This was a 10 day residency which took place in December 2012 with Staffordshire Archives and Heritage Service. The project was funded through the Regional Museum Development Project which is funded by Arts Council England.
The aims of the project were to support the Archives and Heritage team to engage more fully with Wikipedia and enable them to use Wikipedia as a platform for:
a) specifically uploading collections information
b) developing more interactive ‘conversations’ with virtual users
c) including Wikipedia as part of a wider social media strategy
The project supported both staff and volunteers to understand how to edit and create Wikipedia articles and to help to embed this knowledge and expertise in the Service.
The Archives and Heritage Service hosted Wikipedian Andy Mabbett across its sites for 10 days. Andy worked with the staff and volunteers in the museum team based at the County Museum, Shugborough, members of staff from the Staffordshire Record Office and staff and volunteers at the Shire Hall Gallery. One to one sessions were given to staff on editing and creating Wikipedia articles together with training on the different uses and applications of Wikipedia. This work has contributed to the wider development of the social media strategy within the Archives and Heritage Service which is also looking at the best ways to use other social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter, QR codes etc. Our resident Wikipedian was able to access the collections and displays to look at how these could link to existing articles as well as creating new ones.
The project was successful in the following ways;
- It enabled staff and volunteers to gain one to one support and advice from an experienced Wikipedia editor.
- It helped Archives and Heritage Service staff to increase access to its collections information using a free, visible and widely used digital platform.
- It has given the Archives and Heritage Service an opportunity to become a regional ambassador for digital and collections access.
by Helen Johnson,
Museum Development Officer at Staffordshire County Council