Get Paid By Harvard to Post on Wikipedia
If you enjoy scouring Wikipedia all day, making sure that posts are accurate and information entered into the database isn’t fudging important historical facts and details, then Harvard’s Houghton Library has a job for you.
They’re seeking a “Wikipedian-in-residence,” or, to better describe what that means, a person who will “dedicate time to working in-house at an organization” to create new pages and update existing pages on the encyclopedia-esque website.
That’s right—Harvard is looking to pay someone for the next three-months to expand coverage on Wikipedia that’s relevant to the college’s Houghton collections.
According to the job description, the qualified applicant (it’s a requirement to have a good standing on Wikipedia with “substantial” experience in posting to the site), will be tasked with the following:
Provide appropriate formatting and metadata…to upload public domain content to Wikimedia and Wikisource, and facilitate the use of such materials by other Wikipedia users. Explore the creation of WikiProjects related to Houghton holdings and promote participation in such projects… [Must have a] demonstrated ability and enjoyment in writing both clear narrative text and documentation, excellent oral and written communication skills, [and] proficiency with Windows-based applications.
People still use Windows?
Anyways, while the prospect of telling your friends that you have a full-time gig at Harvard compiling Wikipedia posts about materials relating to American, Continental, and English history and literature—staples of the Houghton collection—sounds promising, this is not that.
The person who lands the job will ultimately serve as a liaison between Houghton and the Wikimedia community, but they will only be doing so for about 13 weeks.The role would also be as an “assistant,” rather than a lead in organizing posts about the library’s archives. The Wikipedian-in-residence would be working with John Overholt, the library’s curator of early modern books and manuscripts.
Overholt said he hopes to find an expert that can help get the library’s collection out to more people by filling the temporary role. “I want to make it better for them and for everybody. If those collections get more use, and get in front of people that have a research interest in the things that we have here, that’s a win-win,” he said. “You have someone come in who has a real solid background in Wikipedia and its systems, and its culture, who can do this job of taking resources in your collection and make Wikipedia articles better, and the material you hold in your museum becomes more accessible.”
Although it may sound odd, the idea of a Wikipedian-in-residence is not a made up title that the Houghton Library created to try and entice interested applicants. According to WikiMedia’s webpage, the concept was first introduced by the Galleries Libraries Archives Museums group, or GLAM. Since then, institutions such as Chateau de Versailles, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and the Museum of Modern Art have all had similar positions available at some point.
“There have been a number of major library and museum institutions that have been doing these sorts of projects for a few years now,” said Overholt. “It’s such an important information resource.”