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Harvard wants to hire a Wikipedia editor to be its 'Wikipedian in Residence'

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Have a love for academia and editing Wikipedia? Harvard may have a job for you: one of the Ivy League university's libraries is hiring an experienced Wikipedia editor to write and improve articles and to upload some of its own archives into the public domain on Wikimedia. The job posting, first spotted by Gizmodo, is for a "Wikipedian in Residence," a type of liaison between an organization and Wikipedia's community that the encyclopedia's parent, Wikimedia, has been encouraging libraries and other institutions to establish for several years. Institutions that have participated so far include the Ford Presidential Library, the US National Archives, and the Smithsonian Institution Archives, among many others.

"Wikipedia gets enhanced content, users get more useful articles."

At Harvard, the position is specific to the Houghton Library, which holds a multidisciplinary collection with a focus on rare and older books. "Seeing this work successful at other institutions, … we thought it'd be a good way to make our resources available to [the public]," John Overholt, a Houghton Library curator, tells The Verge. While Overholt notes that Harvard has encouraged work on Wikipedia before — including hosting "edit-a-thons" — he says this is likely the first time the university has specifically hosted a Wikipedian in Residence. "This is definitely an experiment for us," he says. "If nothing else, I hope it will interest people in the Wikipedia community into using Houghton resources."

The position will last for three months at Houghton, and the library hasn't decided exactly what its Wikipedian will be focused on. Instead, it wants whoever it hires to work with subjects that they're familiar with, allowing their short stay to be more productive for both the library and the public. "It's a win-win situation," Overholt says. "We get, hopefully, more use for our collections, which is what we're here to promote, and Wikipedia gets enhanced content, users get more useful articles — it's to everybody's benefit."