Harvard's Hiring a Wikipedian-in-Residence

Do you like Wikipedia? Are you a fan of obscenely wealthy educational institutions with unspeakable power? Then you'll love the job listing that just went up at Harvard. They're hiring a Wikipedian-in-Residence. It pays by the hour.

You might be wondering what exactly a Wikipedian-in-Residence does, and you'd be wise to wonder whether or not it's a real job. More on that in a second. Indeed, a Wikipedian-in-Residence handles all things Wikipedia for institutions or companies.

The specific position at Harvard is in the university's rare books library, so there's a bit of an archival bend to this one—and an emphasis on assistance based on the word "assistant" in Harvard's job title. With line items like "adding sources for existing pages" and "creating new pages on notable topics," the job doesn't sound too taxing.

Best of all, though, Harvard's Wikipedian-in-Resident will also upload more content to the public domain for all to enjoy. And since Harvard has one of the world's largest libraries, that's potentially a lot of content. Oh, and as for qualifications: "Candidate must be a registered Wikipedian in good standing, with substantial experience in writing and editing Wikipedia articles, and possess knowledge of Wikipedia standards, culture, and rules."

In other words, the Wikipedian-in-Residence will act a little bit like a Wikipedia ambassador. That does not mean they're there to make the institution look awesome on Wikipedia. In fact, according to Wikipedia's own guidelines for such a position, a good Wikipedian-in-Residence "avoids conflicts of interest by not editing articles directly relating to the organization."

This is very much a real job, though. Wikipedia lists several dozen institutions—including the Smithsonian, the British Library, and the Palace of Versailles—that have employed a Wikipedian-in-Residence. Many of them, however, were only for a limited time, and such is the case with Harvard. The job listing stipulates that the gig will only last 13 weeks. Pay is $16 an hour.

Harvard's endowment, by the way, is now up to nearly $33 billion. [Harvard via John Overholt]

Image via Wikipedia