Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) has appointed Sara Thomas as its first Wikimedian in Residence, in a joint project with Wikimedia UK

The 12 month position which is jointly funded by MGS and Wikimedia UK will see Thomas working with museums and galleries across Scotland, helping them share their resources with the world by enabling them to put exhibits and collections online.

Thomas will be based at the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow until the beginning of June, working with Glasgow Museums. Glasgow Museums will use the residency to ‘kick start’ curators’ enthusiasm and understanding and inspire a culture of on-going open knowledge in the future, particularly around the Kelvin Hall project. Sara will then relocate to Museums Galleries Scotland’s head office in Edinburgh, broadening her reach to work with museums across Scotland, with a particular focus on those museums and galleries looking after the Recognised Collections of National Significance.

This residency is part of the GLAM-Wiki initiative (“galleries, libraries, archives and museums” with Wikipedia; also including botanic and zoological gardens) which helps cultural institutions share their resources with the world through collaborative projects with experienced Wikipedia editors.

“I’m passionate about open knowledge and digital access, and I’m looking forward to working with some of Scotland’s most loved cultural institutions,” said Thomas.

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Wikimedian, Sara Thomas

A key focus of this project will be working with the Recognised Collections of National Significance to help raise awareness of these important collections and also develop staff in their institutions to become digital content leaders within the sector.  This will be achieved through a series of training events where museums will work with the Wikipedia community to gain support and learn how to utilise curatorial knowledge and resources to create or improve museum/collections Wikipedia articles for the broadest possible audience.

“Wikipedia is such a valuable and widely used information resource,” said Joanne Orr, Chief Executive of MGS, which is the National Development Body for museums and galleries in Scotland and offers strategic development support to the sector. “This residency is an exciting opportunity for us to foster a digital culture within Scotland’s museums and galleries sector.”

The aims of Wikimedia and the Wikimedian in Residence programme are complimentary to the aims of the Going Further: The National Strategy for Scotland’s Museums and Galleries; as well as the Strategy’s implementation of increased digital capacity through the Delivery Plan From Strategy to Action: A Delivery Plan for Scotland’s Museums and Galleries; and One Year On: Turning Actions into Advocacy.

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