Wikimedia Conference 2012/Documentation/Day 3/TAO

Outreach to elderly


(TAO = Third Age Online) Under umbrella: demographic gaps.

  • Led by Bern University for applied sciences - approached WMDE, WMCH, WMNL.
  • The project is broader than WP - general technological outreach to elderly, getting them to share their knowledge.
  • WMDE has a page on Silberwissen, with goals etc. First activity on national level in relation to Wikimedia.
  • Need to have a handbook that each stakeholder is able to use. should list effective strategies.


  • Editing workshops including meetups in Potsdam & other cities, with former chronicle writers. Targeted at getting them to edit it.
  • Follow-up? With computer club of elderly people, regular meetings - courses over some weeks at adult education schools. Trainers were volunteers previously, but now will be paid as well.
  • Genealogy has been a popular activity on the internet, often done by seniors. Have to make it very clear that general genealogy is not wanted, but that they might have useful info on notable ancestors.
  • 3rd age is still OK, but 4th age is harder to teach markup. 50-60 can still handle it.
  • Support groups: adopt-a-user.
  • WMCH is looking for a partnership with seniorweb Switzerland - active in all Swiss languages. Free to join, with annual fee for more services. They offer beginners' internet courses for a fee by elderly people - training each other. Wikipedia courses will be similar but free.
  • Photographers are a major target group, e.g. via WLM.
  • Retired people in libraries are found by WM Aus. They have different knowlege than the typical WP user, for example a person who had a stack of books about electricity board, and he managed to create a Good Article on the history of electricity generation in Western Queensland.

Germany: Want to have people working with WP or sister proejcts - people sharing their knowledge, who already have PC and internet, are interested in learning new things and would like to improve WP. Started in 2010, pilot phase ends lasted to Summer 2011. Project will run to 2013. Planned cooperation with partners from the educational sector Until mid 2011, 6 talks and workshops done: 3 topics per talk. Practical tests with the seniors for each topic. Working together for a summary and preparing material for the workshops. 2nd half of 2011, at Volkshofschulen: public schools for adult education etc. Presentation at Berlin state library, weekend workshops at DGPT, local historians of Potzdam area. Also did WLM session.

For other interested people, with educational partners, to give introductory presentation by an experienced Wikipedian for potential editors, got togethere in groups of 10 interested persons led by a mentor who helps with WM rules & syntax. Done in 2008 and 2010. Community is concerned that the presenters must be taken from the community. WMDE organised training camps for presenters.

Results hoped for were:

  • get new editors for WP and sister projects on a permanent basis.
  • 10 presentations for different interest groups
  • workshops with these potential authors.

Accessibility is a key issue. There might be development of tech. solutions for this.

Had meetups with trainers from the various progams, not just the elderly editors' programme.

Idea: Maybe get feedback from elderly on WP articles, without expecting them to edit themselves! They might know something about the provenance of the sources in question and show were more attention is needed. Maybe via article feedback tool.

See for summary & documentation of activities. A core group is working on this site. Looking for a wider community of practice. New teahouse? Adopt a user?

Kibbutzim in Israel are dying out because of 3rd generation people leaving. They have good archives with photos & memoirs etc. Wikipedians would care about preserving that. Maybe Wikipedians can come there, digitize archives, write articles. Small archives, can be helped easily. Forms a social and industrial history in Israel. Copyright issues are managable.