Preserving Cultural Heritage: Transkribus Integration with Wikimedia Projects – READ-COOP

“As of July 2023, Transkribus is proud to be a text recognition engine on Wikisource, which is an online digital library of public domain and freely licensed source texts and historical documents, and a sister project of Wikipedia. 

Preserving and sharing historical knowledge is more important than ever, but the task of transcribing and making historical manuscripts accessible is not without its challenges, which is why innovative organisations join forces towards a common goal. 

The Wikimedia Foundation — the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia, Wikisource, and other free knowledge Wikimedia projects — and Transkribus have recently started an exciting collaboration that began with the Wikisources Loves Manuscripts project, which is inspired by the digitisation and transcription of historical Balinese manuscripts. In this article, we will explain how this partnership came about and look at how Transkribus can benefit the Wikisource community. Additionally, we will show you how to use Transkribus within the Wikisource platform for a seamless transcription process….”

Contributing to build “an open, free, and secure digital future for all” through the Global Digital Compact – Diff

“In this blog post, we explain a promising opportunity for the Wikimedia Foundation and communities to build the foundations of our digital future together with other like-minded parties across the world: the Global Digital Compact. We also explain and share our written contribution as well as public statements we made to outline our understanding and recommendation on the policy topics that are most important to the Wikimedia mission and to the wider free and open knowledge movement. We hope that the resources that we explain and share below will be useful to Wikimedia chapters and affiliates around the world, in addition to government policymakers as well as non-governmental allies, committed to protecting and supporting free knowledge communities….”

Wikimedia Foundation announces latest transparency report – Diff

“For nearly two decades, the Wikimedia Foundation has supported free access to the sum of all knowledge.

This ambitious goal would not be possible without the Wikimedia community—thousands of volunteer editors, admins, and functionaries of the Wikimedia projects who not only contribute content, but monitor for harmful material, stop the spread of misinformation, and create policies that determine what content belongs on the projects.

Since the projects are open, collaborative and driven by volunteer efforts, those volunteer editors are best able to respond to requests to change, update, or delete content from our projects. These requests come from governments and private parties, and sometimes also include attempts to obtain nonpublic user information. The Foundation evaluates all requests with an eye towards protecting privacy and freedom of expression. We support the Wikimedia communities’ prerogative to determine what educational content belongs on the projects.

Twice a year, we publish a transparency report outlining the number of requests we received, their types, countries of origin, and other information. The report also features an FAQ and stories about interesting and unusual cases.

Here are a few highlights from the report:…”

Generative AI Meets Open Culture Tickets, Tue, May 2, 2023 at 10:00 AM | Eventbrite

“With the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI), there has been increasing interest in how AI can be used in the description, preservation and dissemination of cultural heritage. While AI promises immense benefits, it also raises important ethical considerations.

In this session, leaders from Internet Archive, Creative Commons, and Wikimedia Foundation will discuss how public interest values can shape the development and deployment of AI in cultural heritage, including how to ensure that AI reflects diverse perspectives, promotes cultural understanding, and respects ethical principles such as privacy and consent.

Join us for a thought-provoking discussion on the future of AI in cultural heritage, and learn how we can work together to create a more equitable and responsible future.”

First grants announced from the Wikimedia Endowment to support technical innovation across Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects – Wikimedia Foundation

“The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia, and the Wikimedia Endowment Board today announced the first recipients of grant funding from the Wikimedia Endowment, the long-term fund established in 2016 to support the future of Wikimedia sites. The initiatives that will receive grant funding include Abstract Wikipedia, Kiwix, Machine Learning, and Wikidata. The projects were selected for their ability to foster greater technical innovation on Wikimedia projects, crucial to keeping the sites relevant in a rapidly-evolving landscape….”

Wikipedia fights Russian order to remove Ukraine war information | Reuters

“The Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Wikipedia, has filed an appeal against a Moscow court decision demanding that it remove information related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, arguing that people have a right to know the facts of the war….”

How Smart is the SMART Copyright Act? – Diff

“During March 2022, United States Senators Patrick Leahy and Thom Tillis introduced the Strengthening Measures to Advance Rights Technologies Copyright Act of 2022 (SMART Copyright Act). The bill is deceptively simple. It would require the Library of Congress to mandate that online platforms use certain “technical measures” (i.e., automated systems) to identify infringing content. Its simplicity masks its dangers, however. For that reason, though the Wikimedia Foundation agrees that technical measures to identify potentially infringing works can be useful in some circumstances, we sent a letter (reproduced below) on 19th April 2022 to the bill’s sponsors letting them know that we oppose it. 

Under the SMART Copyright Act, the Foundation and Wikimedia communities could be forced to accommodate and implement technical tools to identify and manage copyrighted content that may not be right for Wikimedia projects. This requirement could force the Foundation to change its existing copyright review process, even though the current process is working very well. …

While we fully agree that tools can be a helpful aid in identifying infringement, they should not be considered as a fix for all enforcement problems. There are two main reasons for this:

Technical tools are not good at determining when a work was “fairly used” or when a work has entered the public domain. This flaw leads to inappropriate censorship. Even YouTube’s Content ID identifies numerous false positives for infringement, and fails to catch a significant amount of problematic content. We worry that such tools would do far worse than the Wikipedia non-free content policy enforced by users.
Technical tools are often developed and owned by one company, and are not open source or freely available. If specific tools are mandated by the copyright office, this would make it difficult for smaller companies and nonprofits to use them without becoming overly reliant on those companies….”

Three Questions for the Wikimedia Foundation’s new CEO, Maryana Iskander – Diff

“As I said in my welcome letter, I am driven by the question of what it will take to create—not just imagine—a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge? I will begin by focusing on the annual planning processes at the Wikimedia Foundation so that we can share  how our current resources are allocated in support of our mission. This will help us engage with each other, and our movement colleagues, in where targeted investments will support further impact. I will also invest in supporting our Product and Technology teams as we recruit world-class leadership to guide their next phase of growth and innovation. I will also be launching a conversation about our Wikimedia Foundation values and how they guide our organization’s actions, behaviors and performance so that we are more aligned in our expectations of each other. Of course, I don’t get to just do three things at a time, but these will be my key priorities for the first six months! ”

The Wikimedia Endowment reaches $100 million milestone and welcomes three new members to its Board: more on what these developments mean for the projects and movement – Diff

“Now in Wikipedia’s 20th year, it is with immense gratitude that we announce that the Wikimedia Endowment has reached its initial $100 million goal ahead of schedule. With this milestone, the Wikimedia movement will have a critical base level of funds to continue to flourish and thrive over the long-term. This milestone was achieved thanks to the generosity of our Endowment donors, who find value in the volunteer-created content on Wikimedia projects and want to protect and support its growth for others to benefit from. …”

Wikimedia Foundation FY21-22 Annual Plan – Diff

“Today, we are proud to share the Wikimedia Foundation’s finalized Annual Plan for next year. It represents completed, cooperative work across the Foundation to define our goals for the July 2021-June 2022 fiscal year (FY 21-22). It is guided by ongoing discussions with volunteers, such as the Movement Strategy process, and our long term mission to promote free knowledge. It uses our Medium Term Plan as its overarching framework.

Please see our page on Meta-Wiki for the full plan materials, including our list of objectives and videos from the Wikimedia Foundation executive team with subtitles in Arabic, French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese. Questions should be directed to our talk page, and to the live Annual Plan Conversations (office hours) held at the end of the month.

This year’s plan involves three overarching priorities—ensuring a thriving movement, an evolved platform on which that movement can thrive, and a resilient and inclusive Foundation to carry out this work….”

Wikimedia Foundation CEO Katherine Maher to Step Down in April 2021 – Wikimedia Foundation

“Katherine Maher, the Chief Executive Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation, the global nonprofit that operates Wikipedia, will be leaving the organization in April.

Under her leadership, Wikipedia attained its highest public trust in the institution’s history. Since becoming CEO in 2016, Katherine defined an expansive strategic direction for Wikimedia’s next decade, significantly expanded Wikipedia’s presence in emerging markets, increased the diversity and number of editors, significantly grew readership and contributors across Wikipedia and its sister free knowledge projects, and solidified the financial position and future of the Wikimedia movement….”

Stepping down as CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation – Diff

“Earlier today, I announced to my colleagues at the Wikimedia Foundation my intention to step down as CEO later this spring. April 15th will be my last day, marking my seven-year anniversary with the Foundation and the movement. This was not an easy decision, but it is the right one. For now, I want to share with you why I’m moving on, and what comes next. I’ll save deeper reflections on where we are as a movement for later. …”

The World Health Organization and Wikimedia Foundation expand access to trusted information about COVID-19 on Wikipedia

“The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that administers Wikipedia, announced today a collaboration to expand the public’s access to the latest and most reliable information about COVID-19. 

The collaboration will make trusted, public health information available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license at a time when countries face continuing resurgences of COVID-19 and social stability increasingly depends on the public’s shared understanding of the facts. 

Through the collaboration, people everywhere will be able to access and share WHO infographics, videos, and other public health assets on Wikimedia Commons, a digital library of free images and other multimedia. 

With these new freely-licensed resources, Wikipedia’s more than 250,000 volunteer editors can also build on and expand the site’s COVID-19 coverage, which currently offers more than 5,200 coronavirus-related articles in 175 languages. This WHO content will also be translated across national and regional languages through Wikipedia’s vast network of global volunteers.”

Executive Summary: Research findings and recommendations for developing a Declaration on Open Access to Cultural Heritage

“Cultural heritage institutions face a number of obstacles to digitizing and making collections available online. Many are beyond their control. But there is one important area that these institutions do have control over: the access and reuse parameters applied to a breadth of media generated during the reproduction of public domain works.

Whether to claim intellectual property rights (IPR) or release the reproduction media of public domain works via open access parameters is a contentious topic among the GLAM sector (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums). Evidence shows GLAMs take a range of approaches to open access and encounter various obstacles that can hamper the release of cultural materials to the public domain. One of these obstacles is the lack of coordinated and sustainable support for GLAMs with open access ambitions.

Earlier this year, Wikimedia Foundation and Creative Commons came together to assist the OpenGLAM initiative and bridge this gap. The Wikimedia Foundation provided funding for an exploratory research paper on open access to cultural heritage. With the Wikimedia Foundation’s support, Creative Commons is now leading an initiative to develop a Declaration on Open Access to Cultural Heritage, along with a public consultation process to refine and generate consensus on what the Declaration might achieve.

This resource is meant to kick off that process. It brings together valuable insight from practice with wider societal questions to reflect on the trajectory of the open GLAM movement to date and its future needs. The research to support this work sought to:

To take stock of and reflect on open GLAM practices and the intellectual property rights (IPR) management of digital collections; and within this

Identify areas of uncertainty presenting barriers to open GLAM participation;

Identify new areas of focus emerging from open GLAM practice; and

Produce an open access resource to inform the development of a Declaration on Open Access for Cultural Heritage….”