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Innovation Hub launches with Wikimedia D.C. Annual Meeting

by on January 2, 2014

On a recent Saturday, the National Archives was honored to host the 2013 annual membership meeting of Wikimedia D.C.—the local chapter of the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, which supports Wikipedia and other projects—for the first public event at our Innovation Hub. The Innovation Hub is a new public space for meeting, organizing, collaborating, and hacking in the pursuit of civic and cultural heritage technology and innovation. It’s located in the former reference library in the research center of the main National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., which we’re converting into a more engaging site for citizen archivist stakeholder groups—like Wikipedians, who make our digital content more useful and accessible on the web by giving it encyclopedic context and displaying it in a very high-traffic site. One of our goals is to be a local center for GLAM-Wiki activity, and that’s why we’re partnering with the Wikimedia community on events like this one.

Wikimedia DC’s president speaks to the group. (Image: CC-BY-SA, Gerald Shields)

About thirty people were in attendance for the four-hour afternoon event. During the meeting, Wikimedia D.C.’s Board of Directors presented its annual report and annual plan. The chapter also presented its first-ever 2013 Distinguished Service Award to Sara Snyder, of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, and Effie Kapsalis, of the Smithsonian Institution Archives, “for exemplary contributions to the advancement of public knowledge and the collection, development, and dissemination of educational content”. It was very exciting to see the chapter recognize them in this way, because Sara and Effie have both been instrumental in their institutions’ active engagement with Wikipedia, greatly increasing the exposure of their work to the public, and, as a friend and colleague, I’m proud of their trailblazing. There was also a keynote panel on Wikimedia and the cultural sector, featuring myself, Sara, Ed Summers of the Library of Congress, and Andrew Lih of American University. The meeting closed with discussion of upcoming projects, and visitors expressed interest in holding future events at the Innovation Hub.

We think that events like these show that the future is bright for innovative partnerships with mission-aligned outside organizations working in the public interest. After the success of the meeting, James Hare, Wikimedia D.C.’s president, stated that “On behalf of Wikimedia D.C., I would like to thank the National Archives and Records Administration for their generosity in accommodating Wikimedia D.C. for its annual meeting. We look forward to hosting future events at the Innovation Hub, including citizen scanning projects and other projects that aid the National Archives’ mission to share the records of the United States with the public.” We couldn’t agree more!

Group photo of Wikimedia DC members. (Image: CC-BY-SA, Gerald Shields)

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