TAO/Wikimedia Seniors Outreach

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This page contains an overview of approaches pursued by various organizations and individuals to gain seniors as contributors to Wikipedia and its sister projects.

The list of projects may not be complete - if you are aware of any other approaches, please add them or leave a note on the talk page.

Courses and workshops to gain seniors as contributors[edit | edit source]

Silberwissen, Worms

Several chapters and individual Wikipedians have developed courses or workshops targeted at older adults in order to encourage them to become active contributors to Wikipedia.

Wikimedia Germany: Project Silberwissen[edit | edit source]

  • Offline lectures and courses (workshops) of various formats at various locations
  • 2011: Collaborations with 4 Universities of Third Age (Volkshochschulen / Seniorenuniversitäten), 3 thematic groups, and 1 senior group; Goal for 2012: Activities at 20 locations.
  • 2011: 20 presentations/workshops with 125 participants; Goal for 2012: 40 presentations/workshops with 240 participants
  • 2011: 14 presenters/instructors from within the Wikimedia/Wikipedia community; Goal for 2012: 30 presenters/instructors
  • 2011: 1 train-the-trainers workshop, online forum for instructors; Goal for 2012: Development of the train-the-trainers programme
  • Result 2011: Only few participating seniors became active contributors; Goal for 2012: Conversion rate of 5%
  • 2012: Internalization and Presentation of Silver Knowledge, e.g. at Wikimania (washington) and WikiCon (Dornbirn)
  • 2012: Information website developed within the Wikipedia: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Silberwissen
  • Result 2012: Multiplication successfull, sustainable conversion rate not measurable
  • 2013: Continuation of PR and community activities
  • Results of the project:

The open budget of time seniors have allows them to do volunteers work in general more often than it is possible for employees. Nevertheless both the educational institutions and the participants pointed out that “Silverknowledge” addresses people who are already active in any kind of volunteering or social activity. Wikipedia usually is added as another activity. As stated above, the focus on winning seniors as authors in future should be set on the target group of seniors who just retired and are looking for new challenges. A task for the future will be to develop and test a determined address.

Over the years of the programmes running, the name “Silverknowledge” mostly addressed the older among the seniors. People between 50 an 65 years old did rather not feel spoken to. In future it is necessary to use a name which not certainly addresses demographic criteria of target groups like seniors. The name should put the activity of being an author in the centre; the volunteering engagement of sharing knowledge should come to the fore. The new name “Sharing knowledge”/ “Wissen teilen” meets these demands. It provides room for different initiatives and does not exclude certain groups or individuals.

Further information: Silver Knowledge

Contact person: Department of Education and Knowledge: bildung@wikimedia.de

Amical Viquipèdia Association, Catalunya: Talks and workshops at elderly centers[edit | edit source]


  • 2011: 19 talks were held at 19 different locations throughout Catalonia, mostly at neighborhood elderly centers (ca. 200 participants)
  • 7 volunteer editors participated
  • Positive experience for both participants and volunteers
  • For 2012, follow-up events are planned in some of the centers. Focus: easy ways of contributing. Extension to further centers.

For further information see:

Contact person: Kippelboy

Wikimedia CH: Wikipedia introductory courses to gain new contributors[edit | edit source]

(pilot phase)

  • Offline courses and workshops for seniors
  • A first series of courses was carried out in fall 2011 at the University of Third Age in Lausanne - with mixed success

Poland: Wikimedia courses to gain older people as contributors[edit | edit source]

(pilot phase)

Wikipedia Workshop
OpenStreetMap mapping

A series of Wikiworkshops for people aged 50+ were undertaken in Łódź, Poland in January-April 2012. It was organized together with local cultural center's senior club "OKG". Around 20 people who had basic, paid, computer course before, participated in the free Wikipedia workshops. They listened to the lectures and editing presentation with great interest, but found editing very hard. Among others - they had no idea about what to write. There were only two exceptions - a former policemen who started editing articles about Polish legal system, and the member of local heritage association who started to upload some pictures and expanding articles about local monuments. Except Wikipedia - also other Wikimedia projects were presented - especially Commons and Wikisource. A former teacher found interesting Wikisource and started proof-reading/writing text in Polish Wikisource. In order to activate the rest of the people a mapping party - together with people from OpenStreetMap Poland was organized. It produced a lot of fun for participants, but editing OpenStreetMap was found by them even harder than editing Wikipedia.


Norway & Sweden: Introductory seminars and courses[edit | edit source]

Using Wiki Loves Monuments (WLM) to reach out to older adults[edit | edit source]

Several chapters have used the Wiki Loves Monuments Photo Contest to Reach out to Seniors. For an overview of activities carried out in relation to the 2011 contest, please refer to the Summary Report

Wikimedia CH[edit | edit source]

  • Official partnership with a online community for seniors (www.seniorweb.ch): communication to its members via newsletter, article in online magazine, official blog for the contest, official "liaison" person within the seniors community to ask questions to the WLM project manager, contributions in the photographers' forum of the seniors online community

Report on WLM-related seniors outreach in Switzerland in 2011

Wikimedia Germany[edit | edit source]

  • WLM-workshop with several of the Silberwissen groups all over Germany

Contact person: Elvira Schmidt, Wikimedia Germany (elvira.schmidt@wikimedia.de)

Wikimedia Netherlands[edit | edit source]

  • Partnership with an online community for seniors (www.seniorweb.nl): usability testing of the upload forms, communication to its member base via newsletter (ca. 140'000 subscribers), organization of its own photo safari, mobilization of members for photo safaris organized by Wikimedia NL

Associating seniors to the writing of WP articles without asking them to become active on the platform[edit | edit source]

Yger (Sweden): Contacting Local Heritage Associations[edit | edit source]

  • Objective: Write an article about each of the 2500-3000 local parishes in Sweden
  • There are around 2000 local heritage associations for these parishes, mainly made up of old persons (70+, 80+)
  • Very uneven IT-knowledge, many don't know how to handle e-mail correctly
  • Approach chosen: consult each local heritage association about the article about their parish (with mixed results, only 15% responses, some valuable, but often not)
  • New approach: Get GLAM institutions actively involved in providing info to Wikipedia (good progress); tell old heritage associations they are part of the GLAM sector and that they should follow suit (they have high esteem of museums etc, but low esteem of IT ”brats”)

Strategic partnerships with senior organizations[edit | edit source]

Examples fpr successful partnerships:

  • Wikimedia CH: Partnership with seniorweb.ch
  • Wikimedia NL: Partnership with seniorweb.nl