Announcing a new Wikimedian In Residence at the University of Oxford

The Clarendon Building where the WIR is based. Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

The University of Oxford now employs a Wikimedian In Residence (WIR). Martin Poulter is working half-time on a one-year project to embed Wikipedia, Wikidata and related sites in the university’s teaching, research and public engagement.

Dr Poulter served as the WIR at the Bodleian Libraries for one year ending in March 2016. He led wiki training at nine public events, and gave sixteen other workshops and presentations. The images bulk-uploaded during this placement now get more than 3 million views per month from being used to illustrate Wikipedia articles in 49 languages.

Thanks to funding from the IT Innovation Challenge he is returning to the Bodleian with a cross-university remit. The new project is about working with Wikimedia UK to embed innovative use of Wikimedia sites across the university. This will involve:

  • training staff in the university to run Wikimedia-related events such as editathons;
  • helping research projects to enhance their impact by sharing outputs on Wikidata and Wikipedia;
  • creating customised training workshops for academics, librarians and other staff in the university; and
  • sharing training materials.

The aim is to collaborate with a different large research or educational project each month. The first two partners are the Hillforts Atlas Project and the Voltaire Foundation. The former is a collaboration between the universities of Oxford and Edinburgh, producing a definitive database of hillforts in the British Isles and Ireland. The latter publishes definitive critical volumes of the works and correspondence of Voltaire. Both projects can reach a larger audience by helping to improve Wikidata and Wikipedia. Other research projects and cultural institutions will be supported on a first-come, first-served basis.

Wikimedians In Residence are already employed by the National Library of Wales, the Wellcome Library, and the University of Edinburgh, as well as cultural and scholarly organisations around the globe. Martin Poulter can be contacted at