A Wikimedian in Residence (WiR) at Blinken OSA


In an era when printed encyclopedias are no longer the epitome of contemporary knowledge sources, a new online encyclopedic system was created.

Nowadays the most well-known online encyclopedia, launched in 2001, is Wikipedia. It is a unique and complex online encyclopedia that is written and maintained by volunteer contributors, furthermore, it is multilingual, free, and easily accessible. For an institution like Blinken OSA, to be present on Wikipedia is a must and to ensure this professional presence and to train possible future Wikipedia editors, Ádám Harangozó, a Wikimedian in residence was invited.

A Wikipedian in residence or Wikimedian in residence (WiR) is a Wikipedia editor, who has accepted the invitation of Blinken OSA to help us to facilitate Wikipedia articles related to our institution, at the same time enhancing existing ones, to help us with establishing our presence in Wikidata (a free online knowledge base, a sister system of Wikipedia), and to train volunteer staff members to write new articles and become Wikipedia editors themselves. By contributing to the online encyclopedia, Blinken OSA can share knowledge with a wider audience.

Following a general introduction of Wikipedia and Wikidata, the training was organized in the style of online edit-a-thons in the form of two-hour-long online workshops for several occasions, complemented with an additional Wikidata workshop for interested staff members.

During this training, staff was introduced to the basics of editing, with topics relating to the Blinken OSA collections, such as RFE/RL, the 1989 regime change, samizdat, etc. Due to the pandemic, the majority of the workshops were organized online. Articles could be written both in English and in Hungarian, with the supervision of our WiR.

Besides training volunteer editors over the course of three months, Ádám Harangozó is also working on transforming the archival database and catalog to linked open data, and connecting it to Wikidata.

In the framework of the residency, similarly to international practice, releasing archival materials under open licenses is being considered. The platform for sharing digitized historical and cultural heritage is Wikimedia Commons, which is already popular with many libraries, archives, and museums.