Towards a New News Ethic

Women standing in a picket line reading the newspaper PM.

The phenomenon of fake news and algorithms is forcing us to reconsider the difference between source and channel and the need for a global news ethic.

The internet has represented a change of scale on all levels that has affected the way that we access, consume and relate to information. In a few years, we have passed from a process in which our search was motivated by curiosity towards an automated system that suggests to us contents that it supposes we will like. Meanwhile, the boundaries between medium, channel and source have all become blurred, and we all believe ourselves to be transmitters and receivers of contents. This new paradigm of supposed socialisation of information is occurring in a hyper-centralised scenario where the algorithms of companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, channel and influence a high percentage of the information that we consume. How does all this affect us? What are the potential risks and benefits?


The internet has represented a revolution and a change of scale in the creation and distribution of and access to information, modifying the cognitive ecosystem on a worldwide level.

The number and diversity of people with access to receiving and emitting information has grown exponentially. This can be considered a democratising and positive fact: the average cultural level of humanity is much higher than it was hundred years ago. Since knowledge is not a good in scarce supply, the more dissemination, the better for everyone. When the bases of any society improve, the entire system improves.

However, how does this massification affect the information hierarchy? Now that many more people are talking, how can we discern who has the authority to talk about a subject? How can we define which sources are reliable? Who determines which voices become canonical, in other words, how are new reference models defined?

In the current context, the canon, as traditionally set by an institutional elite, has died to make way for an ecosystem of canons where as many hierarchies as identities and motivations that are related in each individual or each society all converge. The institutions that to date decided who ought to be the reference points in the different fields of knowledge have lost power, which is now diversified between new voices.


In recent years, society has progressively increased its awareness when it comes to consuming. As citizens we want to know where the products that we acquire have come from and we expect the rights of people involved in their production processes to be respected. This has led to the birth of initiatives such as fair trade, organic food, responsible investment funds or medicines not tested on animals.

Ethics have demanded traceability in production systems. Today, any product purchased from the supermarket incorporates a batch number that enables us, if an incident arises, to detect its origin. In this case, technology has served to improve the quality of production and distribution systems, and also of consumer service.

However, can the same be said in the news consumption field? At the height of the hyperlink era, how can it be that we spend the day talking about false news, about internet fakes? Should it not be possible to “trace” pieces of information and be able to validate the sources from which data have been extracted, in such a way that consumers have peace of mind that what they are reading has passed through various filters and quality controls and, if an incident arises, they can contact the original producer? Was this not journalism’s role?

How to Spot Fake News |


What holds the most power today? The information producer, the source, or the distribution channel?

The internet was born as an open project, one that enabled decentralised and horizontal communication between any two nodes on the network. Today, major incorporations such as Google and Facebook endeavour to concentrate information and users to the maximum, then retain them inside their environments, wanting to convert the network into a series of bunkers that are increasingly isolated from each other.

These companies want to be channel and source at the same time. When we seek weather information on Google, we do not notice which agency made the prediction (Meteocat or Aemet?). The data are presented as if the source were Google itself, while the real source appears increasingly more hidden. The same thing happens if we search for information on the stock market, the state of the traffic… or when we read the news.

These platforms demand our continual attention and do everything to ensure that we increasingly consume more information without having to leave them. Some projects like Instagram go even further and no longer allow the use of URL links.

The media have also joined in with this centralising effort. To avoid readers abandoning their website, the main newspapers no longer include in their news pieces hyperlinks to external sources.

It is necessary to be aware of this situation and to fight the growing monopoly in order to the internet continues being multi-channel and multi-source, guaranteeing, promoting and defending diversity on the web. And it is necessary to give some consideration to what the role of the fourth estate is and should be within this context.

Emotion and cognitive fact

The media are not only tending to concentrate information, but have also begun a bloody battle for clicks, because they see how their income increasingly depends on Google advertising. This means that journalists increasingly endeavour to produce click-seeking headlines, which appeal to the emotion instead of to reason and make the click irresistible.

Emotion per se is not a negative bias for the cognitive event, since curiosity has always been a source of knowledge. The risk appears when, to win clicks, many traditional media are forgetting their ethics and their style guides and are coming dangerously close to the ways of working of the sensationalist press. Popularity, number of visits, likes, retweets or similar, have caused a progressive crisis in argumentation, in favour of an increase in emotional contents, which are increasingly polarised. The headlines have lost neutrality in favour of scandals. Quality has fallen in favour of repetition.

Facebook Emojis

Emojis de Facebook

Algorithm and active searching

Added to this new scenario is the fact that we have shifted from a “search” environment to a “feed” environment or contents channel. Now we no longer consult the newspapers, but rather the news reaches us via our timelines.

It is important to be aware that these channels, whether news-based or cultural, are not neutral. There is an algorithm behind them that filters, orders and presents to us those pieces of news or knowledge that it is probable that we will like most according to our behaviour history.

An algorithm is nothing more than a code designed by an organisation. Who designs it or how, and with what aims – commercial or political – is an aspect that should occupy a prominent position in the social debate. Three or four companies on a worldwide level are deciding, in an opaque way, what material we are consuming in the news and cultural sphere. Progressively they are leading us to stop searching, while trapping us in a “news bubble” made to measure for us, of for all those people who comply with our same pattern. We could see it with companies such as Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 elections in the USA.

Algorithms tend towards the convergence of patterns and try, by default, to simplify our complexity. They interpret us and include us in a determined pattern, a fact that is a direct attack on our individuality. The reinforce stimuli that work, making it difficult for our tastes or interests to evolve.

Before this oh-so-powerful tool, we have the responsibility of keeping our curiosity active, of getting out of our pattern, of going to discover new things to not end up “framed” within a determined social profile, however small and segmented it may be.

In the same way that years ago we made an effort to find information on subjects that interested us (music, books, etc.), now it is necessary to make an effort to escape it. Only this way can we break with and expand our limits and tastes. We have more patterns than ever, we can tour more paths than ever before, as long as we keep our curiosity alive.

Towards a global news ethic

We humans have always needed filters to access information, Teachers, books, manuals, the media… the disseminator is a basic necessary tool for accessing knowledge.

This task, today, is assumed increasingly by machines, with the potential benefits and risks that this involves. It is necessary to keep this in mind and act accordingly. For this, it is necessary for these technologies to be open by default, developed with free programming, to be able to detect and avoid economic or cognitive biases in their design.

In an ideal world, a good algorithm could become a “good disseminator”. The good disseminator translates from the top down, adapting the discourse to the level of the recipient and respecting the original source. An algorithm could do this task, but the technology is not neutral. For this reason, it is necessary for us to incorporate ethics into the technical decision-making process.

Now we are more aware than ever that as members of a society, we are a node in a network, where we play a role. The action is collective but we, as individuals, are responsible for it. It is necessary to continue defending an open, free and decentralised internet. It is necessary to struggle for this change of scale that is the internet to go in the correct direction. We cannot accept as the only reality the biased products of large corporations. It is necessary to encourage the individual responsibility of choosing and of discovery, and the responsibility and collective power that we have as a community of users. It is necessary to differentiate between source and channel, and to fight to ensure that there is not just one single channel.

It is necessary to continue to strive to know the canon, but with the freedom e of avoiding it. Divergence shows new possibilities until it establishes new paradigms. Let’s defend them.

Hacia una nueva ética informativa

Women standing in a picket line reading the newspaper PM.

El fenómeno de las «fake news» y los algoritmos nos obliga a replantearnos la diferencia entre fuente y canal y la necesidad de una ética informativa global.

Internet ha supuesto un cambio de escala a todos los niveles que ha afectado la forma en que accedemos, consumimos y nos relacionamos con la información. En pocos años, hemos pasado de un proceso en que la curiosidad motivaba la búsqueda hacia un sistema automatizado que nos sugiere contenidos que se supone que nos gustarán. Asimismo, se desdibujan las fronteras entre medio, canal y fuente, y todos nos creemos emisores y receptores de contenidos. Este nuevo paradigma de supuesta socialización de la información se produce en un escenario hipercentralizado en el que los algoritmos de empresas como Google, Facebook o Twitter canalizan e influyen sobre un altísimo porcentaje de la información que consumimos. ¿Cómo nos afecta todo ello? ¿Qué riesgos y beneficios potenciales tiene?


Internet ha supuesto una revolución y un cambio de escala en la creación, la distribución y el acceso a la información, modificando el ecosistema cognitivo a nivel mundial.

Se han incrementado exponencialmente el número y la diversidad de personas con acceso a recibir y emitir información. Esto puede considerarse un hecho democratizador y positivo: el nivel cultural medio de la humanidad es mucho más alto ahora que hace cien años. Dado que el conocimiento no es un bien escaso, cuanto más se difunda mejor para todos. Cuando las bases de cualquier sociedad mejoran todo el sistema mejora.

Sin embargo, ¿cómo afecta esta masificación a la jerarquía informativa? Ahora que muchas más personas hablan, ¿cómo podemos discernir quién tiene autoridad para hablar de un tema? ¿Cómo podemos definir qué fuentes son fiables? ¿Quién determina qué voces se convierten en canónicas, es decir, cómo se definen los nuevos modelos de referencia?

En el contexto actual, el canon, tradicionalmente fijado por una élite institucional, ha muerto para dar lugar a un ecosistema de cánones en el que confluyen tantas jerarquías como identidades y motivaciones se relacionen en cada individuo o cada sociedad. Las instituciones que hasta ahora decidían cuáles debían ser los referentes en los diversos ámbitos del conocimiento han perdido poder, ahora diversificado entre nuevas voces.


En los últimos años, la sociedad ha incrementado paulatinamente su conciencia a la hora de consumir. Los ciudadanos queremos saber de dónde han salido los productos que adquirimos y esperamos que se respeten los derechos de las personas involucradas en los procesos de producción. Así han nacido iniciativas como el comercio justo, la alimentación ecológica, los fondos de inversión responsables o los medicamentos no testados en animales.

La ética ha exigido trazabilidad a los sistemas de producción. Hoy, cualquier producto del supermercado incorpora un número de lote que nos permite, en caso de incidencia, detectar su origen. En este caso, la tecnología ha servido para mejorar la calidad de los sistemas de producción y de distribución, así como del servicio al consumidor.

Pero, ¿ha pasado lo mismo en el ámbito del consumo informativo? En plena era del hipervínculo, ¿cómo es posible que nos pasemos el día hablando de noticias falsas, de fakes de Internet? ¿No debería ser posible «trazar» las piezas de información, poder validar las fuentes de donde se han extraído los datos, de modo que el consumidor tuviera la tranquilidad de que lo que lee ha pasado por varios filtros y controles de calidad y, en caso de incidencia, pudiera contactar con el productor original? ¿No era ese el rol del periodismo?

How to Spot Fake News |


¿Quién tiene más fuerza hoy? ¿El productor de la información, la fuente o el canal de distribución?

Internet nació como un proyecto abierto, que permitía la comunicación descentralizada y horizontal entre dos nodos cualesquiera de la red. Actualmente, grandes corporaciones como Google o Facebook se esfuerzan por concentrar el máximo de información y usuarios y retenerlos dentro de sus entornos, y así quieren convertir la red en un conjunto de silos, cada vez más aislados entre sí.

Estas empresas quieren ser canal y fuente a la vez. Cuando buscamos información meteorológica en Google, no nos fijamos en qué agencia ha hecho la previsión (¿Meteocat o Aemet?). Los datos se nos presentan como si la fuente fuera el propio Google, mientras que la fuente real cada vez aparece más escondida. Lo mismo ocurre cuando buscamos información sobre la bolsa, el estado del tráfico o cuando leemos las noticias.

Estas plataformas nos piden atención continua y hacen todo lo posible para que cada vez consumamos más información sin tener que salir. Incluso, algunos proyectos como Instagram van un paso más allá y ya no permiten añadir enlaces vía URL.

Los medios de comunicación también se han sumado al afán centralizador. Para evitar que los lectores abandonen su web, los principales diarios ya no incluyen dentro de las noticias hipervínculos que redirijan a fuentes externas.

Hay que ser conscientes de esta situación y combatir el creciente monopolio luchando para que Internet siga siendo multicanal y multifuente, garantizando, promoviendo y defendiendo la diversidad en la red. Y también hay que hacer una reflexión sobre cuál es y cuál debe ser el rol del cuarto poder en este contexto.

Emoción y hecho cognitivo

Los medios de comunicación no solo están tendiendo a concentrar la información, sino que también han iniciado una encarnizada lucha por el clic, porque ven que sus ingresos dependen cada vez más de la publicidad de Google. Esto hace que los periodistas se esfuercen cada vez más a hacer titulares cazaclics, que apelan a la emoción en lugar de la razón y hacen irresistible el clic.

La emoción per se no es un sesgo negativo al hecho cognitivo, ya que la curiosidad siempre ha sido una fuente de conocimiento. El riesgo aparece cuando, para conseguir clics, muchos medios tradicionales están olvidando su ética y su libro de estilo y se están acercando peligrosamente a la manera de hacer de la prensa amarilla. La popularidad, el número de visitas, likes, retuits o similares han provocado una progresiva crisis de la argumentación, en favor de un incremento de contenidos emocionales, cada vez más polarizados. Los titulares han perdido neutralidad en favor del escándalo. La calidad ha bajado en favor de la redundancia.

Emojis de Facebook

Emojis de Facebook

Algoritmo y búsqueda activa

A este nuevo escenario se le suma el hecho de que hemos pasado de un entorno de «búsqueda» a un entorno de «feed» o canal de contenidos. Ahora ya no consultamos los periódicos, sino que la información nos llega a través de nuestros timelines.

Hay que ser conscientes de que estos canales, ya sean informativos o culturales, no son neutros. Hay un algoritmo detrás que filtra, ordena y nos presenta aquellas piezas de información o conocimiento que es probable que nos gusten más según nuestro historial de comportamiento.

Un algoritmo no es más que un código diseñado por una organización. Quién y cómo lo diseña y con qué fines –comerciales o políticos– es un aspecto que debería ocupar una posición destacada en el debate social. Tres o cuatro empresas a nivel mundial están decidiendo, de forma opaca, qué material consumimos en el ámbito informativo y cultural. Paulatinamente van haciendo que dejemos de buscar, atrapándonos en una «burbuja informativa» hecha a medida para nosotros, o para todas las personas que cumplen nuestro mismo patrón. Lo pudimos ver con empresas como Cambridge Analytica y las elecciones de 2016 en Estados Unidos.

Los algoritmos tienden hacia la convergencia de patrones e intentan, por defecto, simplificar nuestra complejidad. Nos interpretan y nos incluyen en un patrón determinado, lo que atenta directamente contra nuestra individualidad. Refuerzan estímulos que funcionan, y ello dificulta que nuestros gustos o intereses evolucionen.

Ante esta herramienta tan potente, tenemos la responsabilidad de mantener nuestra curiosidad activa, de salir del patrón, de ir a descubrir cosas nuevas para no acabar «enmarcados» en un perfil social determinado, por pequeño y segmentado que sea.

Del mismo modo que hace años hacíamos un esfuerzo por encontrar información sobre los temas que nos interesaban (música, libros, etc.), ahora hay que hacer un esfuerzo para escapar de ella. Solo así podremos romper y ensanchar nuestros límites y gustos. Tenemos más patrones que nunca, podemos recorrer más caminos, siempre y cuando mantengamos viva la curiosidad.

Hacia una ética informativa global

Los humanos siempre hemos necesitado filtros para acceder a la información. Profesores, libros, manuales, medios de comunicación, etc., el divulgador es una herramienta necesaria básica para poder acceder al conocimiento.

Esta tarea, hoy, es asumida cada vez más por máquinas, con los beneficios y riesgos potenciales que ello conlleva. Hay que tenerlo en cuenta y actuar en consecuencia. Por ello, es necesario que estas tecnologías sean abiertas por defecto, desarrolladas con software libre, para poder detectar y evitar sesgos económicos o cognitivos en su diseño.

En un mundo ideal, un buen algoritmo podría convertirse en un «buen divulgador». El buen divulgador traduce de arriba abajo, adaptando el discurso al nivel del receptor y respetando la fuente original. Un algoritmo podría realizar esta tarea, pero la tecnología no es neutra. Por ello, debemos incorporar la ética en la toma de decisiones técnicas.

Ahora somos más conscientes que nunca de que, como miembros de una sociedad, somos un nodo de una red, donde desempeñamos un papel. La acción es colectiva, pero nosotros, como individuos, somos responsables de ella. Hay que seguir defendiendo una Internet abierta, libre y descentralizada. Hay que luchar para que este cambio de escala, que es Internet, vaya en la dirección correcta. No podemos aceptar como única realidad los productos sesgados de grandes corporaciones. Hay que fomentar la responsabilidad individual de la elección y del descubrimiento, y la responsabilidad y el poder colectivo que tenemos como comunidad de usuarios. Hay que diferenciar entre fuente y canal, y luchar para que no haya un canal único.

Hay que proseguir con el esfuerzo para conocer el canon, pero con la libertad de salir de él. La divergencia muestra nuevas posibilidades hasta que establece nuevos paradigmas. Defendámoslos.

Case study: Wikipedia and Catalonia’s Network of Public Libraries


Location of Catalonia in Europe

This case study covers the collaboration of a whole network of Catalan public libraries with Wikipedia & Wikimedia projects. This documentation focues on the motivations for their collaboration, the activities engaging the libraries and the influence and impact of that initiative on ideas around open access and the Wikimedia community within the libraries sector.

The program builds on a few important values: in a world of lots of information, librarians are references heroes; they have research expertise; Wikimedia projects need expertise. Moreover, many libraries want to have connection to local users who are eager for knowledge. We explained Wikipedia as one more way to engage those knowledge seekers:social media is about to start talking with engaged learners; Wikipedia is a great way to start collaborating with them.

Mission and focus

We approached the project with the following mission: If Wikipedia is a virtual (online) door to knowledge and libraries are a real door (offline), we should work together to provide new levels of access to information.

To meet this mission, we focused on the following strategies:

  • Providing information to librarians on how to integrate Wikipedia into the daily work of a library
  • Sharing the movement’s wiki philosophy with librarians (i.e. collaborative work, knowledge sharing and open access to the results of this work)
  • Contributing alongside networks of libraries or cultural institutions encourages participation in the creation of open data and promotion of open access
  • Promoting digital literacy of citizens (Library users)
  • Promoting spread of local contents related to the region and to library’s specific knowledge (for theme libraries).
  • Training librarians and society on copyright terms and Creative Commons licensing



Our very first meeting in Jan 2012

GLAM-Wiki projects in Catalonia started in 2010 with an initial focus on Museums. These were mostly internationally recognized institutions, such as Barcelona’s Picasso Museum or Joan Miró Foundation joined the project; with their support, we were able to engage many others national, art & history museums.

During 2011 David Parreño, a volunteer Wikimedian, became Wikimedian in Residence in a small beach town called Palafrugell. He visited all the cultural institutions in town explaining the benefits of collaborating with Wikipedia (5 pillars, wikimarkup, etc.). During this residency, he was based at the local library, where the librarian discovered the potential of these kind of collaborations. After some months, this particular Palafrugell librarian was named head of Catalan libraries. We were so lucky: It was a shortcut from a pilot project to a national level scale.

Kick off: Let’s do some training

We had then some meetings with the brand new head of Catalan Public Libraries service. There we established both assumptions and expectations and set a very basic first goal: assuming the fact that Wikipedia is now the basic source of information for citizens and librarians’ mission is to facilitate access to information; Catalan Librarians should — at least — know how Wikipedia works.

During summer 2012 Catalan government agreed to support a series of 5 regional trainings to librarians all around Catalonia (one workshop in each major city of the area). Each training consisted in a 4 hours workshop explaining what is Wikipedia, what is GLAM-Wiki, what is free knowledge and why librarians should join the projects. 150 librarians from all around the country where trained in total. With this workshop we got a basic level of understanding what is Wikipedia. The Librarians sector finally understood Wikipedia and the Wikimedia community as friends and not as an mysterious unknown enemy. One of the key succeed factor was that the workshops where not tech oriented on “how” to edit Wikipedia but on the “why”.

First results: Asymmetrical answers from the early birds

Most of the librarians where enthusiastic with the idea of collaborating with Wikipedia, but they didn’t like the media-wiki markup that much. It was 2012 and Visual editor didn’t exist yet. But we had a small group of early adopting librarians (10-20 from the workshop) who started editing Wikipedia and spreading the project among their professional colleagues and library users. In some cases, the braver librarians already conducted public wiki-training activities with library users.

We realized wiki markup was a challenge, so after a couple of meetings the Department of Culture of the Government of Catalonia agreed to fund and print 1,500 copies of the Catalan Version of the Welcome to Wikipedia PDF guide, so both librarians and library users have some quick documentation on learning how to edit.

For the first time, not a single institution but a network of libraries was allied with Wikipedia to collaborate and promoting open access and digital literacy among citizens. Initial results from the workshops and flyers were lower than expected: as a not-yet-official thematic org we didn’t know how to best manage and follow up this momentum.

Nevertheless the project not only meant that librarians were actively involved in editing Wikipedia, but also and above all that librarians were convinced about the importance of creating and disseminating open knowledge, empowering users themselves to also create articles, and encouraging more people to get involved. Libraries can, and should, play an increasingly active role on it, because librarians constitute the link between information, data, and users, just like Wikipedia.

Scale: From 10 to 100 libraries

This is a wikilibrary sticker at libraries front doors

Some of the early-adopting librarians organized edit-a-thons, wiki-takes events, and other Wikimedia activities (see list below). These model events showed colleagues that collaborating with Wikipedia was relatively easy and offered a cool way of engaging with local communities. To reward libraries that self-organized programs, we sent some stickers which could be placed in public places . This strategy of awarding planning the project in a way that libraries was self sustainable at mid term. In fact, these stickers acted as a “recognition” or a “badge” for librarians. More and more librarians wanted to organize wiki projects just because they neighbour library had a sticker and they also wanted one. This helped to move the project and little by little we increased the number of actives libraries from 10 to 30-50.

We then created a Library-specific portal (Wikiproject Libraries) in order to share the experiences of librarians and to offer a “menu of activities” so librarians could follow the projects lead by other members of their profession. This empowered librarians to opt into the Wikimedia program: the models of other colleagues made using the program much more acceptable, and reinforced their ability to get approval from colleagues and supervisors. Moreover, rather than be limited to a particular type of activity, the librarians could choose the kind of activity they felt comfortable with (editing Wikipedia, organizing a workshop or an edit-a-thon, improving WikiCommons related material, releasing Public Domain content…).

Finally we organised a contest where Libraries had their Head Writer (decapçalera): A living local writer agreed to have a favourite library and among other things, the library had to write a proper Wikipedia article about said local writer. This simple project acted as an icebreaker for the less innovative librarians, because improving this Wikipedia article was somehow a mandatory task, but it acted as an icebreaker for them. Finally, they felt editing Wikipedia wasn’t that hard.

One of the key success of this scale period was offering activities & projects for different types of libraries and personas. If you where an innovative librarian, a socializer, a shy one, a task-lover…you could do different kinds of wiki activities related to your interests and level of comfort.

  • Workshops for librarians
  • Workshops for librarians
  • Bibliowiki stickers at the entry door of a library
  • More stickers
  • Local editathon organized by librarians

2017 update

  • More than 200 libraries, are active in the project. Not only from Catalonia but from Catalan speaking areas
  • #Bibliowikis has become a self sustainable project. Public libraries self-organize editathons, wiki takes, and other
  • They feel #1lib1ref as THEIR yearly global project. They do outreach about it in their own professional communication channels (newsletters, mailings…) > Catalan, 2nd language more active after English.
  • We tried to copy to archives but we failed.

Conclusions and outlook

The project has grown unstoppably and continues to expand itself, improving the Amical Wikimedia community. This exponential growth implies a difficulty in calculating the metrics/impact of participation of libraries numerically, since content can be created or expanded, and both options are equally good. Besides, professionals librarians can edit themselves or teach citizens to edit. It is then difficult to estimate the real impact on the number of items of such a large group of Wikipedians. It is impossible to know how many new Wikipedians have created an account because they attended a workshop wiki editing a library.

As the partnership progressed, it became clear that there is also a mutual interest between Amical Wikimedia and the librarians community: the number of female editors in Wikipedia is much lower than the male. The group of professionals of public libraries, by contrast, is made up of more than 80% women. This helps to close the gender gap on Wikipedia.

From this project, it has been revealed that the organization of Wiki activities is the perfect occasion for collaboration with other cultural institutions in a municipality framework. In some cases, local archives and local libraries which had common interests had never collaborated until Amical Wikimedia started collaborating with them, helping them create a synergy. Wikipedia behaves as a neutral playground area where no logos are needed and no fights, no bureaucracy, no board written permission: it’s a free platform that helps small institutions collaborate in an informal way. This is important for us as a result and we promote the idea: GLAM professionals feel Wikipedia is HELPING them to interact with other GLAM professionals) –>

Another intangible valuation is the win-win relationship that is generated from this project: first, the library community incorporates an open and powerful group of volunteer who help them spend their funds in an attractive way. Secondly, Wikipedia benefits from the prestige of being prescribed and promoted from the information professionals of library centers, as guarantors of neutrality and the proper use of information resources. Moroeover, we have started to share our story with other librarians networks (Land of València, Andorra, Basque Country, Italy, Spain…) Some of them have already started to copy our model, creating new communities within their respective regions. Both Amical Wikimedia, Wikimedia projects and the larger library professional network, have had an opportunity to grow. Welcoming the librarians liasons among Wikipedia volunteers, encourages sharing of best practices from both communities, increased transparency in all processes, and positive, impactful work.

  • Sharing our model with Basque Librarians
  • Sharing our model at GLAM-Wiki NL 2015
  • Catalan wikis AGM Viquitrobada took place in a Public library

Specific activities

This project is an open and adaptive initiative, where every library has its own unique characteristics that are taken into account: environment, staff, users, etc. We design a menu of recommended activities (edit-a-thons, trainings, wikitakes…); and among all possible collaborations, each library choose the one that best suits to their reality and environment. From the simplest to organize, such as a small training workshop, to the most complex, such as photographing and cataloging the monuments of the town. Everyone does what they want/can depending on their availability/desire and related communities. To create a sense of commitment in the group, we occasionally organize a joint project for all the active libraries (famous librarians, Wiki Loves…). These are some of the most notable activities/projects done:

  • Basic Wikipedia Workshop: Normally run by a local volunteer. In some cases run by librarian itself. Amical staff acts as B plan when last minute cancels of volunteers or when the workshop is in a library with no volunteers on the area. Library organises the public call to its communities and Amical tries to find a volunteer. Volunteer public transport expenses (if needed) are supported by Amical. It is a good way for starting a small community of editors. Usually 1 workshop per semester or trimester.
  • Printing Wikipedia brochure We co-printed around 3K copies of the “Welcome to Wikipedia guide” so every library got some leaflets to give to interested users. We stopped doing it when Visual editor was implemented by default on our wiki.
  • Bibliowiki sticker at doors: We designed a sticker so wikilibraries can show their users that they promote free knowledge and they are ok with answering wiki-related questions. Libraries could ask for one of these stickers only when they have self-organised a wiki activity.
  • How to use your library: Librarians include “how to use Wikipedia” in their basic educational group visit to the library. When a school visits the library, they teach how to look for information on their computers, and on Wikipedia.
  • Local edit-a-thons: Public libraries are the best at promoting local content and engaging with local specific communities. When organizing an edit-a-thon, Amical commits to send a volunteer trainer, and the library looks for the rest of the attendees: this way we don’t burn experienced users and we welcome newbies.
  • Wiki takes your town: Using the Wikilovesmonuments existing heritage lists to organize an “out of the library” activity, where small teams take a photo scavenger hunt of heritage buildings around the community. Afterwards an Amical volunteer helps with the upload procedure on Wiki Commons.
  • Wiki reading clubs: Most of public libraries have reading clubs. An innovative layer is asking to one of the readers to improve the page concerning the writer or the novel on Wikipedia and to introduce the writer or the novel to the rest of the group of readers on their next meeting.
  • QRpedia: Some libraries in collaboration with the local tourism board organized contests or events to better document and translate local heritage buildings on Wikipedia and later on printed QRpedia codes around the town.
  • Yearly Bibliowikis meeting: To give a sense of community, we organise a once a year a morning meeting with all active wikilibrarians so they can share experiences, fears, and challenges. Lunch is funded by Amical.
  • Librarian trains a Librarian: We encourage expert wikilibrarians to teach and train their colleagues so we can reach more librarians. We treat wikilibrarians as a regular Wikipedia editor, asking them to volunteer.
  • Fav writer: A Public Library chooses a favorite local living writer and works with volunteers to bring their article up to Good Article status. The writers then engage with the library in other activities.
  • Leading a local Wikiproject: Some librarians have gone further and started a Wikiproject:their town. Starting to write about history, people, economy of their town

How to reproduce it in your own city/area

Note: Section based on [1] Model projects design by the Wikipedia Library

Wikimedia workshop oriented to librarians

When talking to a librarian you need to adapt a general Wikimedia workshop to an information professional.


  1. Local library or regional library makes the open call to sector professionals.
  2. Make sure attendees create a Wikipedia account in advance (so you avoid the top 5 limitation)
  3. Focus speech on benefits and mission of Wikipedia as a way of facilitating information to society. Align speech with libraries mission.
  4. Talk about Wikimedia projects. Some focused librarians don’t like Wikipedia but love WIkidata, Wikiquote, Wikisource…offer the menu and let them choose
  5. Talk about Wikimedia activities: edit-a-thon, workshops, online contests…


  • Skills: Public speaking
  • People: We use the technique of a online coordinator and an on site coordinator. This way we can scale our activities
  • Time: 4 hours recommended

Wiki takes your town


  1. Check out if there is a list of monuments of your town in your home language Wikipedia. Here you can check some lists in English
  2. Contact the existing amateur photo groups of your city or look at some social media local tags on Instagram or Twitter and contact these communities
  3. Print some your list of local monuments. If you live in a big city, you can suggest routes or divide the list by areas.
  4. Offer some beverages at the end of the event to make sure people come back to the library once the route is finished
  5. While scheduling the event make sure you have 1 hour or so at the end so participants can upload content on Wikimedia Commons once back at the library.


  • Skills: local Copyright legislation on monuments
  • People: 1 librarian and one Wikimedia Commons volunteer
  • Time: 4 hours recommended

Wiki Reading clubs


  1. Before reading the book, ask a group member if they want to improve/translate the Wikipedia article about the author or about the book’s topic
  2. The club member must edit the Wikipedia article while reading the book
  3. At the next meeting, they will present the article and comment it to the group


  • Skills: Wikipedia editing
  • People: 1 librarian leading the activity
  • Time: 1 hour for writing emails and follow up and some minutes the day of the event

Other general Quick Tips

  • Scaling: We planned the project in a way that is self substainable on mid term
  • Cost: The economic issue is thus another undeniable attraction: libraries do not need to have extra economic resources to contribute to Wikipedia, and to create more of a digital presence for their local knowledge. Moreover, the central printing of the editing Wikipedia guides helped alleviate the cost to individual organizations.
  • One for all it doesn’t work: Some librarians are not that used to “start their own projects”
  • Once you edit, you are a Wikipedian: we tried to avoid the “them and us” terminology. We are all wikipedians. Librarians ARE wikipedians, don’t help Wikipedians -> we tried to welcome everybody into the wiki community.
  • Governance: The project is managed by library staff and volunteers of Amical Wikimedia. Amical’s project coordinator spend 20% of their FTJ coordinating the whole project, in a decreasing way.
  • Who is active: Open list of active libraries: We have an open list of active wiki libraries so they all can compare with each other, ask and share experiences.
  • Giving voice to librarians on outreach activities: We gave voice to librarians when being interviewed about Wikipedia. Instead of answering why we work with librarians, we asked media to talk directly with them. And we invited active wikilibrarians or the head of service when presenting the project at GLAM conferences, so other professionals hear the story from a librarian professional, not only from an enthusiastic volunteer.

Similar projects in other contexts

  • Wikipedia in de Openbare Bibliotheek (Dutch)– A collaboration between Wikimedia Netherlands and the Sectorinstituut Openbare Bibliotheken — a library association.
  • BiblioWikiAsturias (Spanish) – a project in Asturias Spain, which follows much the same model as the Catalan Library Network.
  • #1lib1ref – Campaign that engaged Global Libraries, to add “one more reference to Wikipedia”. The concept also uses
  • METRO Library Consortium WIR – a project with the Metropolitan New York Library Council.

Other documentation

Text originally published here

drets digitals

El 10 de desembre de 2017, amb motiu de l’inici de les celebracions del 70è aniversari de la signatura de la Declaració Universal dels Drets Humans, vam presentar el projecte drets digitals.

Els drets humans es defineixen com aquelles llibertats, facultats, institucions o reivindicacions bàsiques que corresponen a tota persona pel simple fet de la seva condició humana, per tal de garantir-li una vida digna. Considerem drets digitals l’extensió dels drets humans a l’entorn digital, com ara el dret a la privacitat, el dret a l’accés a la informació i el dret a la llibertat d’expressió, entre molts d’altres. Com diu l’ONU, els mateixos drets que els ciutadans tenim en el món físic han de ser protegits també a la xarxa.

L’ecosistema actual d’Internet, on impera un capitalisme basat en la vigilància massiva, no és compatible amb l’exercici d’aquests drets. Unes poques corporacions controlen què fem i amb qui ens comuniquem a la xarxa, fomentant el feudalisme digital, amb l’objectiu d’obtenir el màxim d’informació dels seus usuaris per vendre-la a anunciants i governs.

En aquest context, cal que defensem una xarxa oberta, lliure i descentralitzada, on es respectin els nostres drets digitals i les nostres llibertats civils. Pensem que el primer pas per a poder lluitar contra qualsevol injustícia, és tenir accés a una informació de qualitat i en la pròpia llengua. Per això, d’acord amb la filosofia del coneixement lliure, des d’aquesta plataforma afegim el nostre gra de sorra traduint al català textos destacats sobre aquesta temàtica que estiguin publicats amb una llicència Creative Commons compatible.


Viquipedista resident al CCCB


La Viquipèdia ha esdevingut la porta d’entrada al coneixement. Escrita de manera desinteressada i col·laborativa per milers de persones en gairebé 300 idiomes, s’ha convertit en un referent de les llibertats en el món d’internet. El CCCB, fundat el 1994, explica i analitza la contemporaneitat, des d’una mirada analítica, experimental i amb rigor. L’objectiu d’aquesta residència és que la Viquipèdia i els seus projectes germans esdevinguin un canal de divulgació per tal que el coneixement que passa i es genera al CCCB arribi al màxim nombre de persones possible, en el seu idioma. Les institucions públiques es deuen a la ciutadania, i aquest projecte és una manera d’amplificar i difondre’n el retorn social.

Té com a propòsit divulgar el coneixement generat al Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) a la Viquipèdia i els seus projectes germans, seguint els criteris de qualitat que aquesta marca. Es tracta d’una contribució coorganitzada per Amical Wikimedia amb el propi centre. Va començar el 2017.