Wikipedian in residence
A Wikipedian in residence or Wikimedian in residence (WiR) is a Wikipedia editor, a Wikipedian (or Wikimedian), who accepts a placement with an institution, typically an art gallery, library, archive or museum (GLAM), or institute of higher education (such as a university) to facilitate Wikipedia entries related to that institution's mission, encourage and assist it to release material under open licences, and to develop the relationship between the institution and the Wikimedia community. A Wikipedian in residence generally helps to coordinate Wikipedia-related outreach events between the GLAM and the general public.
Institutions that have hosted a Wikipedian in residence include large institutions like the British Museum, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the British Library, the National Library of Norway, and the Federal Archives of Switzerland and smaller venues like the Derby Museum and Art Gallery and The New Art Gallery Walsall in the UK; the Palace of Versailles in France; the Museu Picasso in Spain; and in the US, the Smithsonian Institution, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, and the National Archives and Records Administration.
In 2010, Australian Liam Wyatt became the first Wikipedian in residence when he volunteered at the British Museum for a period of five weeks. He noted the need for Wikipedia to strengthen partnerships with museums to create the most up-to-date and accurate information, saying "we are doing the same thing for the same reason, for the same people, in the same medium. Let's do it together." The Children's Museum of Indianapolis became involved with the program after Wikipedian Lori Phillips volunteered for a GLAM event in 2010, becoming the second Wikipedian in residence. The third, Benoît Evellin, spent six months at the Palace of Versailles. The Museu Picasso in Barcelona, Spain, and the Derby Museum and Art Gallery in the United Kingdom were also early adopters of the idea.
In 2010, the Smithsonian Institution expressed interest in the idea, which led to the hiring of Sarah Stierch in July as Wikipedian in Residence. The following year, the National Archives and Records Administration followed suit and hired Dominic McDevitt-Parks, a student from Simmons College, who was pursuing a master's degree in history and archives management, to work at its Archives II location. McDevitt-Parks had been editing Wikipedia since 2004 and was hired for this position by David Ferriero.
In July 2011 Wikimedia UK engaged Andy Mabbett, an editor since 2003, as an "Outreach Ambassador" in-residence at the Bristol-based wildlife charity Wildscreen, working on the ARKive project. Since then Mabbett has been a Wikipedian in residence at other organisations such as the New Art Gallery Walsall.
In January 2013, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library became the first Presidential library to hire a Wikipedian in residence, when they hired Michael Barera, a master's student at the University of Michigan.
In September 2013, the National Archives and Records Administration became the first organisation to employ a permanent full-time Wikipedian in residence when it hired Dominic McDevitt-Parks to join its Office of Innovation in that capacity.
In October 2014, the University of Victoria Libraries announced that in collaboration with The Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL) and the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences that had been named Honorary Resident Wikipedian-in-Residence for the 2014/2015 academic year.
By 2016, there had been more than 100 Wikipedians in the role, most of whom paid by either the institution where they work or a Wikimedia-related organization.
Role and duties
The primary role of the Wikipedian-in-Residence is to serve as a liaison between the host institution and the Wikimedia community by assisting with events and training that support the missions of both organisations. Typical duties include arranging and/or leading training events and editathons; providing explanations to other staff and members of the public about policies and practice, such as policies about conflict-of-interest; as well as making contributions to articles relevant to the institution's materials and mission, such as articles about significant cultural objects in an organisation's collection.
While Wikipedia discourages direct paid compensation for article editing and prohibits undisclosed advocacy, Wikipedians in residence are permitted to be compensated for work on-wiki, either by offering credit, stipend or salary, through their sponsoring institutions provided that they adhere to strict guidelines against engaging in public relations or marketing for their institution.
One such advertised post has been reported positively by others as being a "unique opportunity to help enrich Wikipedia and its sister projects and share with the world the resources and knowledge." Conversely, another advertised post was less favourably received by Andrew Orlowski who described it as "throwing taxpayers' money away on fashionable gimmicks", and proposing a stereotypical perceived person specification including having a "desire to argue the toss online for 23 hours a day." A short-term full-time position advertised at the National Library of Scotland was noted as being "the first large-scale partnership" between a Scottish institution and Wikimedia UK. This initiative was quickly followed by University of Edinburgh where a Wikimedian in residence was appointed in December 2015.
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- GLAM Museu Picasso Project page
- GLAM Derby Project page
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