Ed Rodley, Associate Director of Integrated Media at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, talks about GLAM engagement with Wikipedia.
Tell us a little about your experience with Wikipedia. When did you first get started editing? Has your education related to your Wikipedia interests?
I've been a user of Wikipedia since it first arrived on the scene. I only really took the plunge to get involved with the project last March when I went to the first US OpenGLAM workshop at U.C. Berkeley. That event, coupled with my starting my current position at the Peabody Essex Museum, was what started me down my current road as a GLAM ambassador. As a GLAM professional representing an institution with a huge repository of assets and an ambition to inform a global audience, working with Wikipedia to deliver on both organizations' missions is what I'm all about these days.
What topics do you most edit as a Wikipedian?
My ambition is to dip into historical and local history subjects when time allows since my background is in Historical archaeology. At the moment, I'm working on a biographical article on a World War II war correspondent and author named Virginia Cowles.
The Peabody Essex Museum
What is the Peabody Essex Museum's engagement with Wikipedia? How did the Project get started and who are the main participants within the institution?
PEM possesses rich collections from around the world and a desire to connect those collections to anybody on Earth who wants to find out about them. Working with Wikipedia is a logical part of the museum's larger engagement strategy, where we will continue to seek out partners who can help us spread knowledge. Getting a Wikipedia collaboration going was one of my primary goals after attending the US OpenGLAM workshop. It's taken awhile to get going, but I'm confident it will be the first of a series of collaborations that is ongoing.
The main participants for this first edit-a-thon are many, but I'd call out three; my intern Cathy Sigmond, who's been instrumental in gathering resources, sitting down with curators and staff, planning and looking after all the zillion details that make up a successful effort. The other two would be our curators of Native American art, Karen Kramer, and our Curator Chinese and East Asian art, Daisy Wang. Their expertise and enthusiasm for the project have been crucial.
What are your goals as a Wikipedia editor at the Peabody Essex Museum?
One of things I'm most excited about is pushing the boundaries of what's acceptable practice for GLAM professionals who are Wikipedians as well. When I first started at PEM, one of the first things that was brought to my attention was how minimal PEM's article was. I couldn't touch it, given the Conflict of Interest issue, but finding other areas of Wikipedia that could be enriched with PEM resources has been one of my primary goals. I also see museum staff as natural candidates for new Wikipedians, and am hopeful we'll get a good turnout at our first edit-a-thon.