Here is a quick hit for a cold, cold Tuesday morning in beautiful Western New York - check out this excerpt from a recent piece in the New York Times Arts Beat blog titled 'Gerald R. Ford Library Hires 'Wikipedian in Residence'':
Gerald R. Ford may have governed during a time of economic stagnation, but his library has just laid claim to a cutting-edge distinction: becoming the first presidential depository to employ an official “Wikipedian in residence.”
Michael Barera, a master’s student at the University of Michigan’s School of Information who has been editing Wikipedia articles for five years, started the job last week, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. He is charged with improving the Wikipedia presence of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, which is housed at the university’s Ann Arbor campus.
More details about the actual role and duties of a 'Wikipedian in Residence' can be found in this piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education:
A Wikipedian in residence is a Wikipedia editor who has an on-site placement at an institution. It turns out there are many such Wikipedians at archives and museums around the world, including the National Archives, but there has never before been one at a presidential library.
If you dig a little deeper into these pieces you discover the real reason that the Ford museum and some other institutions have taken the step to hire staff to focus explicitly on maintaining, augmenting, and often, correcting information and articles about them on Wikipedia. Namely, that's were they are seeing the majority of web searchers, potential visitors, and heck, maybe even job candidates are landing when they are doing research.
Sure, the Ford museum has a website, they are on Facebook too. They have control (mostly with Facebook) of how their message gets conveyed on those platforms. But they've figured out the important medium for how people learn about them is Wikipedia and by hiring a 'Wikipedian in Residence', they've taken a step toward better managing those messages.
There you go - your first installment of 'Job Titles of the Future' - Wikipedian in Residence.
Have one for your organization yet?