UC Berkeley has hired the first 'Wikipedian in Residence' at an American university

Kevin Gorman was hired to help students and professors with editing articles for Wikipedia.
By Evan Bleier   |   March 20, 2014 at 11:16 AM   |   Comments

March 20 (UPI) -- After beginning to offer classes in which students produce content for Wikipedia, University of California, Berkeley has taken it one step further and hired the first-ever Wikipedian in Residence at an American university.

Kevin Gorman is now part of UC Berkeley's staff so that he can assist students and professors with editing user-generated articles for the popular site full time.

Although some museums in other parts of the world already have Wikipedians, the 24-year-old is the first to be hired at an American university.

So what does Gorman’s job actually entail? Here’s what the site has to say:

“Wikipedians in Residence are Wikimedians who dedicate time to working in-house at an organization. Wikipedians in Residence are usually financially compensated by the institution or by a Wikimedia chapter, but they may also be volunteers. The Wikipedian in Residence is not simply an in-house editor: the role is fundamentally about enabling the host organization and its members to continue a productive relationship with the encyclopedia and its community after the Residency is finished. The Wikipedian in Residence model was first piloted by the GLAM initiative, but has since been adopted by other types of organizations.”

Gorman, 24, has edited Wikipedia since he was an undergraduate and was once referred to as a "WikiGnome” in a story written about him.

"The goal of cultural institutions is in large part to share knowledge, to make their information accessible to the general public," Gorman told the San Jose Mercury News. "I think it would be really, really cool to get that information online one way or another so its access will no longer be limited to people at Berkeley who have Berkeley credentials."

Wikipedia gets about 500 million visitors per month and has more than 4.5 million entries.

[San Jose Mercury News]

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