Wikipedia Sydney Seminar Event Wrap Up

Wikipedia Sydney Seminar was held at the State Library of NSW on Wednesday 12th September.

The keynote speaker was Andy Mabbett with supporting talks from Dr Heather Ford from UNSW, Jessica Coates from Australian Digital Alliance, Dr Frances Di Lauro from University of Sydney and Dr Toby Hudson also from University of Sydney.

The recurring theme of the day was Wikimedia Foundation’s vision:

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment.

and how well that integrates with the philosophy of the GLAM sector.


Andy Mabbett shared with us the breadth of Wikimedia Foundations projects: Wikipedia, Wikidata, Scholia, Wikisource and Mix n Match, to name a few.  Mabbett explained the power of Wikidata to answer questions that Google cannot. He gave the example “list all the cities in the world with a female mayor, ranked by population size” – Wikidata can answer this in under a minute.  Later on in the day, Toby Hudson showed us some graphs produced using Wikidata, such as the average age of an author published in a journal, differentiated by gender.


Another project that crossed boundaries between Andy Mabbett and Toby Hudson’s talks was the project Q-label.  Q-label takes the label codes given to items in Wikidata, and links them to items in a menu.  This means that the menu can be translated into a different language without the need for translation.  Toby Hudson showed us Q-label in practice with university coursework being translated into different languages, meeting the needs of the nearly 50% of students at the University of Sydney who have English as a second (or subsequent) language.

There are numerous projects that need volunteers, especially from the GLAM sector. One such is example is Wikidata’s current discussion regarding the best way to enter the data of published books into Wikicite, and they are keen for GLAM professionals to weigh into this debate.

Jessica Coates talked about the upcoming changes to Australia’s Copyright laws, bringing millions of unpublished documents and orphan works into the public domain.  This influx of new material brings many opportunities for open data projects, so if you have any ideas on some fun projects to get this data out to the public, please let her know!

Other exciting news includes the upcoming launch of the Wikijournal of Humanities, which will be an open access, free to read and free to publish journal.  It’s currently waiting on an ISSN before going live, so keen an eye out for it.

Finally, if you want to keep abreast of what is going on in the Wiki world, which is relevant to the GLAM Sector, sign up for the This Month in GLAM Newsletter.


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