One of the most distinctive roles in expanding and scaling the impact of Wikimedia projects is the “Wikimedian in Residence”. These roles act as a connection between an institution and the Wikimedia community, and, through the Wikimedia community, a broader public. Wikimedia communities around the world have developed Wikimedian in Residence positions in a range of institutions: from those with international reputations to those with more limited local mandates. These institutions can include cultural heritage organizations, government institutes and research organizations, universities, and libraries -- among other possibilities. The results of these partnerships can be incredibly powerful: bringing collections, research and knowledge to a global audience, and engaging Wikimedia communities to build context around that knowledge.
Wikimedian in Residence roles have a community building and facilitation function within the Wikimedia movement: they translate the needs between both communities, they build capacity for host organizations to work with Wikimedia projects and other public platforms, and they communicate the particular context of the institution to the Wikimedia community. Through this collaboration, institutions gain a powerful community of volunteers with the same mission as the institution: sharing well researched, topical knowledge with the world. The combination multiplies their impact.
This guide is a series of recommendations for how to define Wikimedian in Residence positions, including a definition of the roles, recommendations on negotiating and establishing the roles, and suggestions on how to manage and find resources for those roles. The recommendations are based on existing documentation of residencies, interviews with affiliates and individuals who have supported the creation of these roles, and managers who have supervised residence positions.
Why a Wikimedian in Residence role?
Wikimedian in Residence positions are strategic positions within knowledge institutions that help the institution:
- Disseminate knowledge and expertise from the institution on the broad knowledge-focused platforms of the Wikimedia movement.
- Provide tactics for institutions to try various Open GLAM policies, open data initiatives, linked data, internationalization, and public engagement strategies -- all of which can align the institution with larger national, regional or international digital strategies, and generate stories and evidence for future funders.
- Projects and tactics on Wikimedia platforms be maintained and enriched indefinitely by the Wikimedia community: so Wikimedia activities by the institution do not require extended maintenance investment by the institution.
- Work with international communities of volunteers to bring content access and engagement to audiences, cultural contexts, and languages that the institution normally would not have access to.
These are just a few of the ways in which institutions gain value from collaboration -- but each institution and context might. Share your experience on the talk page.
Historically, most Wikimedian in Residence positions have been in the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) sector. However, there have been examples in non-GLAM institutions, particularly in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.
The role of a Wikimedian in Residence?
Wikimedian in Residence positions are positions created within an organization to facilitate partnership with Wikimedia communities working on Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and other Wikimedia projects, like Wikidata and WikiSource. Historically these roles have been called “Wikipedian in Residence” positions, because Wikipedia is the better known Wikimedia project. However, most of these positions rely heavily on other Wikimedia projects, which is the reason that “Wikimedian” is a better representation of the work that the resident will do.
These positions tend to have some or all of the following functions within an organization:
- Extending the reach of existing collections (especially media, data, and research) to new audiences via Wikimedia platforms, thus strengthening institutions’ mission to share their knowledge.
- Supporting the development of digital skills and knowledge among volunteers, staff and other collaborators. Typically, a goal is to develop Wikimedia and related skills among staff so that projects and activities can continue after the residency.
- Helping institution staff to develop public communications and events showing the relevance of the institution’s collections within a broader public mission.
- Advocate for opportunities to improve internal workflows and skill development, as part of developing open policies and practices within the institution.
- Facilitating Wikimedia collaborations with a wider community than the partner institutions. Many residences have led to projects that affect additional instituions, whether a residency at an institution that includes a network of heritage institutions (Erfgoed Gelderland in the Netherlands) or specifically to increase impact partnerships among other institutions (see discussion of Wales National Wikimedia), creating a multiplier effect for the program.
Typically, Residencies fulfill these goals, by implementing a number of tactics found elsewhere in the GLAM-Wiki community. Though these tactics have been developed among heritage institutions, they often work at other institutions as well.
Wikipedian in Residence roles are not…
Though there are many different ways to structure and implement Wikimedian in Residence positions, there are a few activities that consensus among organizers in the Wikimedia movement, suggest that Wiki(p/m)edian in Residence roles should not be primarily focused on:
- Creating new content on Wikimedia projects. Typically WIR positions should not be writing content, such as Wikipedia articles, for the institution as their main activity. Instead these roles focus on integrating existing content from partner institutions (i.e. datasets and digitized collections) and facilitating volunteer engagement with institutional materials and topics of interest. The Wikimedia community has created other roles to facilitate content creation. That being said, most Wikimedians in Residence will create some content directly as part of their instructional activities at the institution.
- Communications or marketing. Wikimedia platforms are platforms for sharing knowledge, and should be seen as scholarly communications platforms where the knowledge of the institution is shared, rather than marketing platforms that focus on improving the reputation of the institution. That said, engaging in a project with Wikimedia can have a positive effect on institutional reputation.
Other formats of Wikimedia roles
Though “Wikimedians in Residence” are the best well-known format for creating staff support for Wikimedia projects, sometimes it is better to use one of the other kinds of embedded Wikimedia roles. There are a range of formats in which Wikimedia editors are placed or "embedded" within partner institutions. Before committing yourself to one format, consider asking the following question:
Are you focused more on the Wikimedian creating content, than on building capacity at your organization?
If you are more interested in creating content directly with someone outside of your institution, consider creating one of three different types of roles instead:
- Wikipedia Interns -- students employed using existing student hire programs to add relevant content directly to Wikipedia. Documentation of an English Wikipedia pilot from 2016 can be found at: The Wikipedia Library/Professional Interns
- Wikipedia Visiting Scholars -- established Wikipedia editors, who receive access to the institution’s expertise and research materials, in exchange for writing about topical areas of interest to the institution. These positions occasionally include stipends. Note: it can be hard to recruit “best fit” Wikipedia editors for these roles.
- Wikipedia Fellows -- academics or other knowledge professionals who receive a small stipend and institutional supervision of Wikimedia work, in order to research and write on topics that are challenging for volunteers to write about adequately. For a description of the pilot run by the Wiki Education Foundation, see this blog post and the associated report This is a relatively new model in the Wikimedia ecosystem.
Note: The Wikimedia Foundation has a disclosure policy around paid editing, and different language Wikimedia projects have different policies for disclosure and managing conflict of interest when being compensated for working on Wikimedia content. Be sure to take account of these considerations in the design of these roles.
Can you integrate Wikimedia into your strategy with institutional staff?
GLAMs and other institutions contribute to Wikimedia projects all the time, without hiring a Wikimedian in Residence. If you have staff members with the skill or interest in contributing to Wikimedia projects, or you do not have the resources to create a new position on the staff, consider instituting policies that help make this part of existing work. It might include:
- Giving permission for staff to create content on Wikimedia projects as part of existing workflows, i.e. a library or museum cataloger who has to update Wikidata while working, or professional staff at an institution who share research or collections as links to Wikipedia articles.
- Encouraging public programming staff to run events, such as Editathons and Wiki Loves events, that draw in staff, Wikimedia volunteers, and the general public into thinking about the programs.
- Encouraging technical staff to include Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons or Wikidata into software design, website design or workflows. Wikidata makes integrating Wikimedia content into institutional websites significantly easier, allowing for semi-automated extraction and mapping of content between institutional metadata and Wikimedia content. For a more detailed discussion of this, see this post on Medium.
Some institutions find that implementing formal policies about Wikimedia work, through an internal process, strengthens the ability and liberty staff feel in implementing Wikimedia activities. There are several tactics for doing this:
- Creating a official policy through a working group. The State Library of New South Wales did this: see the published policy on English Wikipedia.
- Using an existing office responsible for scholarly communications, digital media or the like, to create explicit permission for staff (as happened at the National Archives of the United States).
- Creating a Wikimedia “interest group” within the staff, to explore building Wikimedia initiatives. Library and Archives Canada has such a group.
en:Wikipedia:GLAM/State_Library_of_New_South_Wales en:Wikipedia:GLAM/Library_and_Archives_Canada_BAC-LAC Any of these tactics can be paired with designating specific staff liaison roles, for coordinating relationships with Wikimedia communities. These staff can play a role similar to a Wikimedian in Residence (or be designated a “Wikipedian in Residence” for a window of time), but because they are already part of the institutional staff, the instituions does not need to introduce new people into the institution. The downside of this kind of staff designation, is that this Wikimedia work may lose priority because of other job responsibilities.
Steps for creating WIR roles
WIR roles are usually the result of some type of partnership relationship between an institution, and the broader Wikimedia community. This usually involves the following steps:
- Identifying the goals and project ideas for the residency
- Identifying the format and funding of a Wikimedian in Residence
- Securing funding
- Recruiting the resident
- Starting the residency
The following sections are designed to help clarify what is involved with each of these steps. In some cases, these steps have been managed or facilitated by Wikimedia Affiliates, such as the existing national or regional groups.
A consistently challenging part of all institutional Wiki projects is establishing a shared understanding of the goals and outcomes expected. Wikimedian-in-Residence activities have the additional complexity that the Resident will be responsible for implementing the goals.
Some affiliates running Wikimedian in Residence programs, such as from Wikimedia UK, Wikimedia Serbia and Wikimedia Argentina, use paid staff to negotiate the placement of residencies, and in the process relate the expectations of the partner to appropriate outcomes. In the UK, because most residencies are long term, the residents may work with Wikimedia UK staff to renegotiate and modify goals part way through the residency and in response to the changing opportunities and understanding of the institution. The Serbian and Argentinian programs, because the residencies aren’t nearly as long term, don’t typically have this reevaluation period. Some affiliates with little or no full-time staff can also help with some of this.
Institutional preparation for the partnership can greatly modify the original outcomes. For example the Wikipedian in Residence at UNESCO, originally entered the partnership with the explicit goal of uploading content from the institution, but the lack of technical infrastructure at UNESCO for doing so delayed work on that activity in favour or renegotiated focus areas. Similarly, in establishing the Wikipedian in Residence at West Virginia, the goal was to work on Gender Equity issues as a legacy of the work of Adrianne Wadewitz. As the role developed, the resident defined more specific goals for engaging women, and developing content directly relevant to the institution.
General advice when setting the goals:
- Focus on the role of the Resident in facilitating activities and participation in Wikimedia projects.
- Goals and outcomes should focus activities that are firmly in the control of the Resident and the institution: such as batch uploading content to Commons, running Workshops, training participants, etc. Though many programs create other kinds of impact, such as usage and pageviews of content uploaded to Commons, these can be hard to guarantee as outcomes.
- Goals should align with the mission, programs and activities of the institution, and account for the needs of the insitution in demonstrating impact.
What formats do Wikimedian in Residence roles come in?
Wikimedian in Residence roles come in different formats, depending on the needs of the host institution, the availability of funding, the availability and skills of Wikimedians, and other circumstances. These formats have different strengths and weaknesses, and change the goals and work-environment that the Wikimedian enters into, and can be implemented with full-time, part-time or volunteer Residents. The quality and depth of work varies greatly with each format.
Evaluation by established Affiliate programs, and general experience of the Wikimedia community suggests that residencies shorter than 6 months result in limited often ephemeral impact on the institution. Though the first Wikimedian in Residence role was a 5 week residence (see British Museum), most people with experience creating these roles, and the general practice within the Wikimedia communities, suggest that short term residencies of less than 6 months, tend not to be very high impact. Generally, practitioners describe this reduction being due to:
- The need for the institution to be entirely prepared for the resident to come in and work on the agreed upon goals. Most WIR projects require a few weeks of orientation within the staff at the institution before the resident can fully “begin” collaborations, and it may take a long time to plan and execute the collaborations (see next bullet).
- The extended planning cycle for two of the main tactics used by Wikimedians in Residence: educational events, like trainings, workshops and editathons (at least 3 weeks, preferably 5 or more), and batch uploads to Wikimedia Commons or Wikidata (at least 1 month) require substantial periods to plan and implement even with experienced Wikimedians.
- The need for institutional staff to develop a good sense of the opportunities created by Wikimedia -- high impact projects generally need to run several pilot projects and workshops before staff engagement and understanding increases.
That being said, short term residencies can be successfully implemented, when:
- Hiring a established Wikimedian, who doesn’t need to learn the ropes of the community or projects.
- The institution prepares content in advance, i.e. selecting and preparing content for upload, or identifying and clearing for copyright works to be digitized.
- Events are scheduled before the resident joins the staff.
- The staff already has Wikimedia experience, but needs technical help for the project.
- Where expectations or goals are limited, and the focus is on testing Wikimedia activities.
Short term residencies may offer a “foot in the door” for future collaboration, if implemented well.
Medium-to-longer term residencies
Most residencies in the Wikimedia movement have an initial schedule of between 6 months and a year, and many of these have been extended to longer periods of time. This length of residency allows for a number of things:
- It is possible to employ Resident with limited or even no experience on Wikimedia projects. An increasing number of programs deliberately hire people outside the Wikimedia movement but with experience developing public programming, a background in writing and research, and the ability to work within the professional context of an institution (for more guidance, see the “Recruiting” guidance below). Hiring outside the Wikimedia community allows for the institution to select for the expertise and fit of candidates that is most appropriate for their institution. When hiring for positions outside of the Wikimedia community, it is important the residency have an advisory group of supporting Wikimedians to help with hiring, and advise on and guide the implementation of the resident’s work.
- Staff at the institution can become comfortable with Wikimedia projects through initial activities, such as workshops and editathons, and then spend time with the Resident developing new ideas for projects or activities.
- Residents can learn the strengths and weaknesses of content within the institution’s collections, to identify good fit content appropriate for the Wikimedia community.
- Residents can work with staff to develop on-going workflows and strategies that can last beyond the residency, and can work with external volunteers to build a group of interested participants in Wikimedia activities.
Some residencies are created around specific projects. For example, the residences at West Virginia University and OCLC’s Webjunction were constructed specifically around projects that the institution wanted to grow and support. These have the strength of allowing for very targeted goal-setting -- something that can be a challenge for Wikipedians new to these kinds of partnerships or institutions working with Wikimedia for a first time. The residencies sponsored by Neuromat in Brazil are project-based residencies that fulfill the requirements of the funder to focus on communication of science (for example see this Veterinary Anatomy Museum Case Study)).
A growing trend in the Wikimedia movement is Residencies hosted by one institution to support multiple institutions within their network or partnering with host institutions. These positions have been facilitated in a number of different formats:
- directly through a Wikimedia affiliate or aligned Open Knowledge organization (as is the case with Wikimedia Argentina’s digitization resident)
- through regional professional networks (such as the Scottish Library and Information Council or Erfgoed Gelderland in the Netherlands).
- or as part of a main institution’s position as an influential actor in that context (see discussion of the role at the National Library of Wales or the WIR at the Bodleian Library , who supports projects across Oxford University)
Multi-institutional residencies allow for a Wikimedian to work with a number of different institutions on programs and activities, giving each institution time to do the preparations and internal negotiations needed to prepare for Wikimedia projects. Moreover, network partnerships allow for building a community of support around Wikimedia projects: where individual institutions may only have a small number of staff interested in working on Wikimedia activities -- a network is likely to have staff distributed across the institutions willing to do this work, and who can support each other in training. Multi-institutional residencies also advance the reach of the Wikimedia movement. Residencies that focus on a network, also tend to increase collaboration between members of the network -- a net positive for network organizations.
At the same time, a multi-institutional residency may reduce the amount of impact the residency has for each institution that participates: time and energy is split across the competing institutional interests of members of the network. When designing multi-institutional residences, it is important to plan for capacity building and incentives for institutions to implement their own Wikimedia activities, with the mentoring and support of the resident.
Affiliate managed residencies
Some programs within the Wikimedia movement have been managed directly by a Wikimedia affiliate. When Wikimedia affiliates manage the resident rather than staff at the institution, it allows for several things to happen:
- the Wikimedia affiliate can focus on managing the relationship and expectations of the partner institution and the resident can focus on the technical implementation of the project. This allows for less experienced or less-partnership savvy Wikimedians to fulfill the role.
- keeps the projects possible for implementation more limited, because the role is less focused on broad institution-wide capacity, but rather on implementing activities, such as editathons, or digitization programs, and training for specific subsection of the institutional staff.
- reduces the amount of additional management responsibilities that the institution needs to take on. By reducing the amount of overhead and learning at the institution, it might be easier for an institution to say yes to a role.
Examples of this kind of residency include the Wikimedia Argentina’s digitization resident, which focuses on training staff at several institutions, and the Wikipedian in Residency program at Wikimedia Serbia, which includes a series of 1 month residencies at different institutions (see reports in This Month in GLAM: example Serbia report).
How does funding work for Wikimedian in Residence roles?
Many Wikipedians in Residence become residences as early career professionals or as an extension of their existing professional capacities at an institution. When creating new residence roles without a candidate in mind, most Wikimedian in Residence roles are budgeted at an early professional salary for the geography and professional context in which the resident is working. This ranges widely, depending on the professional context. When working with existing professionals in the space, it’s important to acknowledge the experience that these professionals bring to a role, and adjust compensation appropriately.
There are several different types of funding models that have been used by organizations working with Wikimedian in Residence positions:
- Funding the position through existing internal programs or funding. This comes in several varieties:
- Student worker or intern -- many institutions have designated funding programs to support the inclusion of student workers or interns in existing programs. This can be a good option for funding Wikimedians who are already students.
- Service programs -- in a handful of situations, WIR roles have been created as part of existing “year of service” programs in countries like Sweden.
- Fellowships, post-graduate positions or other residencies -- existing programs for funding scholars. Wikimedia work is a form of scholarly communications, that can often be worked under the requirements of these kinds of funding programs.
- Institutional project or strategic funding -- through many partner institutions have not been able to fund residencies directly out of the budget, occasionally the staff champion for a Wikimedian in Residence role will be able to secure existing operational money, to strategically invest in the use of Wikimedia. Wikimedian in Residence positions have high strategic value for institutions: they increase the reputation of the institution to funders; often create very powerful stories about the impact of institutional content; and can help align institutional digital project funding with larger trends or strategies in the digital heritage at national and international levels. For example, Wikimedia Serbia negotiated three 2-month Wikipedian in Residence positions from the National Ministry of Culture: see the report in this month in GLAM.
- External funding from the Wikimedia Community, through the form of a grant or co-funding. This kind of funding is not always available in all parts of the world, and is often dependent on the individual strategies of Wikimedia organizations.
- Typically roles created through Wikimedia funding are at least partially managed by the Wikimedia affiliate, who works with the host organization to set expectations. Some Wikimedia affiliates have designated budgets for these roles through formal programs, such as Wikimedia UK, Wikimedia Argentina or Wikimedia Serbia. Each affiliate in a region has different priorities and access to funding for these programs and manages them differently.
- The Wikimedia Foundation does not typically seek to operate a Wikimedian in Residence position. On a few occasions, the Wikimedia Foundation has funded Residencies. These roles have demonstrated a strategic need for a particular area in the movement (see for example, the Wikimedian in Residence at West Virginia University which focused on the gender gap; the UNESCO Wikimedian in Residence, who works for an international organization strategically important for the movement; the OCLC Webjunction Resident, who helped build a training curricula for public librarians; or the Wikipedian at Large in New Zealand, who filled a gap in capacity and funding structures in a region that had a lot of GLAM interest, but no established Wikimedia affiliate). Residencies that want to use movement funding as part of the Wikimedia Foundation grants programs, need to demonstrate a demand for that kind of capacity within the targeted community, and a larger scale of impact that extends beyond the institution. Typically these grants fund internationally focused projects, or projects that develop volunteer communities not previously present in the residency’s context.
- Other forms of external funding, that allow for term-based funding. Wikipedian in Residence positions can be created as part of other restricted funding, especially if the role of the resident centers around some other externally funded initiative. Creating Wikimedian in Residence positions under an external grant limits the ability of an institution to renew work of the resident if they decide that they need to do so. However, a good relationship with a funder may make this a sustainable proposition. For example, the Neuromat residencies at Sao Paulo University have all been fellowships funded by a program supported by an external source.
Funding models typically are circumstantial, and unique to the institution and its relationship to local Wikimedia affiliates. Many of these funding situations are temporary, which is a risk to the success of the program: you may spend time developing the skills, capacity and knowledge of the resident about the institution and Wikimedia partnerships, but find that they have to leave the institution. However, once a role has demonstrated impact some institutions are able to reallocate the position to a more consistent funding line (i.e. strategic funding or a role that blends Wikimedia work with other core operational needs). Residencies that have done that include, the Wikimedian in Residence positions at the National Archive of the United States, NIOSH, Consumer Reports, the National Library of Wales, University of Edinburgh, Koninklijke Bibliotheek and the Scottish Library and Information Council.
Negotiating and planning for residencies at an institution
Because creating a Residency position is frequently something new for a partner institution, it's important for the institution to work closely with the partners in the Wikimedia community to make sure that the goals, and strategies for managing the resident, are clearly established ahead of time in the agreement or project description. This helps ensure that the resident walks into a job that is appropriately scoped for both the partner’s level of experience and the skills of the hired resident (for more information on setting goals, and evaluating outcomes see this conversation on metawiki). Note however, that the initial negotiated goals, only represent a subset of the work that might result from the resident at the institution. You might find ideas for tactics that can be measured, as part of the GLAM model projects case studies.
Multiple community leaders who have been in residencies or negotiated them have emphasized the importance of a staff champion. Typically during the negotiations and establishment of a residency, the most successful residencies find at least one staff member who is a “champion” for the resident. Typically this person will either supervise the resident or, because they are in senior Leadership at the institution, can ensure that the resident gets support.
These “champion” roles are very important for new residencies, because they help open doors into the institution, champion the Resident’s projects and the needs associated with those projects, and can help guide the resident to ripe opportunities for collaboration. On staff champions can also be important for the continuity of the impact of a limited term Residency, as was the case at the National Library of the Netherlands, Smithsonian Archives of American Art and Libraries, and Library and Archives Canada. Because there are permanent staff who believe in collaboration with Wikimedia communities, the work of the Wikimedian becomes part of the institutional strategy and memory rather than falling away at the end of the residency period. Some programs even require this kind of “championship” to be a condition of the Residency, for example during the Erfgoed Gelderland network residency, the member institutions which participated in support from resident were required to designate someone who would participate in Wikimedia programs following the residency.
Negotiated institutional responsibilities
Wikimedia communities have had some residencies where there was insufficient support for a Resident from the host institution. To prevent these situations, consider including the following expectations in the partnership agreement:
The institution will:
- designate a supervisor of the role, whose job is to help the WIR get connected and familiar with the institutional staff (sometimes the “champion” mentioned above). Having a supervisor with sufficient time and energy to connect residents with institutional staff is important to successful residency positions.
- create a plan for mentoring and professional development support for the WIR. Many WIR positions are early career professionals, and may not have developed professional trajectories -- if hiring for early career professionals, it's important to plan for mentoring and support, especially if the residency is term limited.
- designate a workspace and computing equipment for the resident. Without sufficient computer and internet access, the activities are inherently limited.
- prepare open content policies prior to the term of the resident. Though Wikimedians in Residence can be important in shaping the implementation of open-content policies at an institution, hiring someone both expert in creating these policies, and implementing all of the other outreach and technical tasks needed from the resident, can be challenging. Instead, consider negotiating the policy ahead of time, to save time and energy of the Resident, who can be focused on organizing contribution and community engagement.
- understand what is acceptable and not acceptable within Conflict of Interest policies, and other related on-wiki policies.
If the role is being funded or managed by the Wikimedia affiliate, some of these functions might be supported by the affiliate staff, rather than directly managed at the institution. Wikimedia Serbia and Wikimedia Argentina take on more of these responsibilities, because their Wikimedians in Residence do short term engagements with each of the institutions, and are hired for their expertise in implementing projects on-Wiki.
Some WIR positions are created with the intention of hiring a specific person, but the rest of the time you will have to do a search. This can be a challenging position to hire for: the best residents have a mix of different skills related to partnership negotiation and support, interpersonal relationship building, communications, and technical skills that many online Wikimedia volunteers may not have.
An increasing number of residencies within the movement have been hired from outside of the existing online contributor community with considerable success. However, if running a shorter-term residency of less than a few months, it’s important to hire folks that have experience in the Wikimedia Community, in order to ensure impact in that short window of time.
Each residency will require different kinds of knowledge or experience to be successful. When creating jobs for individuals to work. Several characteristics make especially effective Wikimedians in Residence:
- Experience or a demonstrated willingness to learn how to work with digital or online communities or with volunteer organizing. Digital collaboration and working with communities of volunteers is a challenging part of working with the Wikimedia community.
- Experience communicating with different kinds of audiences -- the bulk of WIR roles rely heavily on communicating across different communities. To find these skills, you might be looking for a background in community organizing, education, or professional communications.
- The ability to learn and teach technical skills and community dynamics -- these skills might be evidenced in experience teaching or community organizing.
- Experience working with professionals from the kinds of professional communities at or supported by the institution. For example, if the residency is at a library, it's important to hire someone with experience collaborating with librarians, such as a graduate student who has done teaching and research with library staff, someone trained in Library or Information Science, or a professional who previously worked in that space. Staff at GLAMs, and other host institutions, frequently have professional expectations that may need to be challenged or engaged in. Having experience and understanding of the field can strengthen the effectiveness of communication from the resident, and the ability to develop projects that benefit both the institution and the Wikimedia community.
- Comfort and experience doing writing and research. Wikimedia projects are heavily reliant on practices related to research and publication building on established practices in academic, library and publishing ecosystems.
- Comfort with technology, and contributing to social media and online platforms. Generally, Wikimedian in Residence roles don’t need to be technically expert: there is a growing community of practice within the Wikimedia movement that can support complex projects. If projects are going to be data intensive on Wikidata or Commons, it may be important to ensure that there is some technical capacity at the institution to supplement the Wikimedian’s knowledge.
When hiring a Wikipedian in Residence, and especially when the resident has limited previous Wikimedia experience, we highly recommend building a small group of advisors from both the staff of the local Wikimedia affiliate, or Wikimedians familiar with similar kinds of projects. These advisors can help interview and validate the candidates experience, help train and onboard the residents, expand the impact of communications, and generate interest and participation from other Wikimedia contributors.
This page is under construction.
Please help review and edit this page.
When creating job descriptions, and when selecting the final candidates for a Wikimedian in Residence position it is important to have Wikimedia community expertise involved in the process.
Here are some example job descriptions (Please add job descriptions as you find them):
- for the National Archive of the United States
- for Wellcome Library
- a draft used for Wikimedia UK roles
Starting the Residency
Because most Wikimedian in Residence positions are limited-term roles, its important to start the residency with sufficient context and connections to help the project take off. Onboarding of a resident should include:
- Outline the goals and expected impact of the role defined when creating the role.
- Introduce the resident to relevant contacts and advisors in the Wikimedia community who helped create and will help implement the role.
- Introduce the resident to collections that are well suited for working with Wikimedia communities, including:
- Digitized collections
- Collections that can be used under a Public Domain or Creative Commons license.
- Datasets, authority controls or controlled vocabularies that are standardized in their use across institutional collections.
- Introduce the resident to staff who will be key for implementing the work, including:
- Champions for the role in the staff, who supported the creation and implementation of the role.
- Any technical staff who may be helping the resident navigate, or use, data or media files from the institution.
- Communications staff who will be helping document or communicate events and other activities on social media, blogs and other platforms.
- Sometimes called "Wikipedian in Residence" abbreviated "WiR"). Other names are also used; for examples, and names in other languages, see labels on Q3809586
- The main list of residencies
- Assessment of Belfer Center Wikipedian in Residence program
- 2014 review of Wikimedian in Residence program by Wikimedia UK
- Handbook from the Erfgoed Gelderland residency for running projects in small GLAMs (in Dutch)