Gaelic Wikimedian Opportunity – Tha sin direach sgoinneal!

The National Library of Scotland and Wikimedia UK yesterday announce that they are recruiting a Gaelic Wikimedian to promote the Scottish Gaelic Wikipedia, Uicipeid.  The Gaelic Wikimedian will work throughout Scotland to promote the Gaelic language by training people to improve or create resources on Uicipeid.  This will include deliver training and events in the Western Isles, Highlands and central Scotland.

Uicipeid logoThe Gaelic Wikipedian will be responsible for designing and delivering a range of activities which will encourage young Gaels to improve their language skills through editing Uicipedia. They will deliver events and workshops and work with Gaelic organisations and communities to increase knowledge about Uicipedia and increase its size and usage. They will support the development of open knowledge and open licenses and prepare progress reports to assess the impact of their work on the development of Uicipeid.

~ WMUK and National Library of Scotland are hiring a Gaelic Wikipedian

As a Gael, a member of the Wikimedia UK Board and an advocate of open education this is a project that is very close¬†to my heart. ¬†I was born and brought up in Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides but sadly I have very little Gaelic. ¬†I¬†can talk fluently to sheepdogs and very small children, but that’s about it! ¬†I am typical of a generation whose parents and grandparents thought there was little point in passing on their language to us. ¬†My father and my granny spoke a lot of Gaelic to me until I was about five but once I started school the Gaelic stopped, and during the 1970’s and early 80’s there was very little¬†provision for Gaelic medium education in the Hebrides. I did one year of Gaelic in secondary school but that was it.

I now have a daughter of my own and as soon as she was old enough to start nursery I decided I wanted her to have the Gaelic medium education that was not available to me.  She is now in in her sixth year at Gaelic school, fluent in the language, and loving every minute of her education.  She also rolls her eyes in embarrassment at my woeful language skills but I can live with that.

Like many school kids, whenever my daughter is doing research for her school projects, Wikipedia is her first port of call, which obviously is something I encourage. She finds the information and references she needs and then carefully translates what she has learned¬†into Gaelic. ¬†It’s a bonus to find an article written in Gaelic in the first place. ¬† It goes without saying that if Uicipeid could be¬†expanded it would be an enormously important resource for Gaelic medium education, not just for primary school children to find facts, but for older students to gain valuable digital literacy skills.

Not only is this a wonderful opportunity for a Gaelic speaker to get involved with Wikimedia and the open knowledge community, the project also promises to be of enormous value to Gaelic teachers and learners and, perhaps most importantly, the future generations of young Gaels.

You can find out more about the post from Wikimedia UK, WMUK and National Library of Scotland are hiring a Gaelic Wikipedian and Obraichean Gàidhlig, Gaelic Wikipedian.

And here’s my own little contribution to Uicipeid, a photograph of Stornoway, uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and ¬†tagged in Gaelic ūüôā

Stornoway Harbour

Steòrnabhagh, Eilean Leòdhais

OER16 wins Wikimedia UK Partnership Award

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m absolutely delighted that #OER16 has won Wikimedia UK’s Partnership of the Year Award! ¬†The University of Edinburgh already building¬†strong links with Wikimedia UK when Melissa and I started planning the OER16 Open Culture Conference with ALT and we were¬†really keen that Wikimedia should have a presence at the event. ¬†These links were further strengthened when the University became¬†the first in the UK to appoint a Wikimedian in Residence late in 2015.

Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence, University of Edinburgh

Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence, University of Edinburgh

Wikipedia and the associated Wikimedia initiatives Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, Wiki Source, etc represent the largest volume of open educational resources in the world and the Wikimedia and OER communities share a common goal to increase the quantity and quality of open knowledge so it makes good sense to bring them together.

Melissa and I were delighted by the response from Wikimedia UK and the Wikimedians in Residence when we invited them to participate in OER16¬†and many delegates commented over the course of the conference¬†that they felt they learned a lot from their presence and that they made a really positive contribution to the event. ¬†So I’d just like to thank all those, from both the OER and Wikimedia communities, who worked so hard to make this collaboration a huge success.

Next year’s OER17 Conference, which focuses on the Politics of Open, will be co-chaired by Josie¬†Fraser and Alek Tarkowski. ¬†As Josie is also a Trustee of Wikimedia UK I’m sure she will be keen to ensure that¬†the relationship between the Wikimedia and OER communities continues to flourish.

Wikimedians in action at OER16 by Stuart Cromar

Wikimedians in action at OER16 by Stuart Cromar

“As the Wikimedian in Residence for Museums Galleries Scotland, I usually work alone, or remotely. The opportunity to connect to the wider open knowledge community was fantastic ‚Äď energising, informative and so very valuable. And we had 4 Residents in a room at once! This, you have to realise, is a rare thing indeed in the world of Wiki. I‚Äôve worked primarily in open culture and heritage for the last 16 months, and one of the growth areas has been in the interface between education and culture‚Ķ. So #OER16 seemed to me so prescient, so perfectly timed…”

~ Sara Thomas, Wikimedian in Residence, Museums Galleries Scotland

Links

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further the quantity and quality of open knowledge and enhance digital literacy, through skills training sessions and editathons, striving to embed open knowledge practices in the curriculum.

further the quantity and quality of open knowledge and enhance digital literacy, through skills training sessions and editathons, striving to embed open knowledge practices in the curriculum.

Wikimedia UK AGM

On Saturday I went along to my first Wikipedia AGM in Birmingham.  It was a really interesting event and it was great to meet so many dedicated Wikimedians and also to see more than a few familiar faces. Martin Poulter has put together a Storify of tweets and pictures from the event here Wikimedia UK AGM 2016.

The event featured an inspiring keynote on The Open Movement by Andy Mabbett who highlighted the importance of linking Wikimedia initiatives to both Open Government and national heritage organisations and who argued that we need to  do more to welcome people to the open community and communicate why openness is important to everyone.

Selfridges, Birmingham

Selfridges, Birmingham

Andy’s talk was followed by a workshop on Wikidata and a walk around the local area to take photographs for Wikimedia Commons. ¬†Who’d have thought a photography safari of Digbeth could be so¬†fascinating? ūüôā I just need to remember to upload some of the pictures I took to the Commons.

In the afternoon we had a fascinating series of lightning talks, one of which covered the brilliant Wiki Loves Monuments photography competition which will take place in the UK again later this year.

Of course the highlight of the day was the UK Wikimedian of the Year Awards.  Martin Poulter was a very worthy winner of the individual UK Wikipedian of the Year award; Navino Evans, one of the developers behind the fabulous Histropedia timeline tool, received an Honourable Mention; and I was delighted that the OER16 Open Culture Conference won Partnership of the Year.

The AGM concluded with the Board meeting and I was honoured to be voted onto the Board as a new¬†Trustee of Wikimedia UK. ¬†The University of Edinburgh already has a strong relationship with Wikimedia UK and I hope that I can make a¬†positive contribution to nurturing the development of a supportive and mutually beneficial relationship between Wikimedia and the education sector. ¬†Gill Hamilton, of the National Library of Scotland stepped down from the Board, so I’ll also be doing my best to fill her shoes as the Scottish representative on the Board, though it’ll be a hard act to follow!

with Josie Fraser, Wikimedia UK Trustee and #OER17 Co-Chair

with Josie Fraser, Wikimedia UK Trustee and #OER17 Co-Chair