Wikipedian in residence

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The relationship between a Wikipedian in residence and the community. The diagram represents the stakeholders and what each stakeholder provides and receives in a typical Wikipedian in Residence project.

Wikipedian in residence is a role in which a Wikipedia editor, a Wikipedian, accepts a placement with an institution, typically an art gallery, library, archive or museum (GLAM), to facilitate Wikipedia entries related to that institution, encourage and assist it to release material under open licences, and to develop the relationship between the institution and the Wikipedia community. A Wikipedian in residence generally helps to coordinate GLAM events between the museums and the general public.

Institutions that have hosted a Wikipedian in residence include large institutions like the British Museum and British Library 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, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the Federal Archives of Switzerland.


The first Wikipedian in residence, Liam Wyatt, volunteered at the British Museum for a period of five weeks in 2010.[1] He noted the need for Wikipedia to strengthen partnerships with museums to create the most up-to-date and accurate information,[2] 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,[2] becoming the second Wikipedian in residence. The third, Benoît Evellin, spent six months at the Palace of Versailles.[3] The Museu Picasso in Barcelona, Spain, and the Derby Museum and Art Gallery in the United Kingdom were also early adopters of the idea.[4][5] In 2010, the Smithsonian Institution expressed interest in hiring a Wikipedian in residence, which eventually led to the hiring of Sarah Stierch.[6][7][8] The following year, the National Archives and Records Administration followed suit and hired Dominic McDevitt-Parks, a student from Simmons College, to work at its Archives II location.[9] He was hired for this position by David Ferriero.[10] McDevitt-Parks was pursuing a master's degree in history and archives management.[11] Born in San Francisco, California[12] and having attended high school in Phoenix, Arizona,[13] McDevitt-Parks was 24 at the time he was hired as Wikipedian in Residence.[9] He had been editing Wikipedia since 2004.[9] 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.[14] 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.[15] In March 2014, Harvard University posted a job listing seeking applicants to be their Wikipedian in residence at their Houghton Library.[16] As of March 19, 2014, there were 10 Wikipedians in residence, most of whom are paid by either the institution where they work or a Wikipedia organization.[17]


Typical duties of such posts include outreach to other staff and members of the public, as well as making contributions to articles.[18] Such outreach work may include the arranging of training events.[19][20]


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."[18] Conversely, another advertised post was less favourably received 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."[19] 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.[20]


  1. ^ Cohen, Noam (5 June 2010). "Venerable British Museum Enlists in the Wikipedia Revolution". New York Times. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Museum Hires First Wikipedian-in-Residence". Indianapolis, Indiana: 19 August 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  3. ^ GLAM Château de Versailles Project page
  4. ^ GLAM Museu Picasso Project page
  5. ^ GLAM Derby Project page
  6. ^ Cohen, Noam (12 July 2010). "Success may be Wikipedia’s biggest challenge". Gdansk, Poland: Boston Globe. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Switzer, Cody (28 July 2011). "Wikipedian-in-residence helps share Smithsonian archives". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Shen, Aviva (2012-04-04). "How many women does it take to change Wikipedia?". Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c Lisa Rein (June 2, 2011). "National Archives hires first 'Wikipedian'". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 26, 2013. 
  10. ^ "National Archives appoints a 'Wikipedian'". Tampa Bay Times. June 3, 2011. Retrieved April 26, 2013. 
  11. ^ Julie Baughman (July 13, 2011). "National Archives hires 'Wikipedian in residence'". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved April 26, 2013. 
  12. ^ Galen Moore (June 6, 2011). "Simmons student named National Archives' 1st "wikipedian in residence"". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved April 27, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Meet Our Wikipedian in Residence: Dominic McDevitt-Parks". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved April 26, 2013. 
  14. ^ Kaczmarczyk, Jeffrey (17 January 2013). "President Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum appoints its first Wikipedian in residence". Grand Rapids, Michigan: Michigan Live LLC. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Breaking New Ground Again". National Archives and Records Administration. September 19, 2013. 
  16. ^ Garber, Megan (12 March 2014). "Harvard's Looking for a 'Wikipedian in Residence'". The Atlantic. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Cohen, Noam (19 March 2014). "Warming Up to the Culture of Wikipedia". New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Woods, Steve (April 18, 2013). "National Library of Scotland seeks Wikipedian in residence". Bristol Wireless. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  19. ^ a b Orlowski, Andrew (February 16, 2012). "British Library seeks taxpayer-funded Wikipedia-fiddler". The Register. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  20. ^ a b "National Library of Scotland recruits 'Wikipedian'". BBC News. April 24, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 

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