Expanding Access to Information about Libraries and Librarians in Nigeria: WikiLovesLibraries Nigeria in Action

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Wiki Loves Libraries Nigeria was an initiative led by Bukola James (WNUG) to bridge the knowledge gap on Wikipedia, Wikidata, and WikiCommons about Libraries and notable Librarians in Nigeria. This campaign which started in December 2022 was the first implementation introduced as a result of the content gaps identified in an on-wiki and off-wiki Signal carried out on Libraries and notable Librarians in Nigeria. According to findings, it was discovered that the existing list of Libraries in Nigeria on Wikipedia does not reflect the actual statistics of public, academic, national, and private, research libraries in Nigeria with reference to research conducted in 2019 and the existing nominal list of libraries and Librarians published by the National Library of Nigeria in 2019. Furthermore, it was discovered that most of the existing articles were not properly and adequately categorized, indicating a presence of incomplete categorization of libraries, library associations, Nigerian librarians, and Librarianship professors. Moreso, out of the 170 academic libraries identified on Wikipedia only a few have an article on Wikipedia. This is no different from the available list of notable librarians in Nigeria. In a query carried out on Wikidata query builder for notable Librarians in Nigeria, the result indicated only 124 and 478 libraries with a lot of missing statements that were supposed to assist researchers and readers in retrieving open structured data. Hence the project was to help create, correct and update;

  • the incomplete categorization of the different types of Libraries, Library associations, Librarians, and Librarianship professors in Nigeria;
  • articles about the different types of Libraries (National, Public, Academic, Research, Private, and School), Library associations, and professors of Librarianship in Nigeria; and 
  • the existing Wikidata items about libraries, Library associations, and librarians in Nigeria.
Group Photo taken at the end of the final physical training of WikiLovesLibrariesNigeria at the National Library of Nigeria Kwara State Branch

Strategies or approaches that were effective in achieving the goals 

  • We effectively achieved our goal by implementing several strategies. One of these strategies involved engaging Librarians who were knowledgeable about the content gaps. We shared off-wiki signals, such as research outputs, and on-wiki signals to help them understand these content gaps. We also provided one-on-one support to help the participants learn the do’s and don’ts of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. This approach helped clear any misconceptions they had about Wikipedia and increased their understanding of how they could contribute to improving content.
  • Another successful strategy we used was sharing video recordings via Google Drive. These recordings showed Librarians how they could contribute to the campaign and suggested articles they could work on.
  • Overall, collaborating and partnering with Librarians across different institutions brought in a group of willing participants who were able to create high-quality content on Wikipedia and Wikidata.

Our Learning priorities. 

  • The participants had an intermediate perception of Wikipedia, as more than 75% of them were familiar with the platform and could perform minor edits, such as adding citations through the 1lib1ref campaign. However, they lacked the skills to create Infoboxes, expand articles, or create articles from scratch. Therefore, the training was designed to expose participants to other ways of improving content on Wikipedia, such as uploading media files on WikiCommons and editing on Wikidata.
  • The success of the campaign was measured by the number of articles listed and the direct link to participants’ special contributions through the Outreach dashboard. Based on the recorded edits, it was clear that the campaign met its expectations. The topic was relevant to the participants, and they were eager to contribute their knowledge to Wikipedia and its sister projects.
  • I learned that providing instant feedback and one-on-one support to participants improves community engagement, prioritizes skills development, and increases their editing contributions. This sustained their presence on various Wikimedia projects.
  • To effectively address content gaps in Wikipedia and its sister projects, it is essential to identify the gaps in available information resources and to recruit participants with the necessary skills to bridge these gaps.

Targets and Outcomes

Core metricsDescriptionTargetResultsCommentsMethodology
Number of participantsTo recruit 30 Participants who are Chartered practising librarians and Students of Library and Information Science in Nigeria and 4 project team members.3469We recruited 61 Participants and worked with 8 project team members. This was as a result of many participants’ interest in the campaign.

The increase in the project team also helped us ensure adequate coordination, and division of Labour to prevent burnout and help build capacity for other volunteers interested in organising campaigns. 
Outreach dashboard, WhatsApp, and google form
Number of editors15 Newly Registered Users (new editors): The number of participants that create new accounts on a Wikimedia project as part of the proposal’s activities, and 15 Returning editors: Editors that are already registered prior to the project activities but participate in editing activities associated with the project.3061The number of participants that created new accounts on a Wikimedia project as part of the proposal’s activities was (7), while most of the participants (54) were returning editors that had already registered before the project activities but participated in editing activities associated with the project.Outreach dashboard
Number of organizers1 Project Lead, 2 Facilitators, and 1 Advisor/Resource person481 Project Lead, 6 Facilitator, and 1 Advisor/Resource person. This was to help ensure that participants had access to one-on-one support during the campaign. Individuals’ interest in the campaign and the project’s impact topic.
Our Targets and Outcomes

Ramatu A. Haliru (Mrs): It has been a great ride with the leaders and participants of WikiLovesLibrariesNigeria, 2022. It gives me the opportunity to show my technological skills by contributing to the free knowledge of Wikimedia projects like Wikipedia, wikidata, and wikicommons. I am happy and glad to be the winner of this project with 345 points. WikilovelibrariesNigeria awakened the hidden part of me to maintain productivity, creativity and effectiveness despite being a nursing mother. Finally, I really appreciated the organizing teams; Bukola James, Blessing, Barakat, Miracle, and Rhoda. Keep up the good work!

Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Perpetua Osuchukwu: I learned so much more than I envisaged and I added so much value that amazed me. I could do all these because I was taught with patience and love. This project polished my knowledge of creating and improving articles. I am really thankful to the organizers.

Akanni Mubarak: WikiLovesLibraries Nigeria has been an amazing project from the beginning; the online and physical sessions proved how much we can contribute to Wikimedia in relation to Nigerian Libraries. I want to applaud the Team for coming up with this amazing idea… It was a marvellous session, and I was able to learn a lot.  

Yusuf Adamu: During the Wiki loves libraries campaign, I learned a lot of new things and fully participated in the programme coming third place. The training helped me enhance my experience, such as how to expand existing articles, add citations, creating new items on wikidata, among other things. My heartfelt gratitude goes to the project leader (Bukola O James) for her tireless efforts towards the program’s success.

Number of new content contributions per Wikimedia project

Wikimedia ProjectDescriptionTargetResultsCommentsMethodology
WikipediaThe total number of citations, Wikilinks, improved, expanded, and/or created articles100164We exceeded our target of adding citations, Wikilinks, improving, expanding, and/or creating 100 articles.Outreach dashboard and article listing on the meta page.
Wikimedia CommonsUploading freely license pictures of libraries and notable librarians on WikiCommons.100325We exceeded our target of uploading 100 freely licensed pictures of libraries and notable librarians on WikiCommons.Outreach dashboard
WikidataCreating and updating items on Wikidata about different types of Libraries and notable Librarians in Nigeria on Wikidata.150129We did not exceed our target of creating and updating 150 items on Wikidata about different types of Libraries and notable Librarians in Nigeria because we discovered that they were many duplicated existing items of libraries and Librarians in Nigeria. So, we had to merge most of the existing items rather than create new items during the campaign.Outreach dashboard
Number of new content contributions per Wikimedia project

Training resources and reports developed during the campaign

  1. Slide presentation for WikiLovesLibraries Nigeria 2022 
  2. Zoom Recordings and Videos resources for WikiLovesLibraries Nigeria 2022. 
  3. Nigeria Report on GLAM-WIKI 
  4. Social media page for WikiLovesLibraries
  5.  WikiLovesLibrariesNigeria Documentation page 
  6.  Program Outreach Dashboard
  7.  Pictures at the physical training.

Challenges and Recommendations

  • Involving other Wikimedians who were unfamiliar with the campaign theme slowed down our progress. We had to engage them in several one-on-one sessions before they became acquainted with the theme and contributed meaningfully.
  • Time constraints were one of the major barriers faced by practising librarians involved in the campaign, as they had limited time to spare for editing and online training due to their work routines. For our next campaign, we plan to build upon these learnings and focus on establishing more partnerships with librarians. We have seen how working with librarians can help us achieve higher impacts and provide guidance to non-librarians when improving content about libraries and librarians.
  • We experienced a larger number of participants than planned, which impacted our budget and metric-tracking activities as some were on multiple campaigns. As a result, we had to track participants’ contributions manually. Additionally, we found that many librarians were interested in the campaign as it was new and different. We also discovered that several articles relating to libraries and librarians in Nigeria had wrong categorizations and were poorly written. Consequently, we had to focus more on improving existing articles than creating new ones.
  • Because most of the participants were involved in other projects, we had to manually go through each participant’s special contribution page to determine if they were participating in the campaign. This took a lot of time to collate results, as the outreach dashboard was also tracking other participants’ activities during the campaign. To improve tracking of specific campaign results, I recommend that the foundation develop specific tools that solely focus on tracking participants’ contributions across different projects for each campaign theme.

Our Team

Bukola James: (Lead): She is a fellow of Wikipedian in African Libraries, the first Certified Trainer and Project Lead for the Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom program in Nigeria. She is also the founder of the Wikimedia Fan Club, at Kwara State University and has led and co-organised several other projects such as 1Lib1Ref Kwara 2022, WikiGLAM Awareness for Librarians in Kwara State, Wikidata for Libraries and notable Librarians in Kwara State, Wikipedia awareness for Library and Information Students in Nigeria, Wikidata for novelists and their novels, and the Lets connect peer learning program in Kwara. She is currently a Special Advisor of the Wikipedia and Education User Group.

Olani Olabimpe: (Advisor and Resource person) Wikibrarian, and Librarian with over 30 years of experience. She is the Director National Library of Nigeria Kwara State Branch and former chairman, of the Nigerian Library Association Kwara State Chapter.

AKibombo (facilitator) She is an experienced Wikimedian and Librarian. A member of the Community User Group Uganda and have engaged in a number of Wikimedia programs since 2016 in various capacities including but not limited to: a database manager for Uganda for Loves Women, a mentor for a series of projects and have ran a number of 1Lib1Ref programs in East Africa and regularly participated in WikiGap.

Ugwulebo : (Facilitator) He is an experienced Wikimedian and co-founder of the Port Harcourt Wikimedia Hub. He led the Wiki for Climate and Environmental Literacy Project in River State. He facilitated the online Wikipedia training session during the campaign.

Barakat Adegboye is a Wikimedian in Nigeria and was one of the facilitators for WikiLovesLibraries, Nigeria. She took the participants on how to improve existing items and also add value to Wikidata items.

Linason Blessing: Is a Wikimedian in Nigeria and was the communication Expert/logistics for WikiLovesLibraries, Nigeria. I was in charge of developing and implementing communication strategies as well as collaborating with cross-functional teams to achieve alignment. I supervised the acquisition and delivery of equipment, supplies, and materials required for the project operations.

Rhoda James is a Wikimedian in Nigeria and was one of the facilitators for WikiLovesLibraries, Nigeria. She took part in training the participants on Wikipedia and Wikidata. 

Mijesty Social Media Campaigner: A Wikipedia volunteer who played the role of a moderator during the online session and the role of a communication expert during the edit-a-thon. Her duty included updating the participants about any information or developments during the period in which the project was carried out in order to meet the objectives of the WikiLovesLibraries project.

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