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GLAM Wikimedia event Canberra 2009

Day one of the GLAM Wikimedia event at the Australia War Memorial Museum. There are at least 150 people in the room – mostly from the Australian collection sector. A few people from NZ, including DNZ and Museums Aotearoa. And me, wearing the Adjunct Director, National Library, NZ, hat.

The Wikimedia community
I think one of the biggest takeouts is the incredible professionalism of the Wikimedia spokespeople here. This includes a whole bunch of people from Wikimedia Australia and Jennifer Riggs, Chief Program Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation.

She gave a really inspiring account of the vision and practice around Wikimedia, especially around favourite foster child, Wikipedia.

After her around 12 people came onto the stage. They were all volunteers within the Wikimedia Australia Foundation, which is, in theory, an independent organisation. They each gave a little intro to themselves, and then settled back to field a whole bunch of questions from the floor on the theory and practice of working inside the Wiikipedia team.

It was a neat way to surface some of the big issues facing the collection community – authority – reach – and of course relevance. What came over immediately was the realisation that there was the potential for a real forum here, and that some interesting exchanges just might happen over the next few days.

Lynda Kelly – Australian Museum
Lynda Kelly is live blogging the event, here – so I am not going to try too hard to do that. However, I will try and drop back with some summary thoughts or my own takeouts.

Wikimedia in Te Reo Maori ?
First take out – easy! In one of the discussion points, the issue of easy or difficult was it to start a new language edition? Apparently there is a process, and it isn’t that hard. What’ s more challenging is developing the community of practice which will put it together and then run the site.

Also they Wikipedia folks were keen to emphasise that new language offers are not bound by the default publishing and editorial rules of the English language version.

Mātauranga Māori
All of which begs the question- how would you put together a Te Reo Maori version of Wikipedia which had a Mātauranga Māori framework from day one? Astonishingly interesting notion? Worth coming just for this takeout alone.

The Australian War Memorial Museum
The event is being held in the Australian War Memorial Museum. This is quite a place – moving for sure – but it also has a vibrancy of purpose which doesn’t so much surprise as delight.

Sydney Nolan Exhibition
Just outside the auditorium is a brilliant exhibition from Sydney Nolan, one of Australia’s favourite artist sons. The works are amazing. On them, and Nolan the site says:

The Gallipoli Series
“Sidney Nolan (1917–1992) was one of Australia’s most complex, innovative, and prolific artists. In 1978 Nolan presented the Gallipoli series to the Australian War Memorial.

These 252 drawings and paintings, completed over a 20-year period, were donated in memory of his brother Raymond, a soldier who died in a tragic accident just before the end of the Second World War. Gallipoli was a theme to which Nolan constantly returned throughout his artistic career”

That’s the formal bit. For me, it was another one of those magic moments when you get to stand beside a work and just disappear into the feelings it invokes.

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