New Wikimedian in Residence at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

Society of Antiquaries crest above an entrance to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery – image by Brian McNeil CC BY-SA 3.0

By Jeff Sanders, Project Manager for Dig It! based at The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.


1780: a time before the USA had gained its independence, before the first hot air balloon flights, and before Robert Burns had penned Auld Lang Syne. Also the year in which the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland was formed, with a mission to research and promote Scotland’s past.

Today we’re an independent charity with a global membership of over 2,700 members,  (known as Fellows) with offices in the National Museum of Scotland, which was formed from the Society collection in 1851. And we’ve been promoting the discovery of Scotland’s past for the last 239 years by publishing books, journals, and excavation reports, funding research, holding events and lectures and running projects like the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework and Dig It!. All but the latest journals (and many of the sold-out books) are available open access and most events are free to attend (and recorded and uploaded to YouTube).


In order to take open access at the Society to the next level, we’ve recently appointed a Wikimedian-in-Residence: Dr Doug Rocks-Macqueen. Funded by Wikimedia UK, he works one day a week and we match this with Society staff time to help develop and run events and initiatives.

Doug is seconded to us from Landward Research, and is both a Fellow of the Society and Wiki-experienced, which means that he’s been able to hit the ground running. Key to Doug’s role is reviewing what the Society does and figuring out how we can feed that into the work of the Wikimedia Foundation. Part of this mission means ensuring that the Society team and our (global) Fellowship are Wiki-ready. Our first toe-in-the-water moment for this was hosting an edit-a-thon here in the Society offices, focusing on previous members of the Society (who include Sir Walter Scott don’tcha know).


After the success of our first edit-a-thon, we’re spreading our wings and holding the next one at Edinburgh Central Library. The Women in Scottish Archaeology | Wikipedia Edit-a-thon aims to address the lack of knowledge about women’s contributions to Scottish archaeology. If you’re in Edinburgh on 9 May, come along and find out more about our plans (and chow down on a free lunch).