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The Clarendon Building, hosting the Bodleian Communications team, where the WIR is based

Dr Martin Poulter is employed by the Bodleian Libraries half-time, from October 2016 to April 2018, funded by the university's IT Innovation Challenges and by the university's Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM), as the Wikimedian In Residence at the University of Oxford. The project is titled "Embedding Innovative use of Wikimedia across the University" and involves working with Wikimedia UK and with staff in the university to foster a step-change in how the university supports Wikimedia-related activity.

This placement follows on from the Wikimedian In Residence at the Bodleian Libraries funded by Wikimedia UK, which ran from April 2015 to March 2016.

A global ranking issued in October 2016 put Oxford as the top university in Europe and 6th in the world. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, announced in September 2017, put Oxford at number 1 in the world.

Advocacy blog posts[edit]

An overview of the work funded by the IT Innovation Fund is given in the blog post "Embedding Innovative use of Wikimedia across the University".

Final report[edit]

  • The final report submitted to the funder, the university's IT Innovation fund.

Research projects[edit]

During the placement I worked with a variety of research projects on activities that would improve their impact.

Project Interest Example outcome Write-up
The Voltaire Foundation raising awareness of Voltaire as a historian Interactive timeline of Voltaire works, including all historical works "If Voltaire had used Wikipedia…"
Cultures of Knowledge visualisations of the Early Modern Letters Online database Interactive map of birthplaces of people in the Early Modern Letters Online database See "Reconciling database identifiers with Wikidata"
Oxford Research Archive (ORA) sharing links to digitised theses and linking them from Wikipedia biographies Created Wikidata Property P4101.
Bulk dump of metadata about 3238 doctoral theses, with links from Wikipedia gradually being added
"A step forward in the sharing of open data about theses"
Electronic Enlightenment a timeline of Enlightenment authors, and encouraging the creation of Wikipedia articles about authors in EE; offering accounts via The Wikipedia Library Created Wikidata property P3429: Electronic Enlightenment ID. 3101 links imported, enabling a range of queries. EE access added to the OUP Scholarship Wikipedia Library arrangement.

3955 more EE entries added to Mix'n'Match

"Reconciling database identifiers with Wikidata"
Transcribing an out-of-copyright biographical dictionary s:A Dictionary of the Booksellers and Printers who Were at Work in England, Scotland and Ireland from 1641 to 1667 "Turning a historical book into a data set"
RitualModes Rescuing a deleted article and getting more lay summaries of concepts into Wikipedia. This is a five-year project that began in late 2016, so deliverables mostly outside scope of current funding. Wikipedia articles on Identity fusion and Modes of religiosity "Deletion is not the end: making an academic article stick on Wikipedia"
The Hillforts Atlas Project importing hillfort-related material into Wikidata and English Wikipedia; uploading site images to Wikimedia Commons Created Wikidata Property P4102.

Project page for making use of imported data to improve Wikipedia. Wikidata queries

"Creating Wikipedia articles from research data"
Vestiges: Traces of Record journal Journal-to-Wiki publishing of biographies of Africans New articles on Cameroon Press Photo Archive, Jacques Toussele

Biographical notes coming June onwards

"Extending the reach of a journal with Journal-to-Wiki publishing"
Women In German Studies Training academics and postgraduates in contributing to Wikipedia and contributing translations to Wikisource Training workshop
Beazley Archive Pottery Database Sharing selected fields from the database on Wikidata
Other projects contacted
Other projects of interest


I also took opportunities to deliver customised training workshops or presentations for specific audiences.

Past events[edit]

  • 7 July 2017: Wikipedia training for Oxford Food Symposium, St. Catherine's College, Oxford
  • 6 July: Masterclass on "Wikipedia's sister projects as platforms for Digital Humanities" at Oxford Digital Humanities Summer School
  • 22 June: Women in German Studies editathon as part of Women in German Studies Open Conference, St. Edmund Hall, Oxford
  • 31 May: Two-hour Workshop for staff in IT Services
  • 25 May: Lightning talk at meeting of GLAM Digital Strategy Implementation Board
  • 24 May: Lunchtime talk for staff in Department of Psychiatry: "Free knowledge for everyone about mental health"
  • 24 May: Presentation for medical librarians at the Cairns Library, John Radcliffe Hospital
  • 18 May: "Working with the Open Culture movement": workshop for library staff
  • 8 May: Presentation at meeting of the Negotiated Texts Network
  • 4 May: Presentation on "Integrating the CDLI wiki and Wikipedia: Wikimedia tools" to the AssyrOnline workshop
  • 5-6 April: Three sessions at OER17: The Politics of Open:
    • "Putting Wikipedia and Open Practice into the mainstream in a University" presentation
    • "Citation Needed: Digital Provenance in the era of Post-Truth Politics" presentation jointly with Ewan McAndrew
    • "Gamifying Wikimedia – Learning through Play" workshop jointly with Ewan McAndrew
  • 22 March: "New developments in Wikimedia": short presentation to Bodleian Digital Library Systems and Services departmental meeting
  • 8 March: Short presentation to the Digital Humanities Working Group
  • 3 March: Improving Wikipedia in your subject area (2.5 hour workshop)
    • Abstract: Wikipedia has become the most-consulted informational web site, and is the top web hit for a vast number of academic topics. This session will include an introduction to Wikipedia editing, including how to add citations and links from Wikipedia to your own research outputs. In particular we will look at how to make changes that are kept and built upon by Wikipedians, and how to interact constructively with other users. We will also look at shortcuts to improving Wikipedia, including by repurposing existing text and images. This is a hands-on workshop in which you will actually get to improve Wikipedia. No prior knowledge of wikis is necessary.
  • 28 February: Wikipedia and Wikimedia for Public Engagement (lunchtime workshop)
    • This event was cancelled but written up as a blog post/ worksheet.
    • Abstract: How does Wikipedia, for no money, document a city, a category (such as “Grade II listed building”) or a concept (such as “religious practice”)? It uses online tools to identify actions and divide them between volunteers. We will explore this process, using photographs of Oxford as an example.
  • 21 February: Wikidata for visualising and publicising research (2.5 hour workshop)
    • This event was cancelled but written up as a group of worksheets.
    • Abstract: Wikidata is the latest project from the people who brought you Wikipedia, and already holds billions of statements across every imaginable subject. These data are free for use by anyone, resulting in interactive maps, timelines and other tools to make engaging educational resources. Contributing research data to Wikidata is a low-cost way to get incoming links from sites such as Wikipedia, and to enable new kinds of query and interactive visualisation. This opportunity is already being taken by research projects in the university. This workshop assumes no prior knowledge about wikis, though some familiarity with databases and authority files will be helpful.
  • 26 January: Short presentation for communications and public engagement staff in Medicine
  • 27 January: A train-the-trainers event for IT Services staff
  • 18 & 19 January 2017: Two lunchtime drop-in sessions for library staff on 1Lib1Ref. Six attendees, plus one staff member who tweeted that she had added a reference.
  • 4 November 2016: "Embedding Wikipedia and Open Knowledge in Oxford University" for the Technology Enhanced Learning group. Eight attendees
  • 26 October: "A New Look at Wikimedia, the World’s Largest OER" 1-hour webinar hosted by the Open Education Special Interest Group (OESIG) of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) (webinar recording) (Storify of Twitter reactions)
  • 15 October "A Look Under the Bonnet of Wikipedia", session at Young Scientists Journal Conference. Six attendees (three teachers/ lecturers; three students)


Monthly reporting[edit]

Duration of residency: 24 October 2016 to 23 October 2017

1st Month Report
Period Covered Date of Report Link
24 October-30 November 2016 15 December 2016 Read the full report
2nd Month Report
Period Covered Date of Report Link
1 December-31 December 2016 5 January 2017 Read the full report
3rd Month Report
Period Covered Date of Report Link
1 January-31 January 2017 9 February 2017 Read the full report
4th Month Report
Period Covered Date of Report Link
1 February-28 February 2017 7 March 2017 Read the full report
5th Month Report
Period Covered Date of Report Link
1 March-31 March 2017 11 April 2017 Read the full report
6th Month Report
Period Covered Date of Report Link
1 April-5 May 2017 8 May 2017 Read the full report
7th Month Report
Period Covered Date of Report Link
6 May-31 May 2017 6 June 2017 Read the full report
8th Month Report
Period Covered Date of Report Link
1 June-30 June 2017 18 July 2017 Read the full report
9th Month Report
Period Covered Date of Report Link
1 July-31 July 2017 1 August 2017 Read the full report