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Wiki Tuesday at Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
by Benoit Rochon, January 22, 2014.
Around thirty participants at the Wikipedia workshop Acfas - BAnQ.
Physics student from WikiPhys group of Université de Montréal at the Wikipedia workshop.

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) and Wikimedia Canada are collaborating to offer users of the Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal workshops in Wikipedia's French version. Starting on February, the first Tuesday of each month, experienced Wikipedians appoint all those who want to learn more about Wikipedia and learn how to contribute to the online encyclopedia. See the project page Wikipedia:BAnQ (French).

Each workshop will have a specific theme around which the public will be invited to contribute. BAnQ, which has a large collection of books and documents, ancient and modern, as well as rich archives around these themes, will provide participants the documentation needed to write well documented Wikipedia articles. Participants will find on site experienced contributors, and also librarians and archivists who specialize in the topics covered.

The goal of these workshops is to improve Wikipedia's French content, increase the number of Quebec contributors to profit documentaries and professional resources BAnQ and better represent Quebec, New France, French Canada or more broadly, French America.

The first meeting will focus on the following topics:

  • Towns and villages of Quebec (February 4, 2014)
Wikipedia editors often start with their hometown. Many towns and villages of Quebec are already on Wikipedia, but many of them are very short, for example, "Saint-Pie-de-Guire". However, the smallest village is full of history, known personalities have perhaps emerged, there certainly has statistics on the population to add real estate assets to emphasize, etc.
  • People of New France (March 4, 2014)
To enhance the quality and quantity of information available on Wikipedia on the French regime (1543-1763), the theme "Personality of New France" deserves more attention from editors. Other topics related to that time may also be added to the free encyclopedia.
  • Religion and religious communities in Quebec (April 8, 2014)
Do you know Émilie Tavernier? The large square near the Grande Bibliothèque bears her name. Widow of Jean-Baptiste Gamelin, after only four years of marriage, the Blessed Emilie Gamelin founded the Sisters of Providence in Montreal. If Quebec's history is closely linked to religion, its representation on Wikipedia remains relatively low.
  • Quebec cinema (May 6, 2014)
It's the French Louis Minier and Louis Pupier who introduced cinema in Quebec in 1896 with a projection of the works of Auguste and Louis Lumière. This was the first representation of cinema in Canada. With nearly 85 years of film production, the list of Quebec films is long and requires better coverage and intervention of editors.
  • A short history of crime (June 3, 2014)
Large and small: the crimes are an integral part of any society and Quebec is no exception. Throughout the history of Quebec, there are sordid stories that have indelibly marked the collective memory, either by the nature of the crime, the identity of the victims or by the penalty imposed to the accused. Many Wikipedia articles about crime in Quebec deserve our attention.

These meetings will continue in the fall. Thus, the Grande Bibliothèque will become the monthly meeting point of Montreal Wikipedians. For those who can not attend the workshops on Tuesday, it is possible to join via IRC tele-presence.

Project page Wikipedia:BAnQ is the place where participants can coordinate their efforts and contributions.

Wiki Loves Monuments : And the winner is...
by Benoit Rochon, December 15, 2013.
First Canadian Award

The largest photographic competition in the world took place throughout the month of September. This year, more than 50 countries - including the southernmost continent on the planet Antarctica - participated in the hunting of monumental images! Not only harvested 370,000 pictures in the competition represent the best of the heritage of humanity, but the whole point of the Wiki Loves Monuments lies in the fact that the image bank is freely licensed and fully reusable by all.

The winners of the 2013 edition of the Wiki Loves Monuments in Canada are now known. Again this year a high rate of participation allowed the upload of more than 2,500 photos and historical heritage sites in Canada. Elsewhere in the world, involving more than 50 countries allowed the upload of 370,000 images under free license. All these images are freely reusable by all, under the terms of the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

After a national screening, participants Wiki Loves Monuments countries send the ten most beautiful images selected by the local juries, to access the second round, that is to be judged by members of the international jury. However, the three photographers in Canada who obtained the highest score is the merit of Canadian prizes: $500, $250 and $100 at the online store Camtec photo, official sponsor of Wiki Loves Monuments 2013 in Canada.

For the first time, a Canadian picture is selected to be among the ten best pictures submitted under this competition. The image of a sunset over the former pavillion of the United States, now converted into a museum dedicated to the environment, the biosphere located on the heritage site Île-Sainte-Hélène at Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal, was selected among the 500 best photos submitted to the international jury.

The 2012 edition of the Wiki Loves Monuments is registered in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest photo contest in the world with over 353 000 images uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.[1]

Canadian Copyright Collection from the British Library
by Philip Hatfield, Andrew Gray and Benoit Rochon (translation), July 1st, 2013.
The dancing pavilion at the Boblo Island Amusement Park, Ontario (1914). Financed by Henry Ford, this was the world's second largest dance hall at the time, holding up to 5,000 dancers. The music was provided by one of the world's largest orchestrions (pictured on the right): a 16 foot tall, 14 foot wide, self-playing orchestra with 419 pipes and percussion section.

July 1st is Canada Day, and Wikimedia UK and the British Library are today announcing the release of 2,000 historic photographs of Canada.

Since September 2012, we've been working to digitise a collection of historic Canadian photographs and release them onto Wikimedia Commons and into the public domain. The collection itself was acquired between 1895 and 1924 and consists of photographs supplied to support copyright deposits by Canadian photographers between those years. This came about through an arcane piece of colonial law, known snappily as the Colonial Copyright Law, which sought to extend British copyright protection across the empire, while also ensuring the collection of published material from these same areas. In practice, the law was a failure; only a few territories ratified it and even fewer actually deposited materials. Until 1925, however, Canada did implement the law and the Ministry of Agriculture effectively administrated the collection of copyright deposits. A copy of every item was sent to Ottawa and to London, where it was archived by the British Museum and then neglected for decades.

Materials collected from Canada included printed books, sheet music, maps and, of course, photographs. While the photographs were seen as trivial and undervalued at the time, what can now be perceived through the collection is a broad and human view of Canada at a crucial point in its history; a thirty year period when the Confederation developed politically, economically and socially, while garnering an international reputation. The collection itself provides views on this changing nation, from Vancouver to Halifax, with many unknown camera workers alongside well-known figures such as Frank Micklethwaite or William Notman.

All of this combines to create a strange mix of photographic subjects. Photographs of soldiers leaving for World War I are filed alongside images of cute kittens and men wrestling bears; trains are depicted steaming across the nation while boats continue to ply the water-ways; major cities are shown rapidly growing, while new settlements make their first marks in the dirt; and Eastern European immigrants rub shoulders with the First Nations.

Since today (Monday) marks the 146th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation, it seemed an appropriate time to note the upload of the collection to Wikimedia Commons. There are currently just over 2,000 photographs uploaded, each with a duplicate full-resolution TIFF copy, with more to come in the following weeks. All the images are in the public domain, and are freely available for use and reuse - please, enjoy!

You can see more details on the collection on Wikimedia Commons.

Philip Hatfield (Curator, Canadian Collections, British Library) and Andrew Gray (former Wikipedian in Residence, British Library) Funding for the project was given by Wikimedia UK and by the British Library Eccles Centre for American Studies.

April, National Contribution Month
by Benoit Rochon, Amqui, February 10, 2013.
Contribution Day at ULaval in February, 2012

During the month of April, Wikimedia Canada is preparing the National Contribution Month, and is looking for experienced contributors to organize a contribution day event.

Contribution days are activities where Wikipedia's contributors, students, or anybody interested in contributing to Wikipedia meet together to collectively improve a predetermined theme. These meetings typically take place in a library where references are easy of access, but can be organized in any communal room. Beside improving articles, an objective of these workshops is to initiate new comers to the collaborative community of Wikipedia.

If you are interested in organizing a contribution day, communicate with the national team on the project's talk page.

The most significant change in the history of Wikipedia?
Benoit Rochon, Jeffery Nichols, December 14, 2012.
The new "Visual Editor" interface is now deployed in a public alpha test. With this innovation, the Wikimedia Foundation has made editing less complicated for new contributors to Wikipedia, which it hopes will lead to a big increase the participation rate. The new visual interface allows contributors to edit an article in WYSIWYG mode without advanced knowledge of Mediawiki code or HTML. The British weekly paper The Economist does not hesitate to describe this new feature as "the biggest change in the short history of Wikipedia".[2]

Users can already use the new editing interface in the English-language Wikipedia. Simply log in, go to the preferences page, and then under the "Editing" tab click "Enable VisualEditor". When looking at articles or their user page, users will see a new tab labelled "VisualEditor" that will let them try the new interface.

During this alpha test, it is recommended that users check all changes made with the new interface to ensure that nothing is broken. Changes made ​will be tagged in the article history as being made with the VisualEditor to track edits made with the new interface. Some features are still missing and Wikimedia programmers are working to fix bugs. Editors can give their feedback and report malfunctions at VisualEditor/Feedback.

Source : Try out the alpha version of the VisualEditor, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 December 2012.

Wiki Loves Monuments 2012 in Canada
Benoit Rochon, Jeffery Nichols, December 9, 2012.
Canadian 1st prize: Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours Chapel in Montreal, by Jazmin Million.
International 1st prize: Tomb of Safdarjung in New Delhi, by Pranav Singh.

The 2012 edition of Wiki Loves Monuments was a huge venture, involving hundreds of volunteers around the world and requiring a monster of coordination. The statistics of the project speak for themselves: 33 organizing countries, 15,000 participants, 350,000 free-to-use photos uploaded to Commons.[3] International coordination was provided by Wikimedia Netherlands, who led the 33 teams from each of the participating national Wikimedia chapters.[4]

In Canada

This was Wikimedia Canada's first experience organizing a project of this scale. More than 5,500 photos of monuments and historic places in Canada were uploaded to Commons during the project. Wikipedian volunteers sorted through these pictures to make a shortlist of the one hundred best, with an eye for the ones with the most encyclopedic interest for future use in Wikimedia sister projects. Next, a seven-member jury evaluated the photographs based on a list of criteria including originality, technical quality, composition, and so on. The ten photos that achieved the best scores were sent to the global round for evaluation by an international jury. See the top 10 and top 100 photos from Canada.

The three photographers in Canada who achieved the highest scores will get the Canadian prizes: the first place winner gets a touch tablet, and the two runners up get vouchers of $500 and $250 for the online store Camtec photo, official sponsor of Wiki Loves Monuments 2012 in Canada.


Each of the participating countries sent up to ten of their best photos to the international jury. During November, the jury had to choose between 324 stunning photographs of the world's monuments and historic sites. Four pictures from Canada placed in the top 50 of this international round. The top ten international photos earned prizes such as photography-related vouchers and a trip to Hong Kong connected to the international conference, Wikimania 2013.[5]

Guinness World Record

A few days after the competition, the Guinness Book of Records certified that the 2011 edition of Wiki Loves Monuments as the largest photography competition in the world.[1] The record is based on the number of entries (photos uploaded) and in 2011, Commons received 168,208 photos, beating the record previously held by a Japanese company since 2009.

Thank you to all participants and organizers! See you for the next edition of Wiki Loves Monuments in September 2013.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Largest photography competition, Guinness Book of Records.
  2. Changes at Wikipedia. Seeing things : "(...) it would be no overstatement to call it the most significant change in Wikipedia's short history", The Econimist, 13 December 2012.
  3. Wikimedia Commons article in Wikipedia.
  4. Wikimedia Netherlands official website.
  5. Wikimania 2013 - Hong Kong official website.