’ve been in talks about policy change with the Welsh Language Commissioner. They are very keen after we’ve briefed them on all the work that has happened in Wales so far, and the potential of the Wikimedia projects in Wales. This contact is helping us with advocacy within targeted organisations in Wales as well.

Influencing Public Policy and Legislation

Our Chief Executive Lucy Crompton-Reid leads our work to develop our role as a key player within the UK’s openness movement, and during 2019 continued to build valuable relationships across this sector. In February, Wikimedia UK supported Mozilla's campaign to increase transparency around political advertising, and we were pleased to welcome one of Mozilla's European campaigns team to our AGM as a keynote speaker. Wikimedia UK was also represented at several meetings with civil society organisations on the subject of mis/disinformation, which are being convened by Mozilla.

In July, Lucy was a speaker at the prestigious Westminster Media Forum's seminar on UK copyright policy - 'value exchange, international relationships and the Copyright Directive', which had over 120 attendees. As one of the few speakers who represented users rather than rights holders, this was an important opportunity to engage with policy makers on some of the problematic aspects of the Copyright Directive, as well as strengthening Wikimedia UK's profile and credibility in this area. Following this talk, Lucy has met with a number of senior staff at the UK Communications Regulator Ofcom to discuss the regulation of AI in the context of bias; as well as their broader work on online harms. Wikimedia UK has since joined Ofcom's Media Literacy Network and is attending regular networking and briefing events around this theme, organised by Ofcom.


Our advocacy work is often tactical in approach, taking advantage of arising opportunities. An important aspect here is connecting to the external environment and connecting to trends/issues already happening elsewhere. This is somewhat different thinking to what our movement is used to (looking fairly inwardly, even when working with institutions for change). And so our two examples of working within an external context are quite interesting:

  • The National Library of Wales released an impact report of their Government-funded project WiciPobl (Wiki People). It also demonstrates how working with Wikimedia can help cultural heritage institutions build and support new communities and achieve outcomes which align with their core values whilst increasing access to, and use of, their digital collections. It follows Europeana’s ‘impact playbook’ framework, and we expect it to receive significant exposure, further promoting the long term benefits of working on open knowledge. It connects to a known and recognised tool in the sector, which boosts the message we are conveying.
  • For a thought provoking argument on how Wikidata work can map to an organisational strategy, see this blog from the Bodleian Libraries resident. Again, it looks closely at how an external organisation can relate to Wikimedia, which is a key advocacy framing.

Changes, Challenges and LearningEdit


Compare to our proposal.

We had anticipated having a stronger UK policy focus for our advocacy work in 2019/20, given that Britain's exit from the EU will make the priorities of the EU Advocacy Group less relevant within our national context. However, this has been challenging for a number of reasons. The resignation of the serving UK Prime Minister and subsequent change in leadership earlier in the year, followed by a General Election in December, made it hard to build relationships when ministerial posts and even civil service roles were changing rapidly. Added to which, continued uncertainty and unrest over Brexit made it harder to engage with politicians and their staff on more nuanced issues around digital literacy and copyright legislation. As an example, Wikimedia UK wrote to the Secretary of State for Culture in April 2019 in response to the White Paper on Online Harms, and a meeting was called to address the points raised with the Director of Online Harms within DCMS. However, due to ministerial changes and time pressures on staff within the department the meeting was rearranged four times and ended up not happening.

We were intending on using Wikidata explicitly in our advocacy work, recognising its growing importance in our programmes across the board. This has happened to a large extent on the level of working with individual organisations - it’s rare that Wikidata doesn’t come up in our partnership discussions. However, we have not yet built a general, sector or even UK-wide policy argument for Wikidata/open data. We hope that with more organisation-level examples to hand, it will be possible to build this in the future.


A few residencies wrapped up their first year at the end of 2019, which prompted reflections on delivery, barriers experienced, and thoughts on going forward. Below we are highlighting the three new residencies we run in 2019 - Society of Antiquaries Scotland, Coventry University, and Humanists UK (which we are supporting informally).

Society of Antiquaries Scotland' reflected on the first year of its residency, and the difficulties of the format we chose:

“The idea of having a WiR working on creating policies document went quite well. It has created a road map/blueprint of actions for the Society to work on for years to come. This sort of WiR would be valuable to other organisations and recommend it.

The only critique is that one day a week over a year may not be the right distribution of time. Small recurring events and activities, while not taking up a significant amount of time by themselves, cumulatively ate up a lot of time. A single meeting could take up a morning which is roughly an 1/8th of the work time for that month.”

The extension, which we are supporting, has been set up as 2 days per week, although the Society still needs to fundraise to plug the funding gap that this created.

The residency at Coventry University has passed its six-month mark. The ongoing challenge is converting the university’s potential into tangible outcomes which address decolonisation of the curriculum and digital literacy skills. With links overseas, a strong background in digital fluency, and connections to cultural institutions in the region, the university is well placed to benefit from a residency. Disruptive Media Learning Lab’s remit cuts across departments. This is paving the way for interdisciplinary projects, though this can also present a challenge as departments will have their own priorities which take precedence before addressing broader issues. Events run by the Wikimedian in Residence continue to attract attention from university staff, but struggle with high drop-out rate from registrations, a problem which extends beyond events run for the residency. It would seem to us that the project is really well placed for success, and yet is has not delivered substantially to this point. With this in mind we will look in-depth into this programme in Q1.

Our partnership with Humanists UK continues, having completed its first year.  The post we are helping to support is that of a Heritage Coordinator, rather than a Wikimedian in Residence, although the outputs of her post will include engagement with the Wikimedia projects. Unusually for this kind of collaboration, it is yet to deliver a great deal in the way of content. The first year of the project has focussed on meetings with stakeholders and possible partners, during which Humanist UK’s partnership with Wikimedia UK has been highlighted, particularly with regard to Knowledge Equity. As the Coordinator reflects, “The Humanist Heritage project itself aims to 'fill the gaps': increasing the representation of a marginalised history (that of secularism and humanism in the UK), as well as of forgotten or lesser known individuals within this broader heritage. Many of the ‘remembered’ figures to date have been white, middle class, and male, and we are seeking to redress this imbalance through research and publication.”

It has been recognised that some of the groups in which Humanists UK have a lower level of digital literacy than others, which is a barrier to work through in 2020. Because of the longer lead time on the delivery of events, it is hoped that our longer term engagement with the project will ensure as far as possible the best chance of success, both in the event delivery stage, and in the longer term.  


Both our work, and the open knowledge arguments, develop rapidly. It can be hard to stay on top of all the developments, and to know where the key information is. For this reason we organised another UK Wikimedians in Residence summit (hosted by our newest WIR partner, Coventry University). This was a networking and peer learning event, with most of the WMUK programme team participating too. The discussion part included sharing of advocacy challenges experienced by the Residents, and the group working through suggested solutions. We also delivered two Wikidata workshops, including a highly useful SPARQL queries workshop - presenting content from SPARQL queries is a key advocacy skill as it can very tangibly demonstrate benefits of releasing and working with open data. We’re confident these skills will be built on within the advocacy activities of both the Residents and Wikimedia UK staff.


The context for this work is complex and we are continually adapting to it. On a top level, a new regulatory framework – proposed in a joint White Paper from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Home Office, and including Wikipedia in its scope – could potentially impact on the way in which Wikimedia is able to operate in the UK. However, the same White Paper also presents new opportunities for us to engage with the government on our information literacy work, and to build new relationships with organisations fighting online harm.

More broadly, rather than seeing a linear progression towards more open knowledge, we are instead seeing increased censorship and the re-enclosure of information from both government and market forces in the UK and world-wide. This trend is worrying, but gives us an opportunity to be active in the space, and for example use our digital literacy work for open knowledge advocacy and strengthening of the open society.

On a practical level, we responded to the consultation on the Culture Strategy for Scotland in early 2019. The strategy has since been published, and there's a lot in terms of diversity that I feel chimes with our work around knowledge equity. We will be following up on this!

Case studyEdit

 Oxford University's WIR Impact on collections infrastructure in the UK

Our Resident at Oxford University (previously Bodleian Libraries) has been developing inspiring ‘proofs of concepts’ to show how Wikidata can be used to meet a cultural institution’s strategic needs. To see some examples, and to engage with a thought-provoking argument on how Wikidata work can map to an organisational strategy, see this blog

Oxford University’s cultural offering includes four museums, the 31 Bodleian Libraries, and the botanic gardens. In 2017 these were brought under the umbrella of a GLAM Division. Across these institutions there are many different catalogues and platforms for sharing images and metadata. Oxford is currently implementing its GLAM Digital Strategy, which focuses on embracing the opportunities offered by digital to democratise access to collections, eliminating geographic, cultural and economic boundaries. There are many strands to this strategy, and some of the work relates to search and discovery of digitised materials. The Resident’s three “explorers” – Wikidata-driven proof-of-concept web applications developed during the residency – have been presented to the programme board and other committees and have shaped the institution’s thinking about how linked data can assist search and discovery.

The residency’s influence goes much further, however. We’d like to illustrate how his work around Wikidata is influencing collections infrastructure in the UK.

Inspired by the residency and the demonstrated potential of Wikidata, three successful proposals were developed by Oxford University to United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI, a quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation that directs all government research and innovation funding) to transform access to the UK’s research collection infrastructure. These proposals total over £100m to improve how cultural collections are used in research and innovation. The bids address access to content, digitisation and infrastructure. Each of the bid documents mentions Wikidata in the section on Access to Content, and specifically mentions ‘Depict-o-tron’, a prototype built by the Resident. Depict-o-tron shows how Wikidata can be used to store publicly available informationcapture from the public statements about an artwork, including artworks that are available via a IIIF server rather than Wikimedia Commons.

As a separate but related strand of far-reaching advocacy, Corsham Institute (a think tank that aims to deliver a fair and inclusive digital future for all) has been in touch with the Resident to learn more about his approach. The Corsham Institute are advising DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) on the possibility of a national aggregator of cultural heritage. As part of this they spoke to different stakeholders about the issues the sector is facing in aggregating and sharing digitised collections. The Institute had talks with Oxford’s GLAM division, in which Oxford mentioned that top-level data (“tombstone data”) from many different collections is being added to Wikidata to help with discovery. Wikimedia UK is now directly in touch with the Institute, discussing our potential involvement with this work.

Programme 4: CapacityEdit

Strategic goal: Develop our capacity and profile as a leading organisation for open knowledge

Background and Theory of Change (TOC)

Long term outcome:

Wikimedia UK is recognised as a leading organisation for open knowledge

  • WMUK is best placed to deliver the three strategic aims above (rather than other open knowledge organisations in the UK)
Theory of change:

To deliver our ambitious strategy as a small organisation we need be able to leverage our reputation within the UK and the wider open knowledge movement, and to be seen as a credible and effective organisation. This must be underpinned by volunteer capacity and financial sustainability to be able to plan impactful long term programmes.

Where is our intervention:
  • We are positioning ourselves as a thought leader and an essential player in the open knowledge movement in the UK
Strategic objectives:
  • Increase awareness and understanding of open knowledge and Wikimedia UK
  • Develop Wikimedia UK’s community of contributors, volunteers and members
  • Actively support technical innovation that helps to deliver on our strategic aims
  • Develop our role as a key player and ally within the UK’s openness movement
  • Make a significant contribution to the global work of the Wikimedia movement
  • Establish a sustainable business model underpinned by diverse and stable funding
Why us:
  • We have the Wikimedia brand in the UK, plus a growing body of high profile, successful open knowledge collaborations with UK institutions.
  • Broad external relations activities
  • Comms strategy. Public awareness campaigns. Collaboration with open knowledge movement
  • Volunteer strategy
  • Programme innovation
  • International Wikimedia movement engagement
  • Fundraising, income generation
  • Organisational development
Evidence that it’s working + Who are we reaching (Metrics):
  • Volunteer hours
  • Number of leading volunteers
  • Total number of participants
  • Digital media engagement
  • Total audience and reach
  • Gender of lead volunteers (quarterly)
  • In-depth diversity stats for lead volunteers (annual)
  • Volunteers would recommend Wikimedia UK (annual)
  • Volunteers feel valued by Wikimedia UK (annual)
  • Volunteers have developed new skills (annual)
  • Press coverage
  • Speaking engagement
  • Global movement participation
  • Staff retention, as a measure of organisational health
  • Financial health metrics (tbc)
  • Net promoter score for key stakeholders and audiences (possibly through a reputational audit - subject to costs)


(The metrics in the left column in bold are our Grant metrics)

Indicator 2017/18 end year results 2018/19 end year results 2019/20 end year results Explanations
1. Total audience and reach 82,060 70,324 64,294 Includes 56,584 social media subscribers, 7,475 event participants plus 451 leading volunteers. We had an issue with our website/blog for a few months in 2019, the visits were not tracked. This we believe explains why the target was not reached. We are still pleased with the size of the audience we reached, with a very strong in-person events presence.
2. Digital media reach 79,074 66,440 56,584 All social media as mentioned above (without the in-person participation)
6. Female % of lead volunteers 48.72% 49.70% 44.68% The proportion of our lead volunteers (community organisers, event leads, partnership leads at partner organisations) who are women. We believe that visibly diverse leadership will attract a more diverse contributor community, so this is a key metric for our underrepresented content work.

8. Volunteers would recommend WMUK

9. Volunteers feel valued by WMUK

10. Volunteers have developed new skills

8. - 81.25%

9. - 75.86%

10.- 81.48%

8.- 92%

9. - 80%

10.- 78%

8.- 88.37%

9. -83.87%


We track volunteer satisfaction and development as a way of assessing sustainability of the community.
In-depth diversity stats for lead volunteers (annual) (narrative) new - See narrative below See narrative below

Highlights of programme activityEdit

Within our new strategy, we have separated out our advocacy work with policy makers (in whatever setting, be that a museum or a government department) - this is now the third goal above. This strategic strand focuses on our broader communications designed to inform and engage the general public now sits here, together with other activities designed to boost our profile within the Wikimedia movement, and in the UK generally.

General Outreach (Increasing Awareness and Understanding of Open Knowledge and Wikimedia UK)

We proactively seek out and respond to opportunities to connect to large audiences so that we can share the open knowledge messaging and advocacy broadly. In 2019, we could highlight the following activities:

  • Presentations at the Women and Power Conference: Redressing the balance; session on ‘Accessing women’s history: overcoming barriers and increasing visibility’; participating in a Women in the Open webinar on International Women’s Day; speaking at the Open Education Resources (OER) 2019 conference.
  • At CILIPS Scotland 2019 250 people heard us talk about Creating a more tolerant, informed and democratic society through open knowledge. Positioning our vision at the centre of awareness raising talks is key in letting people know what the open knowledge can really achieve in the UK.

We received a fair amount of media coverage through the National Library of Wales outreach work. For example, Jason was interviewed by Radio Cymru about Wikidata and the History Hackathon. He also talked about Wikidata at a ‘Data Treaders’ Libraries event in Manchester, and talked about Wikipedia at the Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum.

We also delivered a pilot partnership with Khalili Collections, which was covered in the media, e.g.

To support our general advocacy work, we released a beautiful annual report, and were also finally able to print the Wikimedians in Residence impact report. Our promotional postcards were also produced and are now used at events to raise awareness of our work.


In line with our new strategy, we are paying more attention to support and development of the international Wikimedia movement. There are various aspects of this work, all feeding into building our profile amongst our international colleagues.

A key strand is supporting the movement with our knowledge, which helps sustain our reputation as an expertise hub. A few examples of this activity:

  • Attending Central Eastern European regional conference in Autumn, sharing our best practice in supporting diversity across governance and delivery
  • Discussing ways of measuring digital literacy with Wiki Education Foundation, sharing our frameworks
  • N’Ko language Wikipedia: helping  the newly accepted N’Ko language Wikipedia with Wikidata infoboxes, using our expertise from the Welsh Wikipedia context
  • Our published WIR impact report has been very well received, with people coming back to us for comments and further advice. Lucy presented the highlights of the report at Wikimania 2019 in the Partnerships space.

Collaborating and contributing to international initiatives:

  • We were involved in the Wikimedia 2030 global strategy work throughout 2019, via working groups, writing recommendations, and connecting our communities to the conversations. We took the opportunity to connect this work to our current delivery, and run a strategy ‘Youth Salon’ with participants of the Welsh Bacc WiciMon project.
  • After Celtic Knot 2019, we carried on networking and support between languages online, especially around the Cornish Wikipedia. We are now working closely with the Wikimedia Community Ireland on the Celtic Knot 2020 conference which they are hosting. This is our first significant collaboration with them and so its success will be key to building future partnerships.

Thanks to being connected and known within the movement, we can also draw on the knowledge within our networks to inform our delivery work in the UK:

  • We were present at  Wikidata Conference, Wikimania (including the pre meeting of GLAM coordinators). We also attend the Education Affiliates online meetings.
  • We are interested in and watching closely the WikiEd Foundation developments around Wikidata courses.


Working with our volunteers and community leaders is a key way of building and sustaining our delivery capacity. The key way in which we have supported and expanded our volunteer community was the Train the Trainer course, delivered in Glasgow and including a mix of Scotland, England and international-based trainers. The case study below gives details. Those trainers become our key ‘lead volunteers’ and community organisers, and it’s vital that we put effort into supporting them. Please see the case study below for details.

In order to better support our community, and gain insight into what they need, we run an annual community leaders survey at the end of the activity year. The results are:

8. Volunteers would recommend WMUK - 88.37%

9. Volunteers feel valued by WMUK - 83.87%

10. Volunteers have developed new skills - 81.82%

Full results, and our analysis of these, are here.

For reflections on results from the rest of the questions, see the ‘Learning’ section below.


The Train the Trainer workshop...
...and all the attendees together

We designed and ran our Train the Trainer course with a new trainer this year, for the first time since the programme started in 2012. This gave us an opportunity to rethink and try out new approaches.

We addressed the group of attendees as a cohort, with a mailing list sharing training materials (homework/reading) for a few weeks before the event. This helped level out people’s Wikimedia knowledge, and created some initial connections between participants - we wanted to build a community of trainers supporting each other after the course. For this reason we also focused on the social aspect during the 3-day course, spending some of the dinners together. The mailing list continued after the training course, with attendees sharing ideas for events and updates from their Wikimedia volunteering.

Running the course takes a lot of our capacity, so we wanted to make sure that the prospective trainers are clear on our expectations. For this reason, volunteers would register their interest in the course, which would then be followed up with a phone conversation with our Scotland Coordinator. This was time-consuming, but worth it - we convinced a few great (but unsure) trainers to attend, and also turned one person down where we felt it wasn’t right for them.

Quotes from participants:

This was fantastic, one of the best training courses I've been on - and I've done loads (good and bad). The content, participants, location were all great and I felt empowered by taking the course as well as making useful contacts from a range of different organisations.

Thank you! The whole experience was clearly very well thought out and incredibly welcoming. It was really valuable not only in terms of skills and ideas for designing training, but also in building a warm, supportive, and diverse network of people working on a range of fascinating projects. I wouldn't hesitate to stay in touch with any of the participants, and I'm desperate to go back to Glasgow!

I feel privileged to be part of this.

Changes, Challenges and LearningEdit


Compare to our proposal.

This was a new strategic aim for us in 2019, and does not have an accompanying programme strand. It was therefore described quite briefly in our grant proposal, generally stressing the need for us to continue efforts to sustain and build our capacity, and profile.

We feel we made great strides in working within the international movement, with a few key contributions, such as the 2030 strategy work, and the publication of our Wikimedian in Residence impact report.


With a lot of experimentation, the Train the Trainer course brought a range of challenges too. We worked with a new provider for the course - he was willing to design it, bespoke to us, but this meant it took much longer, and that at one point we needed to just pin the date as otherwise we’d just be improving it for ever. In terms of participation, we already knew of quite a few great community leaders who could be trained - but they were all very busy (and the course lasted for 3 days), or unsure whether they would get something out of participating. When we talked to prospective attendees from academic circles (e.g. lecturers), they were sceptical whether they’d learn anything new. It wasn’t easy for us to communicate the value of the course on paper, but after talking to people on the phone most were won over, and the feedback from the course was extremely positive - one academic said he learned more in the weekend than in his whole year of teacher training!

MHoser's photo of Kilchurn Castle won Wiki Loves Monuments UK 2019 and is a Featured Picture on Commons

Another challenge we faced was with participation at Wiki Loves Monuments. WLM was one of our main engagement campaigns in 2019. Every year it brings a significant amount of new editors into our programmes. This year however we have noticed a reduced level of participation. Overall, WLM-UK performed well - we finished 6th in the international competition with more than 10,000 entries. While this was a good effort, there were markers indicating the competition did not appeal to as many people this year. The number of people visiting the WLM-UK website declined by just over 30% from the previous year (around 500,000 people visited). This was a contributing factor to a reduced participation level - the number of submissions dropped by a little over 20%. The reason behind the decline in the number of people visiting the WLM-UK website from the banner on Wikimedia projects is unclear;  this may represent banner fatigue or perhaps a familiarity with WLM amongst people who are most likely to participate.


Reflections from the annual Community Leaders (volunteers) survey:

We had an improved response rate to our Community Leaders survey this year (54 up on last year’s 38), and with most reflecting positively on their volunteering experience, as well as their support from, and feeling valued by, Wikimedia UK.

In asking respondents as to whether we could do anything to improve their experience, the range of responses indicated a desire for more training / signposting to information, and information as to support that is available for community groups and trainers (some of this is already being actioned with the newest cohort of Train the Trainers). Of the 59.09% of respondents who received training, 92.3% found the training useful, with 61.54% responding “Yes, definitely.”  Some responses referenced a desire for items which we already offer - event passes for photographers, for example, and it is possible therefore that there is scope for us to better communicate already existing opportunities for volunteers. There was also a desire to see increased press coverage, and making information more easily findable on our website; it is hoped that our planned improvements to our website, and the recruitment of a new communications role at a senior level, will help with this.

We added a new question this year, to match with our theory of change, which asked respondents if they felt that the work they did contributed to decreasing gender bias on Wikipedia (41.82% - 23), underrepresentation of minority/indigenous languages in the projects (16.36% - 9), and underrepresentation of cultural topics (41.82% - 23).  This shows that minority languages are an area of lower interest / focus than gender bias and cultural topics. This split is likely to be because we run fewer minority language programmes, but we should also perhaps consider a perception that editing in en:wiki allows for greater global exposure. The lack of overlap in responses (55/54) shows that most respondents are clearly oriented towards one topic or another; this is useful feedback in terms of building programmes and organising capacity building work around each of these areas.

Further reflections are available under each question in our full report.


Financial stability is core to the functioning of our organisation. Within a broad picture, funding pressures within the UK’s wider voluntary and cultural sectors are likely to become more acute, given the increasing likelihood of a global economic downturn and the economic fallout from Brexit. This means that we will be focusing even more on our fundraising activities, and exploring new opportunities for earned income as well as seeking to increase funding from existing sources such as individual donors.

On a pragmatic note, we have a few great opportunities for growing our profile and promoting our work over the coming year. We are in position to be represented well at the OER20 in April, the key open education conference in the UK. We will also use the event to launch the education case study booklet developed in collaboration with Edinburgh University. This is our first publication of this sort highlighting the work in the UK education sector, and so very significant for our profile and future education activities (just to note, we will be adapting all of these in light of our new pandemic-influenced reality).

Case studiesEdit

 Train the Trainer (Scotland)

Over the course of the last year, the demand for training support in Scotland has increased, and it was recognised that whilst part of the Scotland Programme Coordinator’s role is to develop our volunteer network across the country, that this may be particularly resource-intensive, to the point that it could impact upon other parts of her work. It became obvious that an increase in volunteer training capacity could give us an opportunity to significantly extend our reach and impact in Scotland.

With this in mind, we decided to allocate resources to a Train the Trainer course, with a specific focus on Scotland. Discussions around the brief, volunteer role description and scheduling took a fairly long time, partly because despite our experience in running the TtT course, we engaged a new trainer and so wanted to give due consideration to the examination of first principles. With our mature understanding of editathon and training events, it was very useful to discuss how our volunteer community can support the activity programme, and what training they need to deliver that well.

Our Scotland Programme Coordinator Dr Sara Thomas decided to approach the group as a specific volunteer cohort, and apply lessons learned from her volunteer management and development experience gained in charity fundraising and event management. New trainers would be asked to sign an agreement which clearly laid out expectations that they would undertake a minimum number of training events per year, and that these could be booked both reactively, in response to a call from Wikimedia UK, and proactively, through their own contracts. This would ensure both that they would have sufficient opportunities to volunteer throughout the year, and that we were using their networks and contacts to best advantage in order to develop our network. It was also hoped that they would be able to support campaigns like #1lib1ref and Wiki Loves Monuments throughout the year. We therefore asked for the brief to include some work on needs-analysis and working with a client in advance, as well as course design and delivery.

In order to recruit for the course we put out a general call on the ScotWiki and Wikimedia UK mailing lists, developed a sign up page on our website, and also approached particular individuals with whom we’ve been working and who we thought might appreciate this opportunity for development. We encountered a particular challenge around those we approached in academic circles; the course would take at least 3 days, which would cut into teaching time, and with the content of the course focussing on pedagogy/approach to training rather than advanced Wikipedia editing, there was some scepticism as to whether this would be of value to them. This was in line with previous feedback from academic partners.

With this in mind, we felt that an individual approach would work best for this cohort. Following the receipt of expressions of interest, Dr Thomas carried out phone interviews with prospective trainees. This was both to assess their suitability for the course, but also to explain the value of attending - something that we struggled to convey on paper. It was agreed with one individual that this course would not be the right fit for them, but that we could develop their volunteering in other ways.

In line with our previous TtT courses, we also wanted to open the opportunity of participation to training leads from other Wikimedia affiliates, and in the end invited two international participants. In total we accepted six trainees from Scotland (including one from the north of Scotland and two from the south), one from England, one partnership lead (also England), and two international delegates. Dr Thomas and Daria Cybulska also attended, making a total of 12.

There was a vast array of difference between trainees in the breadth and depth of their on-Wiki experience. In order to ensure as level a playing field as possible, and focusing primarily on Wikipedia rather than another of the projects, Dr Thomas put in place a multi-week plan of pre-course reading and suggested editing activities, which was distributed through email, and set up a Google Group mailing list which could be used for peer support both before and after the course. Take up on the pre-course info was mixed - this may have been better presented as a MOOC or Outreach Dashboard module rather than a text-heavy series of emails - but does seem to have been appreciated by all as a resource for future reference, and we have now also used it as a resource for others new to Wikimedia, including the new Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities student intern. It also generated an initial exchange between the future attendees, which was important as one of our aims was to start developing a community of practice in Scotland.

The training quality itself was very high and very well received; in particular one participant rated it more highly than their professional teaching training. It was also noted that the social aspect arranged around the course days was particularly valuable, and helped bond the group, as well as break up what was a very intense three days of training.

The mailing list continues to be low-traffic, but is a key source of peer support and communication; Dr Thomas has shared her newly-updated slides which reflect a redesign of her standard training session, and members have contributed interesting links and reflections on wiki-related activities. In addition to this, Dr Thomas has kept in regular contact with individual trainers, and is currently in a transitional period with regard to sending trainers out on their own to lead courses. It is her intention that for those with lower confidence / wiki skills, she will offer them a support slot at an editathon session that she will lead, or support sessions that they are leading (as appropriate). She will then offer support and feedback, building skills and confidence in order that they feel comfortable leading courses on their own. For those with lower wiki skills, she is ensuring that they are aware of editathon activity in their area or within travelling distance. She has conducted follow up phone interviews with each trainee to assess their interests and further training needs. In particular, there are two trainers who have shown interest in developing Wikidata skills, and they have been supported and encouraged to work on particular projects.

At the time of writing, one trainer is working on the development of a light-touch Wiki in the classroom activity (a five week Student Selective Component in Science Communication for medical students at the University of Glasgow, which will include discussion of Wikipedia as a public outreach tool); one is working with a local history group and has provided leads for the set up of two social editing groups in two different Scottish cities; one trainer will be supporting Dr Thomas in an upcoming event in Glasgow, and will build on that experience to approach and develop an activity with an arts network local to her in the Borders; and three trainers have multiple events lined up, including one which is a multi-partner and multi-project event in the North of Scotland.

Participant blogs following the training session:

 Culture on Wikipedia

At Wikimedia UK's AGM in July 2019, we also took the opportunity to engage our community in the very present conversation about culture and conflict on the English Wikipedia. This is a key discussion, as evidenced by the closing talk at Wikimania later this year. It was important for us to make this a key workshop at our annual gathering, and it resulted in a worthwhile discussion. With our community of members we wanted to explore the policy, cultural, and structural issues on Wikipedia which can contribute to conflict. The session began by gauging the audience’s opinion on whether Wikipedia has a problem with harassment and conflict, before splitting into three groups to discuss some of the problems in more detail.

While the English Wikipedia has an infrastructure for dealing with conflict, it is not always effective or accessible. When the processes are used, results are variable: unambiguous cases where an editor is violating community norms are far easier to deal with more complex situations. With enormous backlogs in areas such as new page reviewing, there is a great deal of pressure on editors to move quickly. Editors who make mistakes or are still learning the ropes run a gauntlet of what kind of experience they might have when encountering other editors. Is it likely to be someone who will take the time to explain issues or someone who has reviewed 50 pages in the last hour and wants to move on to the next? Such cultural and structural problems are not just experienced by new editors and more experienced contributors can run into problems.

Wikipedia’s transparency is one of its greatest strengths, but it can also lend itself to prolonged harassment. Contribution lists are publicly available which means one editor can go through another’s history edit by edit if they want. There are instances where this has happened and editors have found their articles up for deletion. To a casual observer this kind of harassment can be hard to identify since it is often framed within notability policies and the scale of interaction is often missing for context., This can puts pressure on the person being harassed to do something about it.

The discussions raised many large questions which cannot be answered by a chapter alone, but are still worth considering. Wikipedia is not the only online digital community that is learning to deal with conflict, and there may be lessons from other communities. It was noticeable that while discussions were initially focused on one particular aspect identified as contributing to conflict, that they often overlapped; there is an interplay between the culture on Wikipedia, its policies, and the structures of power and technical structures. Lasting change needs to address these issues together otherwise it is resisted. For instance, with technical changes to Wikipedia, there are vocal parts of the Wikipedia editing community who object to changes and feel they are not adequately consulted. Change cannot be imposed from the outside without rupturing a community, and organisations need to work with the community.

Revenues received during this period (12 months)Edit

Please use the exchange rate in your APG proposal.

Table 2 Please report all spending in the currency of your grant unless US$ is requested.

  • Please also include any in-kind contributions or resources that you have received in this revenues table. This might include donated office space, services, prizes, food, etc. If you are to provide a monetary equivalent (e.g. $500 for food from Organization X for service Y), please include it in this table. Otherwise, please highlight the contribution, as well as the name of the partner, in the notes section.
Revenue source Currency Anticipated Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Cumulative Anticipated ($US)* Cumulative ($US)* Explanation of variances from plan
Annual Plan Grant GBP 335,000 83,750 83,750 83,750 83,750 335,000 435,068 435,068 N/A
FDC Other Grant GBP 0 0 1,980 1,980 0 2,571 N/A
Donations GBP 215,000 52,303 53,159 50,596 65,981 222,039 279,223 288,364 please see below for income variances
Gift Aid Claims GBP 17,000 4,076 3,866 3,721 6,123 17,786 22,078 23,099
Gifts in Kind GBP 162,000 38,018 44,956 44,446 30,447 157,867 210,391 205,023
Total GBP 729,000 178,147 187,711 182,513 186,301 734,672 946,760 954,126

* Provide estimates in US Dollars

Spending during this period (12 months)Edit

Please use the exchange rate in your APG proposal.

Table 3 Please report all spending in the currency of your grant unless US$ is requested.

(The "budgeted" amount is the total planned for the year as submitted in your proposal form or your revised plan, and the "cumulative" column refers to the total spent to date this year. The "percentage spent to date" is the ratio of the cumulative amount spent over the budgeted amount.)
Expense Currency Budgeted Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Cumulative Budgeted ($US)* Cumulative ($US)* Percentage spent to date Explanation of variances from plan
SG1 GBP 81,250 18,082 21,450 20,854 17,520 77,906 105,520 101,177 95.88% variances explained in narrative below
SG2 GBP 73,100 16,162 19,371 18,827 15,708 70,069 94,936 90,999 95.85%
SG3 GBP 31,050 6,432 8,460 8,159 6,599 29,650 40,325 38,507 95.49%
SG4 GBP 22,600 1,953 6,270 4,944 7,216 20,382 29,351 26,471 90.19%
Fundraising GBP 15,100 3,275 3,216 3,373 3,320 13,184 19,611 17,123 87.31%
Staff GBP 381,000 92,571 96,659 100,424 105,233 394,886 494,808 512,842 103.64%
Overheads GBP 124,900 32,177 28,454 26,867 30,790 118,288 162,209 153,621 94.71%
TOTAL GBP 729,000 170,652 183,880 183,447 186,385 724,364 946,760 940,740 99.36%

* Provide estimates in US Dollars

Variance Narrative – Agreed Budget vs Actuals

Overall Position

Wikimedia UK’s financial year ends on 31st January and the figures presented above are currently still subject to post-audit adjustment. The result at the 2019/20 year end is a surplus of around £10,300 against a break-even budget. The variance comprises a net underspend on direct costs of £4.6k, and a £5.6k surplus in income.

Income Variances

  • At £222,039, total donations were over our projected figure of £215,000. The excess is attributable to an increase in major donations (over £1,000) due to an increased focus in this area.
  • Gift Aid Claims were £0.8 k above budget at £17.8K. This is as a result of a significant number of the major donations being gift aid eligible.
  • Gifts in Kind income (and matched expenditure) was £19k over budget in the year. As detailed in Q2 this is largely a result of a revision in the recognised financial value of our partnership with National Library Wales and the partnership with Banner Repeater starting earlier than budgeted for.

Expenditure Variances

There were small, non-material, underspends across all strategic areas and support costs with the exception of staff costs which were 3.5% over budget. The increase in staff costs against budget relate to increased hours for two staff members, a promotion for one staff member and costs relating to staff changes as the result of an internal strategic review.

The Senior Management Team at Wikimedia UK produce a Financial Monitoring Report and an accompanying narrative commentary on a quarterly basis. These include much more detailed breakdowns of variances against income and expenditure along with an overview of current financial prospects, and are available upon request for anyone who would like more insight into the organisation’s finances.

Variance Narrative – FDC Proposal Budget vs Actual budget As stated in our proposal document for 2019/20, our internal planning cycle means that the budget provided at proposal stage is a draft. The final 2019/20 budget as agreed by the board contains some differences, a summary of which can be found below:

Budget 2019/20 FDC
Proposal Final Change
INCOME £ £ £
Annual Plan Grant           335,000           335,000                   -  
Small donations           185,000           195,000           10,000
Gift Aid             17,000             17,000                   -  
Gifts in Kind           100,000           137,000           37,000
Major gifts/grants (core funding)             25,000             20,000           (5,000)
Major gifts/grants (project funding)             25,000             25,000                   -  
TOTAL PROJECTED INCOME           687,000           729,000           42,000
Volunteer and Community Support             15,000             15,000                   -  
Partnership programmes           145,000           177,000           32,000
External Relations and Advocacy             13,500             14,000                 500
International                2,000                2,000                   -  
Fundraising costs (processing fees)             15,100             15,100                   -  
Premises             51,760             51,750                 (10)
IT & Telephony             19,250             23,750             4,500
Other Office Costs             10,000             10,000                   -  
Governance             10,500             12,500             2,000
Membership                1,000                1,000                   -  
Audit & Accountancy                9,700                9,700                   -  
General Contingency             10,000             10,000                   -  
Staff salary and on costs           382,600           387,200             4,600
TOTAL BUDGETED EXPENDITURE           685,410           729,000           43,590
Surplus / (Deficit)                1,590                       -             (1,590)


Is your organization compliant with the terms outlined in the grant agreement?Edit

As required in the grant agreement, please report any deviations from your grant proposal here. Note that, among other things, any changes must be consistent with our WMF mission, must be for charitable purposes as defined in the grant agreement, and must otherwise comply with the grant agreement.

  • None apart from what's reported under 'Compare to our plan' sections under each programme.

Are you in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations as outlined in the grant agreement? Please answer "Yes" or "No".

  • Yes

Are you in compliance with provisions of the United States Internal Revenue Code (“Code”), and with relevant tax laws and regulations restricting the use of the Grant funds as outlined in the grant agreement? Please answer "Yes" or "No".

  • Yes


Once complete, please sign below with the usual four tildes.