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The countries in the North of Europe have a long history of working together in numerous fields. There are even a number of financial backers that are specifically interested in cross Nordic cooperation projects. Wikimedia Sverige managed to secure some of that funding from Kulturfonden för Sverige och Finland, and the first week of June three staff members could visit Finland. Taking the time to meet in person and explore each others strengths and motivations is sometime what is needed to get things off the ground and quickly come to an understanding of the local context.
The aims were to share experiences regarding GLAM, Education and Open Data and design joint projects for external funding opportunities. Wikimedia Finland and Open Knowledge Finland were wonderful hosts and we had a full schedule the three days we visited.
The first day we got to know each other a little bit better and informed about current developments in our respective organizations. We discussed the problem in Finland with up-to-date school textbooks in Swedish and the limitations that some Swedish agreements create for reusing material across the borders (in Finland around 5.4% of the population are Swedish native speakers).
As some of you know Wikimedia Sverige has had a bunch of projects focusing on public works of art, including our database Offentligkonst.se. We discussed the possibilities to reuse the work done in Sweden also in Finland. To get a better understanding of the issues surrounding such a project in Finland we learnt about the Finnish legislation in this field and we told about our case that currently is in the Swedish Supreme Court. We also got valuable knowledge about what information the Finnish Wikipedia community considered central for writing articles about works of art. Aspects central when designing a similar project for Finland. We also photographed and flew drones around some of the artworks as the drone regulation in Finland is about to change and we wanted to take this opportunity. With the help of open sourced software these images were then used to create a 3D model of these historical pieces of art.
Together with Wikimedia Finland we met with Society of Swedish Literature in Finland and discussed how their material could be uploaded and integrated in Wikipedia and it was agreed that Wikimedia Sverige would assist with some practical technical help regarding their batch uploads of new images.
On top of great discussions a concrete outcome was an outline of the basic content for a joint application for the Nordic Culture Fund. The aim of the project will be on documenting the archipelago around Åland with maps, photos, aerial imagery (with drones) and more.
All in all, it was great to get the opportunity to go visit our neighbours. Technology is great but some times a meeting face to face can really speed up the collaboration.
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