Thursday, August 9, 2012

Case Study No. 0490: Roy Tennant

Interview with OCLC Research Wikipedian in Residence Max Klein.
Senior Program Officer Roy Tennant talks with Max Klein about his plans
to connect researchers with library collections and services using Wikipedia. Directed by Dennis Massie.
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Added: 2 months ago
From: OCLCResearch
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["Interview with OCLC Research Wikipedian-in-Residence Max Klein, From the laboratories of OCLC Research" appears on screen, then cut to Roy Tennant sitting across from Klein]
ROY TENNANT: Hi, my name is Roy Tennant, I'm a senior program officer here at OCLC Research in San Mateo, California. Really happy to be able to introduce Max Klein to you, who is our new Wikipedian in residence. The Wikipedian in residence program, as created by my colleague Merrilee Proffitt, is a three month paid internship where Max can help us connect library collections and services to Wikipedia.
[cut to another shot of Roy and Max]
ROY TENNANT: So Max, why don't you start by giving us a little bit of your background?
MAX KLEIN: Right. Well, lemmee tell you about the personal history of who I am and why I'm here. Um, I started off as an undergrad, and at that point I was teaching a class on piracy at Berkeley, and I was contacted by the Wikimedia Foundation to see if I'd like to participate in the pilot program of the Public Policy initiative. And I didn't really give it too much thought, it was just another email cluttering up, y'know, preventing me from going outside.
[Roy laughs]
MAX KLEIN: Uh, y'know, ten seconds at a time! But then that weekend was Sunday, and I was sort of like in my bed, reading Wikipedia as I normally did, and I thought what ... at that point I became mindful of the fact that I sit in bed on Sunday and read Wikipedia, and perhaps--
ROY TENNANT: That's ... that's sad!
[they both laugh]
MAX KLEIN: It's sad! It's pretty sad, actually, I shouldn't even joke about it, but--
[Roy laughs]
MAX KLEIN: At that point I thought, "Let's take advantage of the sadness of this, and turn it into a positive!"
MAX KLEIN: So then I became really involved in the Public Policy initiative, which has now morphed into the Global Education program that Wikipedia runs ...
[cut to another shot of Roy and Max]
MAX KLEIN: To sort of involve universities into making assignments that involve Wikipedia. Instead of writing term papers, people will write Wikipedia articles, and by which Wikipedia gets higher quality articles, and there is more editorship because of a lot of undergrads find they actually enjoy writing for Wikipedia, and therefore convert it into Wikipedia articles. Uh, so that's the program I came through from.
[cut to another shot of Roy and Max]
MAX KLEIN: I've been looking for more opportunities to aid Wikipedia and its mission, and in other ways to work and connect it, because it's basically a very good ... force, y'know, in the coming open-access movement, and in sort of philanthropy in general.
ROY TENNANT: Great! Well, I think your involvement with the piracy program explains why you're dressed as a pirate on your Wikipedia page.
[Max laughs, as Roy turns to the camera]
ROY TENNANT: Which, by the way, you really need to go look at!
[cut to a screengrab of Max's picture (with a mustache and eyepatch drawn on with magic marker) on the Wikipedia page "File:Piratemax.jpg"]
MAX KLEIN: [in voice over] Cut to shot!
[Roy laughs]
ROY TENNANT: [in voice over] Yeah! Yes, exactly!
[cut back to Roy and Max]
ROY TENNANT: So Max, what are some of the ways in which you think we can work together to connect users who, as we all know, often start at Wikipedia all the way through to the resources that libraries hold, which are often what are cited by Wikipedia articles so they can do deeper research?
MAX KLEIN: Right, I think that your point is exactly right, is that there's a shift, right? The classic lines beforehand have been "Wikipedia is not reliable" and "I can't trust it" ... And more and more now, you're hearing the response that Wikipedia has always given to that, which is "Wikipedia was never meant to be the be-all end-all for resources."
MAX KLEIN: But it's actually maybe not a bad place for you to get a good overview of something. And now I hear more people turning from the skeptical critical view to saying that "Y'know, it has its purpose" ... Um, and that purpose is for starting.
[cut to another shot of Roy and Max]
MAX KLEIN: The real way to finish a research is the way that we've always been doing it, which is sort of at the library. And, y'know, it's sort of a deep couple of coffees and long nights in the stacks. And that is still the right place to enter, and the question is, having the library as being the best place to end it and Wikipedia being the best place to start your research, how can we put those together so that people can have that nice connection and nice streamlined workflow through all those things? And that's the point of the Wikipedian in residence program, with respect to libraries, is to connect people so they can naturally flow through from start to finish in their research.
ROY TENNANT: Exactly so, and you've only been here for ten days, right?
ROY TENNANT: Even fewer, if you don't count the weekend, and we've been filling your head full of library acronyms and knowledge about the data that we hold ... Do you see opportunities there in using some of those data resources in kind of machine-processable ways to integrate library data more deeply within Wikipedia?
MAX KLEIN: Uh, I think that there are a lot of ways to do that. One of the things I think a lot of people would be surprised to find is that Wikipedia, despite its sort of ubiquity, is actually very quite hand-crafted and there's not that much machine ... Uh, a lot of the majority of it, despite maybe a couple of bots that run as well, a lot of it is sort of just done by hand.
MAX KLEIN: Sort of painstakingly, and that's masked by the fact that it's craft-sourced by so many people doing it at once. But having more data in there would certainly be really good, just simply because it's only an encyclopedia and it's not the comprehensive source, it sort of skims off the top in most topics.
[cut to another shot of Roy and Max]
MAX KLEIN: Wikipedia itself is making a move to a more semantic data structure. I think you're going to see that a lot in the up-and-coming projects that it's unveiling, and also some of the efforts have already been made by the volunteers. For instance, infoboxes are a really good way to look at that.
MAX KLEIN: Um, and so a lot of the information that's been coming there has started to become ... you see Wikipedia is structured, and the structure is the skeletal framework that still needs a lot of "meat", in this analogy, or sort of ligaments or whatever we want to consider OCLC as having and WorldCat as having. And those are very good, not necessarily "vacuums", but they're very good opportunities for the bibliographical records that OCLC has sort of emerged and utilized in that sort of context.
ROY TENNANT: Excellent! Well, uh, I hope that we can check in with you as the internship progresses. Is there any final words you'd like to say about what this opportunity, anything that you forsee coming down over the next few months as you do this internship?
MAX KLEIN: Sure ...
[cut to another shot of Roy and Max]
MAX KLEIN: Okay, so I think that, I'm just ... I'm extremely excited because if you look at the Wikimedia Foundation as well as OCLC, you'll see that they align on a lot of, on at least two--
MAX KLEIN: Sort of very important aspects. One is that they're sort of non-profit, and the second is that they have very similar missions in terms of getting information to a broad population.
MAX KLEIN: Sort of education, and sort of access to that education. And so I think that they are very natural suitors for one another in that respect.
MAX KLEIN: And I wanted to leave you with a question!
[cut to another shot of Roy and Max]
MAX KLEIN: How cognizant are libraries of being left behind through the digital revolution, and how much do you think that libraries are staying ahead of the curve, necessarily, in trying to digitalize and modernize their services?
ROY TENNANT: Yeah, well, I think ... Certainly the libraries that we interact with and we serve are very aware of both the challenges and opportunities of digital information, and I think that our role as a service organization to those libraries is really to help lead the way. And that's what we're trying to do, and one of the ways in which we're trying to do that is by bringing you onboard, and really connecting their collections and services more deeply into the web that has become the internet.
MAX KLEIN: Mm-hmm.
ROY TENNANT: And obviously, as Wikipedia being a major entry point into research, it makes a great deal of logic that libraries are better connected into that entry point.
ROY TENNANT: So you're a key part of our strategy here, to help libraries.
MAX KLEIN: Right. I definitely think that's right, in that the library by itself ... Um, the library with partnerships is much stronger than the library by itself.
ROY TENNANT: Exactly, and that's what OCLC is all about!
ROY TENNANT: Thank you very much, Max!
MAX KLEIN: Thank you very much, Roy!

Max Klein and Roy Tennant

Directed by Dennis Massie

Special Thanks to
Merrilee Proffitt and Constance Malpas

An OCLC Research SHORTS Presentation



DUBLIN, Ohio, USA, 22 May 2012 - OCLC Research is pleased to announce that Max Klein has been appointed to this paid, three-month position in our San Mateo, California office until the end of August 2012.

A Wikipedian in Residence, as defined by Wikipedia, is a "Wikipedia editor [who] accepts a placement with an institution to facilitate Wikipedia entries related to that institution." These positions are associated with Wikipedia's GLAM WikiProject (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) initiative, which focuses on improving Wikipedia's coverage of topics related to the cultural sector.

As our Wikipedian in Residence, Max Klein will work with OCLC Research as community coordinator to explore and pursue mutually beneficial projects between OCLC, library stakeholders, and the Wikipedia community through a range of activities, including working with OCLC staff and libraries to help foster a broader understanding of Wikipedia's practices. He will initially focus on two goals: working with OCLC staff and libraries to help foster a broader understanding of Wikipedia's practices, and launching an inquiry into what technological integration is possible both technically and politically.

Max has a BA in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley. While a student, he lead and facilitated a student-run course on the Politics of Piracy which incorporated editing on Wikipedia. He also served, recruited and lectured as a Regional Ambassador as part of Wikipedia's Education Program.



Roy Tennant works on projects related to improving the technological infrastructure of libraries, museums, and archives. Specific areas in which he is active are OCLC Web Services, the OCLC Developer Network, and Technical Advances for Innovation in Cultural Heritage Institutions (TAI-CHI).

Prior to joining OCLC in May 2007, Roy worked for the University of California for over 20 years, first at UC Berkeley, then the California Digital Library. His experience included managing the process for UC Berkeley libraries to automate circulation, establishing the first Digital Library SunSITE, and launching the eScholarship Repository and eScholarship Editions for the California Digital Library.

Roy is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month for nearly 20 years.

Roy has written five books on technology in libraries, wrote a column for Library Journal for ten years, and has numerous articles in other professional journals and magazines.

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