Wikimedian in residence/program deliverables

Program deliverables are the specific, measurable outcomes which Wikimedia programs accomplish. Within the Wikimedia community, Wikimedians in Residence tend to be most focused on these, because the program deliverables are the metrics through which they demonstrate the valuable of s hosting a Wikimedian in Residence it is helpful to consider what specific goals the appointment should accomplish. Common goals in order of their popularity are as follows:

  1. achieve communication impact by delivering key messages or media to a large or relevant audience
  2. conduct outreach which recruits a community to engage in activities for some common purpose
  3. publish media, without particular regard for reaching an audience or getting a community response
  4. produce knowledge, without consideration of communication, outreach, or publishing

Wikipedia is a complex media environment which has unique advantages for accomplishing each of these goals in powerful ways at low cost. Each of these goals is independent of the others, and typically, time and resources invested in achieving one of these is unrelated to success in achieving the others. This guide presents what each of these mean for organizations as they plan Wikimedian in Residence collaborations. It is helpful for organizations to discuss exactly which of these they want with their Wikimedian so that there is mutual understanding on the goals of a Wikimedia project.


The deliverables are the verifiable and measurable outcomes which a Wikimedian in Residence reports at the completion of a project.

Wikimedia PublicationsEdit

"Wikimedia publication deliverables" include all the media which a project publishes in the Wikimedia platform. Typical deliverables are the following:

  1. Count of the articles
    1. Often includes the titles of each article
    2. May be categorized, such as by article type (biography, location, etc) or in the case of multilanguage projects, groups by language
  2. Report and list of key messages
    1. For projects which seek to share particular key messages, the deliverable report will state which message went into which article
    2. Also report the sourced cited to verify messages
  3. Count of non-text media uploads
    1. Images or other media to Wikimedia Commons
    2. Datasets or amount of statements integrated into Wikidata
    3. text documents integrated into Wikisource
  4. Other metrics
    1. total words or characters added
    2. total references used
    3. list of sources cited

Audience countsEdit

The "audience count" is some report of how many people accessed Wikipedia content which a project published.

  1. total pageviews for a given set of Wikipedia articles over a defined period of time
    1. Calculating this requires a list of Wikipedia articles which a project developed
    2. Typically calculated with Pageviews Analysis, in the case of Wikipedia text development
    3. Alternatively, calculated with GLAMorgan to count pageviews for Wikipedia articles containing certain media files like images

Engagement countsEdit

The "engagement count" is some report of how many Wikipedia editors developed Wikimedia content in the context of a community outreach or volunteer recruitment program.

  1. typically calculated through the Programs & Events Dashboard
    1. requires a list of Wikimedia account usernames; users click "join this group" or otherwise the coordinator collects their usernames
    2. in addition to listing and counting the people participating in the program, the dashboard reports the following:
      1. list and count of Wikipedia articles edited
      2. number of words added
      3. number of references applied
      4. among edited articles, count of how many were new
      5. number of media uploads
      6. total pageviews of all Wikipedia articles edited (giving the audience count described above)

Achieve communication impactEdit

  1. list key messages and associate a citation with each
  2. list Wikipedia articles into which the Wikimedian in Residence posts the key messages and citation
  3. report audience pageviews periodically, such as weekly, monthly, or yearly
Usual time and complexity

1 month full time labor common, this is the only goal which requires experience editing Wikipedia

Wikipedia is an extremely popular communication channel. By publishing key messages, media files, data, or knowledge in any form to Wikipedia, an organization can reach the large and highly targeted audience which already goes Wikipedia to seek information.

Conduct outreachEdit

  1. count of events or programs organized
  2. count of participants recruited, typically volunteers but may be workshops for professional staff
  3. audience engagement metrics in Wikipedia such as count of edits, words added, references added
Usual time and complexity

6 months labor but only a few hours per week, no Wikipedia or technical skills required, event planning and party hosting skill useful

Wikipedia is a media platform where people can meet and organize as a community to collaborate with each other. Unlike comparable online media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, Wikipedia is not general interest and instead only permits social activity which is related to the Wikimedia Movement mission of providing universal access to reference information. This means that when any community organizes in Wikipedia, that community will always have the goal of making knowledge available by sharing online media.

Anyone can edit Wikipedia, and famously, Wikipedia has a large volunteer community which crowdsources the development of content. Some organizations have the goal of recruiting volunteers to their cause, perhaps to edit Wikipedia articles including biographies, artworks, health topics, stories in local history, or any subject which has been the focus of thousands of volunteer recruitment drives in Wikipedia. Undoubtedly, understanding Wikipedia is impossible without recognizing the accomplishments of its volunteer community.

However, when appointing a Wikipedian in Residence, organizations should consider what goals it has and what labor and resource investment it needs to achieve these goals. For example, suppose that an organization's goal is to achieve communication impact. Imagine that this organization has 10 key messages that it wants to share, perhaps around some topic in art, or science, or geography. To achieve that goal, the organization might attempt an online volunteer recruitment drive with intent to train those volunteers to edit those key messages into Wikipedia articles. Alternatively, the organization can collaborate with one expert Wikipedia who can quickly and efficiently share the information themselves in collaboration with typical Wikipedia community review processes.

There comes a point where outreach always makes sense. Like for example, if the communication impact goal is to create 5000 biographies, then outreach to recruit volunteers may make more sense than sponsoring subject matter experts to complete the labor. Alternatively, an organization may decide that so long as volunteers edit in some broad field, like "art" or "science", they are happy to support volunteer recruitment even without expecting volunteers to publish particular message or seek out the topics which have the most readers.

In general, though - achieving communication impact and conducting outreach are distinct goals. The labor and resources that a Wikimedian in Residence puts into one will not necessarily advance the other, except with some planning to balance the goals in a way that they complement each other.

Note also - outreach events generate engagement. While Wikipedia is able to organize excellent training and support for volunteer contributions, outreach still results in volunteer engagement. Volunteer engagement may be surprisingly good, and volunteers frequently can provide good community feedback even to professionals, but typical volunteer activities will not be of the same quality as professional subject matter expert contributions. Any organization which can only accept the high quality product of a subject matter expert should reflect on how satisfied they can be with community outreach if they recruit it.

Publish mediaEdit


  1. stage some media collection, such as images, archival texts, or datasets
  2. publish this media into the Wikimedia platform
  3. report what media is uploaded, count the files
Usual time and complexity

3 months labor, requires technical experience such as Wikipedian, or librarian, or database manager, or digital humanities specialist

The Wikimedia platform is a great permanent and public online archive which is easily accessible by humans and machines. Choosing the Wikimedia platform as a media repository makes sense for organizations which want to promote access to their free and open media. Uploads to the Wikimedia platform work especially well for organizations which promote remixing of their content, such as integration of images into Wikipedia articles for broader distribution, or hosting of image text files for conversation to digital text files and subsequent language translation, or for staging datasets for curation as Linked Open Data for the Semantic Web. Wikimedia Commons the non-text media repository, Wikisource the text archive, and Wikidata the structured data reference source can all accomplish these ends. When an organization posts media in these platforms that can be an accomplishment in itself.

Posting media is one skill set and task. The posting of media may complement other goals, like having a communication impact or conducting community outreach, but all of these are distinct goals, with distinct skill sets, and which achieve different purposes. No one should expect that doing any one of these should accomplish the others.

Produce knowledgeEdit


  1. The Wikimedian in Residence organizes some online conversation for Wikimedia community members
  2. Following the conversation, the Wikimedian in Residence presents the public, permanent archive of this conversation
Usual time and complexity

12 months labor, requires experienced research coordinator

Organizations often request knowledge production of Wikimedians in Residence. The crowdsourced Wikipedia volunteer community is good at this for particular matters in managing an encyclopedia or general reference online resource, and Wikipedia is uniquely well suited for producing this kind of user feedback. However, organizations which request this service of a Wikimedian in Residence typically do so in a misunderstanding. This guide presenting various goals seeks to put this service request in context with other common requests and goals, so that when an organization requests this, they better understand what they get from a labor investment in this direction.

Many universities, museums, research institutes, and government agencies produce large amounts of media and knowledge. When they seek a Wikipedia partnership, these organizations correctly expect that Wikipedia can be a communication channel by means of which they can distribute their knowledge through the Internet to a large audience. The misunderstanding is that posting to Wikipedia is trivial or that it takes little time. Such organizations may begin their Wikipedia collaboration saying, "We have a lot published on our website. How can we get this in Wikipedia?", then pointing to 10,000 images or pages of text. Their intent is to ask the Wikipedia community to make sense of this body of knowledge. While the Wikipedia community can and will engage with media collections, curating media to produce knowledge takes labor. The labor which produces knowledge through media collection will not necessarily achieve communication impact, or include outreach to recruit community engagement, or result in published media.

Some familiar comparisons to Wikipedia for knowledge production might be pointing a researcher at an archival collection in a library, and asking that researcher to make sense of it. While general archival work has a purpose, and while Wikipedia is a good platform for organizing this, the organizations which frequently request this of Wikipedia community members often do not actually want this as a service. What they usually do want, but which they have difficulty explaining, is one of the other goals.