This two-year partnership saw the Science Museum Group contribute to and improve content on Wikipedia.
The partnership included:
- Hosting a Wikimedian-in-Residence to design and deliver training to enable staff and volunteers to contribute their knowledge and expertise to Wikimedia by working with staff to identify areas of Wikipedia and sister projects that could be enriched with resources and knowledge
- Hosting a number of one-day edit-a-thons, working with curatorial colleagues on underrepresented areas in Wikipedia where we have significant institutional knowledge
- Adding links from Wikipedia to relevant Science Museum Group Collection objects, stories and articles
- Encouraging SMG-hosted collaborative doctoral PhD students to engage with the Wikipedia community as part of the public engagement associated with their research
- Uploading a further selection of SMG collection images to Wikimedia Commons
- Facilitating contributions to Wikipedia content, drawing from SMG’s collections content, with a focus on underrepresented knowledge (including people and ideas which may have been excluded historically on the basis of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability or socio-economic background)
The Science Museum Group’s Digital Strategy includes an ambition to drive digital audience growth. Although the addition of new digitised collection objects will drive some growth in visits to the websites, a step-change in access to the collection can only be achieved by distributing content to where audiences are online already.
Globally, Wikipedia is the tenth most visited website and ranks extremely highly in search results, often appearing above cultural heritage organisations for associated searches.
In collaboration with Wikimedia UK, a formal two year partnership was developed that included a suite of activities for internal staff and external volunteers, and saw the Science Museum Group contribute to and improve content on Wikipedia.
The outcomes of the project were:
- Growing awareness of the Science Museum Group and its collection around key topic areas
- Taking SMG collections to where audiences are active online
- Encouraging more diverse participants to engage with edit-a-thons
- Being part of a community filling gaps in underrepresented areas on Wikipedia
- Showcasing the collection, both within STEM subject Wikipedia pages and in other areas, to highlight the collection to audiences on Wikipedia who would not normally consider the Science Museum Group Collection as a resource
- Featuring the new collection images in Wikipedia articles in at least 20 languages, increasing international reach
- Increasing online referrals from English-language Wikipedia to the Collection Online website
A final report from the Wikimedia in Residency summarising the key achievements and challenges of the project was published in 2023.
- Jessica Bradford, Keeper of Collection Engagement, SMG
- Rosie Cardiff, Website Editor, SMG
- Daria Cybulska, Director of Programmes and Evaluation, Wikimedia UK
- Hope Miyoba, Wikimedian in Residence
- Stuart Prior, Project Coordinator, Wikimedia UK
- John Stack, Digital Director, SMG
- Will Stanley, Collection Communication Manager, SMG
- Jamie Unwin, Collections Online Technical Architect, SMG
In partnership with Wikimedia UK