The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth is employing the UK’s first permanent Wikimedian.
As national Wikimedian, Jason Evans will make Wikipedia and its sister projects a core aspect of the library’s activities and services. Building on the successful collaboration between the library, Wikimedia UK and the Wiki community, he will lead activities associated with the library’s collections, Wales as a nation and the Welsh language.
The library, Wikimedia UK and the editing community have worked together since 2014 to host Mr Evans as Wikimedian in Residence. He has helped the library to explore the use of Wikipedia and its sister project in the fulfilling its aim of giving access to knowledge, especially relating to Wales and the Welsh.
This month, the activity becomes a core aspect of the library’s work. The library won ‘Partnership of the Year’ in the UK Wikimedian of the Year Awards for its influential work and vision in making the role permanent.
Images from the library have been used in Wikipedia articles which have been seen more than 250 million times. As well as enabling these collections to be used in this way, the Wikimedian in Residence has held 20 public events and has taught more than 100 people how to edit. Together they have improved thousands of pages.
The library has also played a key role in supporting the Welsh Wicipedia, leading initiatives like the Welsh Government-sponsored WiciPop project which resulted in the creation of hundreds of articles and Welsh-language record company Recordiau Sain sharing over 7,000 audio files.
It also leads the ongoing Wici-Iechyd (Wiki-Health) project, also sponsored by the Welsh Government, which aims to improve health related subjects on the Welsh Wicipedia.
Wikipedia, in both Welsh and English, is one of the main places people go to for information. The Welsh language Wicipedia has more articles on women than men and is the most popular Welsh website, with an average of around 800,000 pages opened every month and around 130 regular editors.
Mr Evans has helped to organise many different events to encourage people to edit Wikipedia, has attracted significant media coverage and helped Welsh Wicipedia to become one of the biggest and most advanced Wikipedias in a minority language.
Pedr ap Llwyd, the library’s director of collections and public programmes, said:
“For the benefit of Wales as a nation, it is crucial that Wikipedia contains a wealth of knowledge about its history and culture and that the range of articles on the Welsh language Wicipedia covers the widest possible range of subjects.
“The National Library of Wales has a key role to play in providing access to knowledge about Wales and its people and this post demonstrates our desire to collaborate with individuals and organisations within Wales and beyond in fulfilling this aim.”
Lucy Crompton-Reid, chief executive of Wikimedia UK, said:
“I am delighted that the National Library of Wales have made this residency a permanent post within the library, demonstrating the enormous impact that Wikimedians in Residence can have in opening up cultural heritage institutions and engaging global audiences with their collections through Wikimedia.
“Our partnership with the National Library of Wales has been characterised by innovation and we look forward to the continued success of this work with a permanent staff member focused on engaging with Wikimedia and open knowledge.”