Harvard looking to fill a new job: Wikipedian in residence

Cary Bass, volunteer coordinator, at his desk in the San Francisco headquarters. Wikipedia, the "encyclopedia anyone can edit," is run largely by volunteers.
(Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times)

Do you spend a copious amount of time on Wikipedia? Harvard might have a job for you.

Harvard’s Houghton Library, home to the school’s collection of rare books, is looking to fill a newly created job: Wikipedian in residence. (And at $16 an hour, it beats what you make editing for Wikipedia, which is zero.)

This individual will help populate pages on Wikipedia with some of the library’s material.

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“Wikipedia is an important resource for folks at Harvard and folks all around the world,” John Overholt, Houghton’s curator of early modern books and manuscripts, told the L.A. Times.


“We’d like to make it easier for them to find out useful information about what’s in our libraries and collections.”

According to the job posting, the Wikipedian will add sources such as images of rare books to Wikimedia Commons and existing pages. The person will also create new pages on notable topics, explore the creation of WikiProjects related to Houghton holdings and promote participation in these projects.

Overholt says the library wants to stay relevant at a time when the landscape of research is changing. He said he used Wikipedia “almost every day” and that the new position served as “a great extension of our scholarly mission to make our collections more accessible to everybody.”