Learning patterns/How to write an agreement with a GLAM or institution

How to write an agreement with a GLAM or institution
problemSometimes you need or you are asked to write an agreement with a GLAM or another institution to partner with it on the Wikimedia projects.
solutionHow to write an agreement with galleries, libraries, archives, museums (GLAMs) and other institutions.
created on7 November, 2014

What problem does this solve?


Sometimes you need or you are asked to write an agreement with a GLAM or another institution to partner with it on the Wikimedia projects.

What is the solution?

  1. You probably need at least a short project description (please refer below - "project").
  2. Decide what to ask and what to offer (please refer below - "What you can agree on");
  3. Select the type of agreement is more suitable for you (please refer below - "types of agreements");
  4. Adapt the model to your needs;
  5. Send the "draft agreement" (call it "draft") to the institution.

What you can agree on


Check what you can offer and what the institution can offer you before deciding if you actually need an agreement. If the institution already has an open license on its content and content is online, you don't need to make any agreement: just use the content you want to use and attribute it correctly. Other activities might work better if you write an agreement.

What you can offer What the GLAM can offer to you and the Wikimedia projects
  • Support in uploading content of the institution (i.e. uploading images on Wikimedia Commons, books on Wikisource, data on Wikidata...)
  • Involvement of volunteers in contributing to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects with content of the institution.
  • Communication of the content of the institution to the Wikimedia community (i.e. informing the community on the discussion pages of specific Wikiprojects, on the discussion page of Wikipedia and other projects in specific languages, through relevant mailing lists.
  • Organization of a Wikimedia event (i.e. training, presentation of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects, edit-a-thon...).
  • Supporting the institution in selecting a Wikipedian in residence (i.e. communication of the call, and advice in the selection process).
  • Digitalizing a selection of content of the institution.
  • ....
  • Access to content under an open license or already in public domain.
  • Access to a building (i.e. free entrance to the museum, access to the library and the archive...)
  • Availability to host an event (i.e. providing space for a edit-a-thon, a presentation, a meeting, a training...)
  • Availability to host a Wikipedian in residence.
  • Availability to financially support a Wikipedian in residence.
  • ...

Types of agreements

Type Advantages Who signs it What to write References
Letter from the institution involved It is the simplest solution. The letter allows the institution to express its interest in the collaboration. One signature Include in the text:
  1. A statement in which the institution expresses its interest in contributing to the Wikimedia projects. It is a good idea to ask to add a comment (why they are interested); the comment can be really useful for a case study or to use it as a citation.
  2. The statement that they are willing to provide a selection of their content with an open license (or under public domain).
  3. The name of the person who will take care of the collaboration (a reference person of the institution).
Memorandum of Understanding A semi-formal document, Memorandums of understanding are documents signed by both parties, which have no legally binding agreement. Some institutions require more formal agreements than is available through a partnership letter, but you may not want a formal agreement. Two signatures:
  1. The signature of the gallery, library, archive, museum (GLAM) or other institution.
  2. The signature of a Wikimedia chapter or other institution (affiliate, group, institution) promoting the Wikimedia project.
Include with the text:
  • An outline of the agreed upon relationship of activities.
  • A statement describing the relationship as non-binding and that clearly allows both parties to walk away from the partnership at any moment.
  • A description of opportunities or frameworks for continued relationshisp and activities.
  • Signatures
Partnerships agreement This is a formal document signed by two institutions and based on a project; public institutions might require you a partnership agreement. Two signatures:
  1. The signature of the gallery, library, archive, museum (GLAM) or other institution.
  2. The signature of a Wikimedia chapter or other institution (affiliate, group, institution) promoting the Wikimedia project.
The documents need to include
  • Introduction. Information about the two institutions and their representative person; short information about the project.
  • Content. What the agreement is for; what each of the two institution does and what both do.
  • People. Who is in charge.
  • Duration. How long the partnership will last.
  • Money. If money is involved.
  • Propriety. Issues related to licenses, attribution, ownership of content.
  • Controversies. How they will be managed.
  • Legal and procedural issues (i.e. references to related legislation).
  • Signatures.



Often institutions tell you "send me a project," or you need a project description to create a partnership agreement.
Projects can be pretty long and complex, but to collaborate with GLAMs and other institutions you may only need a very simple document. A general project description about GLAM Wiki collaborations can be used as the reference when creating a more specific agreement. Below the structure of the shortest document you need.

Simply structure your project in two pages:

  • Description of what you will do
    • Title (i.e. GLAM Wiki Pakistan)
    • Payoff. A line describing the project (i.e. "contributing to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects in partnership with museums.")
    • Short description of the project (around 20 lines.)
    • When. If it is an ongoing project don't write anything. In general though it is useful to define a duration of a project (a deadline so you can change title and do something new in one year time for example.)
    • Contact. Name and last name, email and phone number of a reference person.
  • Information about who you are
    • Name of the institution promoting the project with a short description (3-5 lines): what the institution does, in which city and country it is based, if it has similar or relevant experiences related to the project, link to a website. If you are an informal group just write the description of the team (see below).
    • The team: highlight the name and role of the people involved and their experience on the topic of the project. If they have a relevant professional profile you can include it (e.g. student in engineers or lawyer.)
    • Partners, supporters, other institutions involved. List or describe other institutions linked to the project. Of course, only mention institutions who are really involved. Add a link to the GLAM portal or mention international projects which explain the relevance and the frame of your project.

General considerations


Some practical suggestions

  • Choose the easiest procedure. Don’t make an agreement if you don’t need one and use a letter rather than a partnership agreement.

When to use


You might need a written agreement in these cases

  • To have a written statement and proof of a GLAMWiki partnership.
  • To define roles and responsibilities (specifically when money is involved).
  • To partner with certain institutions which require a partnership agreement (i.e. some public institutions).
  • To make the institution authorize the release of content under an open license (i.e. Creative Commons attribution share alike) or to make sure public domain content is really accessible.
  • To have the institution nominate a person who can make decisions on the project (selection of content, authorization to release content under an open license, provide content).

See also

Education Toolkit Learning Pattern
This learning pattern is part of the Education Program Toolkit.
Go to the toolkit.