The Scottish Library and Information Council has launched a recruitment drive to appoint the first ever Wikimedian in Residence for Scotland’s public libraries.

The temporary position is aimed at improving the contribution libraries make to the digital landscape and widening access to the rich collections of historical and cultural content stored by Scotland’s libraries. The project was proposed by Inverclyde Libraries and funded by an award from the Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF), which is administered by SLIC on behalf of the Scottish Government.

The Wikimedian Role

The Wikimedian in Residence will train library staff to create and edit articles for Wikipedia, identify appropriate content for Wikipedia and assist libraries to host digital content creation workshops – editathons – for library users. 

Scotland’s public libraries have vast collections of high quality information of local and national significance. The Wikimedian in Residence will be responsible for widening access to this content, in line with the global GLAM-WIKI initiative, which supports galleries, libraries and museums who want to work with Wikimedia to produce open-access, freely-reusable content for the public. 

Content will include local history materials and biographies of local people of note not currently digitised and there will be particular focus on notable Scottish women to address the under-representation of female achievements in general across Wikipedia content.

Libraries & Digital Technology

SLIC CEO Pamela Tulloch explained: “There is a widespread perception that disruptive technologies like Wikipedia are making the role of public libraries as information providers redundant. On the contrary, public libraries in Scotland are embracing digital technology and using it to their advantage, and this project is a perfect example of that in action. We will be working with Wikipedia to showcase library collections to a wider audience. 

“Scotland’s public libraries have huge swathes of information, records and catalogues relating to Scotland’s history, heritage and culture that only exist in hard copy - it is currently missing from the digital information landscape. This year is the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology in Scotland, making this project particularly timely.

“Through the Wikimedian in Residence, we will significantly improve the accessibility of this rich body of knowledge and information about Scotland’s history and culture. At the same time, we will improve the digital skills of librarians and library staff, enabling them to fully support the digital agenda and enhancing the library service at a local level.

Partnership Working

Alana Ward, Libraries, Museums and Archives Manager at Inverclyde Libraries drafted the PLIF award application and will have overall responsibility for the delivery of the project. 

Alana said: “We’re really excited to be rolling out this project on a national basis. It will benefit the public library sector as a whole by improving the skillset of staff and create a better service for users through expanding digital services and the creation of a lasting legacy of free, open access content.”

Daria Cybulska, Head of Programmes and Evaluation, Wikimedia UK added: “Librarians are both enablers for local communities in terms of accessing knowledge, as well as professionals in a position to share digital skills with library users in Scotland. For this reason, we are very excited to be partnering with SLIC to deliver a Wikimedian in Residence project, potentially reaching every library in Scotland. This is the first project of this kind in the UK and has great potential in terms of skills development and growth of open knowledge.”

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for the role will have experience of editing Wikipedia and working with its community, knowledge of copyright issues, ability to teach and support learning and good reporting and evaluation skills. 

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 7th June. To find out more and to apply visit the SLIC Vacancies page.