The National Archives is trying to bring more information to the public through their new “Wikipedian in Residence”, 24-year-old Dominic McDevitt-Parks. McDevitt-Parks has been tasked with getting cultural and historical treasures, like a collection of Ansel Adams photographs, on Wikipedia. He explains the idea behind the newly-created position in a recent interview with the Washington Post:
The bigger picture is it’s a collaboration between the Archives and Wikipedia. Both institutions are like-minded and have different approaches. The Archives is trying to enter the 21st century. If their documents can’t be accessed, there’s not really a point in preserving them. If you put something on the National Archives Web site, you might get 1,000 page views. Yesterday the main Wiki page got 12 million hits. The way I look at it, I’m trying to act as a catalyst to help improve the content on Wiki and help improve discoverability for the content. The idea is to bring the holdings outside our four walls and into the digital space.
The National Archives is one of a handful of institutions that has created position to leverage Wikipedia’s ubiquity on the internet. While the National Archives has a unique mission, many members of the public rely on Wikipedia to look up all different types of information. Agencies and elected officials also have an interest in at least monitoring their Wikipedia pages to ensure that they are being portrayed accurately.
Does your organization using Wikipedia to engage with the public?
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