Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dutch 2011 Hack-a-ton a great success

Wikipedia birthday cakes during the celebrations
 in Amsterdam (Derk-Jan Hartman, CC-BY-SA 3.0)
So here we are... One day after the 10 year anniversary of Wikipedia and I think that I'm not the only Wikipedian who will testify that it has been a great couple of days. Lots of online friends meeting in real life at one of the 450 or so events, lots of very nice press attention for our once so humble project and just all out fun.

Myself I participated in the first Dutch Hackathon. The day kicked of Friday 14th, at 10 in the morning in the offices of Kennisland in Amsterdam. Since I was working on friday, I joined in on the fun at around 18:30 during pizza-time. There were about 15 or so developers as well as a dozen or so Wikimedians and people from a Wikipedia editing workshop that took place during the day. They assisted in the brainstorming, provided feedback and were kind enough to drink beers with us :D

Several projects had been selected in advance and a great deal of work got done. A quick summary:

  • Husky and Krinkle created PhotoCommons, a plugin for WordPress that makes it easy to search and embed files from Wikimedia Commons into your WordPress website.
  • I myself built WikiSnaps, an iPhone application that allows you to upload photographs from your iPhone camera or image library directly to Wikimedia Commons.
  • Tag-cloud visualizations of the statistics we collect of the usage of the GLAM materials. Making the usage of these GLAM materials in Wikipedia visible to the institutions is very important. (links will follow at a later time)
  • Pywikipediabot and Europeana were added to by siebrand and RobertL.
  • Bryan built a pywikipediabot named fancy-uploader to facilitate uploading of large batches of files to Wikimedia Commons.
  • JanPaul123 presented and further improved his revolutionary Sentence-level editor (demo) for wikitext. This shows great promise to improve the editing experience for many Wikipedians.
  • Groundbreaking work has been done by Roan, Krinkle and Bryan on getting the licenses and attribution information of files into the database. Currently this information is only present in wikitext, which makes it difficult to reuse this information outside of Wikimedia. This will eventually greatly improve the reusability of the Wikimedia Commons materials. 
  • Functionality has been developed for Open Images that allows their videos to be directly imported to Wikimedia Commons with the click of a button.

The projects were presented at the Amsterdam Museum-event on Saturday and they were enthusiastically greeted by the crowd of some 150 people. We evaluated the event during the reception of the 10 year Wikipedia party and quickly concluded that this is definitely worth repeating. The efficiency of working and thinking together in a single room, with short and dedicated projects was clear to all of us.

I want to thank all the people of Wikimedia NL, Kennisland, Amsterdam Museum and Beelden voor de toekomst, who sponsored and helped organize the events. You were all terrific and really organized something special.