Submissions/Transparency: The Art of Information Sharing - Museum Artist files on Wikipedia

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

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Title of the submission
Transparency: The Art of Information Sharing - Museum Artist files on Wikipedia
Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
Dr. Allison Kupietzky
E-mail address or username (if username, please confirm email address in Special:Preferences)
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

What is an artist file?

An artist file consists of material relating to an individual artist. These files are among the most valued and heavily used resources in art research facilities. They include all relevant information pertaining to the artist - artwork, bibliographical information, education, artwork, exhibitions, reviews, newspaper clippings and much more.

The Information Center for Israel Art at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem has catalogued Israeli artists' information since 1975. As of April 2010 the physical files have been moved into a digital environment and are accessible via the in-house database. This bilingual Hebrew and English database provides limited accessibility as only by visiting the museum can you explore the full wealth of material. To date the Israeli art database consists of 12,000 Israeli artists with over 4500 linked works of art, thousands of newspaper articles, 13,000 exhibition invitations, 700 videos and a listing of thousands of published catalogues and books referencing each artist.

With the help of a joint project between the Information Center for Israeli Art and Wikipedia it would be possible to:
1 – Create a Wikipedia page for 5800 Israeli Artists in Hebrew and English. If a wikipage exists, it will be reviewed. All new texts will come from the online material of the Information Center for Israeli Art and will be referenced. To date there are 113 artists listed in Wikipedia. (
2 - The symbiotic relationship between the Information Center for Israeli Art and Wikipedia, would allow the wiki pages to be updated by many hands, a task which would not be possible with the manpower of a single museum, and create an even more accurate listing for thousands of the 12,000 Israel artists.
3 - The collaborative resulting information from the wikipages could then be returned into the Information Center for Israeli Art database, confirmed and preserved in addition to translated into Hebrew or English where necessary.
4 – The above project could be facilitated through both technical tools as well as community-facing events/activities.

The immediate results would be that the Information Center for Israeli Art database would have far greater accessibility and reach. Wikipedia would benefit from the creation of 5800 pages in Hebrew and English linked to the topic of Israeli Artists, whose potential is currently not fully realized. Both sides would benefit from the community of editors who would create a more accurate peer reviewed final product.

Implications of this collaborative project on the museum world with regard to the Artist Files Online Directory

The Artist Files Online Directory was created as a centralized repository for cultural institutions to promote their collections related to artist files. It was established with members from US & Canadian museums and institutes on its working committee and is opened to international membership. This group recommends standards in the schema of the information available in digital artist files. The artist file wikipages will implement the recommended schema and format. In the future many of the other institutions who hold artist files might consider following the precedence set by the collaborative project between the Information Center for Israeli Art in the Israel Museum and Wikipedia.

Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)

Wiki and Education - Wiki in Knowledge Collaboration: Wiki as a tool for museums - management of information for the public benefit; Wiki technology as a tool of cultural preservation.

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  1. Vibhijain 13:45, 4 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
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