Grants talk:IEG/The Wikipedia Library/Renewal

Review questions for Ocaasi pre-approval of the extension request


Hi Ocaasi, I have been reviewing the The Wikipedia Library's final report, and am really pleased with the progress so far, and excited by the potential for this project to go further. It is a project that could offer significant support to our core of active Wikimedia contributors where they need it the most: resources for creating and improving articles. So I see good rationale for your extension request, and you have offered clear reasoning for this. At the same time, I do want to make sure I better understand the context for the extension request being much larger than the original grant request, before approving the request. This will also be helpful for IEG Committee members, who may have questions of their own.

  1. The overall amount: The extension asks for 21,200 USD and the original grant was for 7,500. In total, this comes to 28,700 USD, still below the original ceiling for an IEG (at 30,000 USD). However, this is still a jump: what are the primary reasons for this?
  2. The scope of the extension: I am particularly interested - as I'm sure others in the community will be - by your goals for diversifying TWL into non-English spaces. Can you elaborate on the pilots you're planning, and how you're working with those language communities to understand their needs better? In addition, what would be your strategy for consolidating and disseminating this learning at the end of the second phase, so that different language communities can benefit from TWL's experience so far, and it truly can become TWL for everyone?
  3. In that context, I'm glad to see support for metrics and evaluation - this is not always something incorporated into a request or a project's life cycle - but could you offer more details on the evaluation framework for the next phase?
  4. And finally, what do you see as possible technical challenges in this next phase, and what support might you need to overcome them?

Thanks again, Ocaasi, for an excellent project so far (and really good reports as well). I look forward to your responses to these questions, and very much to the expansion of TWL's early potential. ASengupta (WMF) (talk) 17:29, 14 January 2014 (UTC)Reply

Hi Anasuya, thanks for your questions and for the committee's review (I wish I could participate!). Let me see if I can flesh this out a bit more:

Budget increase


The grant is certainly larger, by about 300%. I'm very conscious of our movement's increasing concern over too-rapid growth and want to explain this. First off, the round 1 pilot was pretty inexpensive relative to its impact. For $7500 we brought in tens of thousands of dollars worth of new sources alone. We also built relationships and community to scale this process. Doing so involved bringing on new volunteers, but also new paid contractors (especially in the areas of technical coding and professional librarians).

In the second round all of that expands, beginning with my project management. In order for me to have the ability to devote nearly full-time attention to this grant, I simply cannot do this project without sufficient project management funding. I have tried to stick to a pretty tight budget in this area but it's one of the nonnegotiable pieces so that I can live and eat and still put in 20-40 hours per week on The Wikipedia Library. In addition to me, we are increasing the roles for our librarian (Pat) and our coder (Nischay). That's because there's more to do organizationally and more to build code-wise. In the first round we were only laying foundation, but in round 2 we're actually implementing new partnerships at scale and new tech that is ready and usable.

In addition to all the work we did on English Wikipedia, we are going to be piloting TWL satellites in 3 non-english languages: German, Spanish, and Arabic. This requires a level of expertise and consistent support which necessitated a budget increase. It also means that we'll be in a position to bring the benefits of TWL to a more global audience, making sure sources are distributed in a meaningful way for local users (and in their language).

There's also some funding for travel this round. We lucked out that the January American Library Association winter conference was in Philadelphia, but the summer conference is in Las Vegas (poor me, I know). The ALA is the largest library group in the world and attending their main events allows us to do very broad and impactful outreach to top university librarians. These connections help integrate TWL into universities, especially with the new Wikipedia Visiting Scholar positions.

I also want to emphasize just how much we are getting done with Volunteers. Our new metrics coordinators, account coordinators (2x), and OCLC partnerships are all unpaid. As we grow, managing the network of volunteers needs more funding for project management, which is the bulk of our expenses. That's one of the amazing things about IEG--it was designed to handle the project organization costs.

I'll also place the growth and evolution table here, it's on the extension request.

Rationale for budget increase
Phase 1 Phase 2
The original scope of the pilot (phase 1) was only to get more partnerships. In building towards phase 2 we established 4 additional compelling goals and multiple ways to advance them with. The central focus of phase 1 became developing The Wikipedia Library as the true community library of Wikipedia. Phase 2 expands upon this, and explores ways in which TWL could become 'the internet's library'.
Phase 1 was a project of one person. Jake handled the full management, implementation, outreach, development, and analysis. In the course of phase 1 we developed a team of 2 managers, 5 outreach coordinators, 3 account coordinators, 2 technical developers, 1 coder, 27 members, and 250 newsletter recipients. We reached out to 1,500 + TWL subscribers with both news and surveys. Phase 2 expands upon and leverages that growth in participation.
Phase 1 of the project was a startup focused on establishing presence, awareness, and pilot programs Phase 2 is geared towards sustainable growth, empowering the recruited volunteers to independently manage and expand existing programs.
Phase 1 focused on internal outreach, promoting TWL to the Wikipedia community and recruiting volunteers from within. Phase 2 is equally about external outreach, promoting TWL to the broader library community and recruiting volunteers from outside our community.
Phase 1 was about building relationships (OCLC, university libraries). Phase 2 is about advancing real programs by leveraging those relationships (Eswitch script, Visiting Scholar program).
Phase 1 relied on irregular volunteer metrics to demonstrate impact. Phase 2 creates regular reports run each 3 months across all donations.
Phase 1 was about exploring tech. We were waiting on tech to be developed--OCLC's Eswitch API was unpublished, and OAuth was not yet released. We funded Nischay to code a spec for the Eswitch script. Phase 2 is about building tech. We are taking the next step with these tools, building our Eswitch script and speccing out OAuth integration based on the recent release.
Phase 1 funded Jake as an untested community organizer and library outreach facilitator. Phase 2 funds Jake (Ocaasi) as someone who has demonstrated organizational skill, built relationships to leaders in the library community, started new projects, and conducted successful program expansions.
Phase 1 funded Pat only in the second half of the project (3 months at 6 hr/week). Phase 2 involves Pat in the entire 6 months and expands his role to 10 hr/wk.
Phase 1 funded Jake with $5,000 for 10-15 hr/wk. This was a minimally liveable but not sustainable amount for project management. Phase 2 funds Jake for ~25 hr/wk at a standard rate comparable to that of WMF community liasons. It's worth noting that the grant budget, like other contract positions, does not account for taxes or lack of benefits (health insurance, etc.). The increase in budget permits a more full-time focus on and investment in project advancement.
The initial pilot was frankly cheap, appropriate for trying something new. We wanted to test the need for funded programs and we demonstrated a need. We laid the groundwork for significant expansion across multiple areas in Phase 1. In phase 2 we need to work within a budget which can support the expansion of successful programs.

Ocaasi (talk) 10:56, 15 January 2014 (UTC)Reply

Global growth


So TWL has been a heavily English focused project from the outset. It was English editors contacting English language sources, coordinated on English Wikipedia. For the library to truly serve our community that has to evolve. We want to create and support TWL satellites in major languages, especially those which support global south communities.

We've identified three targets for pilot expansion, as I mentioned above: German, Spanish, and Arabic. These are three of the most active non-English language Wikipedias, and they emphasize Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. This nicely balances out our geographic impact.

In order to develop TWL satellites we will have to leverage local volunteer support. This will primarily involve bringing on at least 3 new global volunteer coordinators. That individual, from the local language community, will get our full support in bringing TWL to their project. We want to provide all of the content ready for translation in an easily manageable 'kit', simplifying the transfer or text, templates, and design. We also want to scale this efficiently, zeroing in on the most necessary components in a lightweight way. The first steps will be creating a portal, laying out the goals, collecting feedback on desired sources, and facilitating a signup process for donated accounts.

What we are doing here is building a network of TWL coordinators across all major languages. The way to grow TWL is to take on a facilitative role, teaching and training local coordinators to manage their own community projects. For example, we want to receive donations from local language sources. Pat and I have put a lot of work into fleshing out and focusing our 'pitch'. We have practiced this with major publishers and databases, and want to help local coordinators do their own outreach. We also want to make management simple, by providing simple tools like spreadsheets and surveys where we can centralize all of the access management and distribution.

In the beginning, Pat and I will be doing the bulk of the work, but the goal is to find true partners in these communities who want to co-organize with us at scale in their local communities.

I also want to emphasize that there is some low-hanging fruit here. We are in talks with several major publishers that do have non-English sources already. Cochrane Library, for example, publishers a Spanish language which we already have received a donation for. Part of phase 2 will merely be integrating those donations (and new ones) into a local signup process.

At the pilot's end, we will solicit feedback from local coordinators about what worked, what didn't, how they want to grow next, and what kind of support they need to expand. This will pair well with and be integrated into 'the kit', so that we can expand even further into more communities around the world. Ocaasi (talk) 10:56, 15 January 2014 (UTC)Reply



Yes, impact assessment is built into as many aspects of this project as possible. Inspired by Siko's 'be bold' execution method, we've set some pretty ambitious targets for phase 2.

Measures of success
  • Create roles for 5 new volunteer coordinators
  • Regularize usage metrics reports hosted on Labs
  • Send out Books and Bytes 5 times
  • Identify and onboard 2 trained librarians to co-coordinate TWL
  • Form 10 new visiting scholar positions
  • Release a working version of the OCLC full text reference tool
  • Create a spec for OAuth integration with at least 1 research donor
  • Contact 30 new database partners; enter talks with 10; form or renew 5 partnerships
  • Receive $200,000 worth of donations (individual replacement value)
  • Receive 2000 new accounts
  • Pilot TWL satellites in at least one of German, Spanish, and Arabic communities

A lot of these targets will be quantitatively verifiable and can be tracked numerically. This is nice because we can definitively point to 'success'. I also want to note that we're not afraid to try but miss one of these targets, as long as we're trying and learning and improving as we go. Ocaasi (talk) 10:56, 15 January 2014 (UTC)Reply

Technical challenges


We are approaching a point with TWL where we need to build technical projects and infrastructure in order to expand and manage our donations. For example, we are in talks with top journal publisher EBSCO, and they have expressed interest in donating access. But they only work with clients who can link up to their security infrastructure (typically based on a security protocol called SAML). The WMF just built out a secure login sharing platform called OAuth, which can interface with SAML systems. We're already in background talks with Chris Steipp at WMF who handles OAuth, trying to figure out what it would take to integrate with EBSCO using OAuth and SAML. This kind of technical guidance is really helpful, and it moves us towards the phase 2 goal of spec'ing out a code plan for OAuth integration. That wouldn't be built until 'phase 3', but we would know what is involved, what it would cost, and how long it would take. This would allow us seek out a technical contractor, or seek technical support from the WMF should the Foundation view this as within scope and worth the direct impact.

We are also building tools to make finding and using references more easy and efficient. This involves building a 'full-text reference tool', that can send users with the right credentials directly from Wikipedia to full text sources. It's a really exciting initiative that will let, for example, students at Universities go directly from a Wikipedia reference section, to their University's library catalogue, so that they can verify the source themselves. We have the technical support we need for this, and WMF has been very helpful with legal guidance to handle the privacy disclosures needed to share i.p. information with a third-party site and API (opt-in, full disclosure at all points, of course). We are still just tinkering with the alpha-version of this tool, but we hope to have a working beta version in the next 3 months. If the tool is useful, then we will want to expand it from a userscript into a gadget. This is something that hasn't been done before and we'd need some legal and technical guidance to make it possible. Ocaasi (talk) 10:56, 15 January 2014 (UTC)Reply

Updates to page, for consistency in renewals process


Hi Ocaasi. I've made a couple of section header changes in your renewal request - as this is the first test case for IEG renewals, I hope you don't mind iterating a bit on this page as we firm up process improvements (we'll use a similar format for future requests). Could you please move your proposed measures of success from talk to the main page in the section I've provided? You may also want to provide a link and date in the "Community comments" section to the renewal notification you made in the most recent Books & Bytes newsletter, for additional community context (and again, we'll create improved instructions around this a renewal form going forward). Thanks, Siko (WMF) (talk) 19:50, 15 January 2014 (UTC)Reply

Done. Ocaasi (talk) 22:06, 15 January 2014 (UTC)Reply

Approval of the Extension Request


Hi Jake, After my review of the Wikipedia Library final report, your rationale for asking for an extension of the project, your detailed responses to my questions above, and with the inputs of the IEG Committee, I am pleased to approve this extension request. I believe TWL has significant potential to support our core active editors and contributors in critical ways, and I look forward to learning more through the next six months.

To be clear about the process we followed in order to approve this extension: the community was notified of this request through the TWL newsletter, the IEG Committee offered its inputs and insights on the request, and after a 10 day period in which both community and committee were free to comment/question, the WMF Grantmaking team made the decision. Siko, please go ahead and process this request. Thanks, ASengupta (WMF) (talk) 14:39, 27 January 2014 (UTC)Reply

Great - Ocaasi, we'll get this setup this week (including some new project pages for phase 2). Cheers, Siko (WMF) (talk) 17:23, 27 January 2014 (UTC)Reply

Pat's status makes no sense


This revision confusingly mixes the past and future. Could it be restated? Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:34, 26 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Hi Bluerasberry|Lane, let me see if I can clarify because I think it is just a complicated situation.
  1. Pat was a paid contractor for TWL the last 9 months
  2. Pat earned 1,800 + 1,875 for his time working on TWL
  3. Pat became a paid contractor for WMF on April 25th which means I can't pay him anymore for TWL work
  4. Pat is going to continue helping with TWL but as a volunteer
  5. The leftover 4,125 I was going to pay Pat the next 3 months will be reallocated.
Is that more clear? Cheers, Jake Ocaasi (talk) 12:18, 26 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Yes thanks. I modified the note. Blue Rasberry (talk) 22:17, 27 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
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