The National Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, is a big fan of Wikipedia. And as he recently wrote on the National Archives blog, “With 42 percent of the American public relying on Wikipedia, it makes sense for the records and resources of the National Archives to be present in this space.” That enthusiasm has translated into support for the local D.C. Wikipedia group — the National Archives hosted their fabulous WikiX conference in January, where Ferriero spoke — and now, the Archives has announced that they are seeking a “Wikipedian-in-Residence”:
The National Archives seeks applicants for a Wikipedian in Residence for Summer 2011. The Wikipedian in Residence is a student intern role. The Wikipedian in Residence will work as a community coordinator and strengthen the relationship between the Archives and the Wikipedian community through a range of activities.
Find out more and apply here.
I am beyond thrilled that this partnership is occurring. The National Archives deserves much praise for being a progressive leader among archives and libraries and for being willing to experiment and work with our volunteer community. And the Wikimedia D.C. group deserves a shout-out for making this happen!
The Wikipedian-in-Residence model was pioneered by Liam Wyatt at the British Museum, and this and other initiatives are just some of several projects with cultural organizations (or GLAMs: Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) and Wikimedia in recent months. A similar exciting partnership was also just recently announced between Wikimédia France and the Palace of Versailles, who are sponsoring a French Wikipedian to be the Wikipedian-in-Residence at Versailles.
I certainly hope that many more cultural institutations will follow in the footsteps of these innovative organizations. There is much still to be done in thinking about how best to combine the deep knowledge and resources of traditional libraries and museums with the dramatic reach and size of Wikimedia projects in making knowledge freely available online for all.
More information on projects like this can be found on our outreach wiki, including resources for developing a new project; while specific advice for cultural institutions wanting to work with Wikipedia can be found here.