The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth is to lead on a new educational pilot project, aimed at improving access to Welsh language information on Wikipedia about the history of Wales.
The 12-month pilot project is funded by the Welsh Government and will see the library’s National Wikimedian working with Menter Iaith Môn, WJEC and subject specialists. Together, they will identify the 100 most important events and themes studied for the subject of history in Welsh primary and secondary schools and develop techniques to structure relevant information regarding the topics to publish on the Welsh Wikipedia.
Working with subject specialists, the project team will use existing Wikipedia content and learning resources to develop quality articles and supporting media, suitable for primary school pupils. A series of events will also be rolled-out in secondary schools to engage Key Stage 5 pupils in writing Wikipedia content for younger students.
Wikipedia is widely used by pupils for research, but the quality and coverage of Welsh language content often means that Welsh speaking students are forced to turn to English language content for information. This project is a way of developing a focused and exciting new strategy that will enrich relevant content on the Welsh language Wikipedia.
The library has been supporting the Welsh language version of Wikipedia, which has more than 100,000 articles, since employing a Wikipedian in Residence in 2015. Working with the Welsh Government, the library has operated a number of Wicipedia projects, delivered Wikipedia editing and training events for various groups and institutions and shared its digital content openly for use in Wikipedia articles.
Jason Evans, project manager and National Wikimedian said:
“We are delighted to receive this grant from the Welsh Government. Our young people hold the key to the future of the Welsh language, but we need to ensure there is the infrastructure in place for them to live, play and study through the medium of Welsh.
“This project will allow us to utilise Wikipedia, the most visited Welsh language website, to begin to address the imbalance in the availability and accessibility of relevant educational information, which currently exists between English and Welsh.”
Kirsty Williams, AM, Minister for Education, said:
“Wikipedia is often top of the search results when doing research for schoolwork, so this work will be important in increasing the availability of Welsh-medium articles, alongside our main Hwb platform for schools. I’m pleased to support this project, especially in the context of our new Curriculum for Wales in 2022.”
Pedr ap Llwyd, chief executive and librarian at the National Library, said:
“The library has proactively shared a number of our collections openly for use on Wikipedia, so that our treasures can be accessed, interpreted, presented and enjoyed by all.
“It is of vital importance that the knowledge, history and heritage of Wales are available through the Welsh language on this powerful and popular platform. We are proud therefore to lead on this exciting project, so that the pupils of Wales can easily research and learn about key aspects of their history through their language of choice.”
Nia Wyn Thomas, lead language officer at Menter Iaith Môn, said:
“This is another opportunity for us at Menter Iaith Môn to use the enthusiasm of the children and young people of Anglesey and the expertise of the National Library to pilot new developments with regards to the Welsh language in the digital world.
“It is an opportunity to reinforce the role of wiki in research, as well as reinforce relevant content that is a tool for students studying through the medium of Welsh. Projects, such as Wici-Addysg, will in turn ensure equal opportunities for all young people studying through the medium of Welsh, and it’s great to see the people of Anglesey leading the way!”