The University of Edinburgh

Wikimedians in residence

The University of Edinburgh was the first university in the UK to employ a university-wide Wikimedian in Residence. The Wikimedian works with course teams and students across the university to facilitate engagement with the Wikimedia projects as part of the University’s strategy to develop information and digital literacy skills. 

At the University, courses at undergraduate and masters level are incorporating Wikimedia editing activities in many different parts of the curriculum. Many of the editing events have had a focus on addressing the underrepresentation, and improving the visibility of women online, delivering on the University’s commitment to equality, diversity, and the sharing of open knowledge.

Wikipedia’s sister project, Wikidata, offers students the chance to engage with issues of data completeness, data processing, data analysis and data ethics. Importantly, students are also working practically with real world datasets and make use of a large range of tools and data visualisation techniques to tell engaging stories and help further discovery and areas for future research through linked open data and the semantic web. The skills attained through engagement with Wikidata are transferable to many disciplines from the sciences to digital humanities to cultural heritage.

For academic colleagues, having a Wikimedia expert present has facilitated a growing understanding among staff and students of how information is created, contested and disseminated online. The role has provided new insight into how Wikipedia articles are constructed and Wikipedia’s editorial processes, with evidence of a growing awareness among academics of the opportunities for teaching and learning that Wikipedia can provide.

Student internships

The Residency has hosted a number of successful internships based on Wikimedia projects, who have worked on data visualisation like the map of accused witches, supporting and organising Women in Red events, and compiling a training resource for Wikidata.  

Awards

The University of Edinburgh won Partnership of the Year in both 2016 and 2018, with an honourable mention in 2020, and Ewan McAndrew won UK Wikimedian of the Year in 2017.  In 2020, the University of Edinburgh’s interns Laura Rose Wood, and Emma Carroll, both won Up and Coming Wikimedian of the Year.