Month: February 2016

wor wikimedian

Rosie the Editor
Rosie the Editor

Our Wikimedian in Residence (WiR) partnership is a result of a long term engagement and also a credit to the quality of the UK Wikimedians and their ability to support, impress and influence senior managers, who  in turn, shape institutional strategies and investment.

I have been repeatedly impressed by the quality of the Wikimedians and the generosity of their host organisations to help at events. It seems to me only fair that University of Edinburgh which has benefitted so much from our local WiRs should now host a WiR to continue a sustained involvement with the scheme and the Wikimedia UK community. Once Edinburgh has shown the way I hope the other Scottish universities will follow suit to ensure that there is always at least one WiR for the nation.


When I was Director of Academic IT at University of Oxford my teams attended the editathon organised by JISC  (June 2012) to improve articles on the Great War . Oxford holds an elegant collection of crowd-sourced  and expert-curated content in the Great War Archive   and we were keen to ensure, in advance of the centenary, that our collection of open educational resources (OER) could support public engagement and school teaching on the topic.  Martin Poulter was WiR at JISC at the time.

In 2013 we hosted an editathon at Oxford for Ada Lovelace Day. Martin provided training for the event and brought several other wikimedians to help.  Liz McCarthy and Kate Lindsay  worked with Martin to make the whole event a great success and I was entirely sold on the idea.

Oxford hosted another editathon for Ada Lovelace Day 2014, but by that time I had moved job to become Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services at University of Edinburgh. There had not yet been any wikipedia editathons at Edinburgh  so I brought my new colleagues to  the EduWiki conference  to find out more.  Ally Crockford spoke at the event and she highlighted the WiR scheme.  I met with Gill Hamilton at National Library of Scotland (NLS) to learn about the job descriptions, support and work plans which would be successful for a WiR partnership.

Edinburgh University runs an annual Innovative Learning Week designed to enable staff and students to attend day long, or week long events outside of normal timetabling patterns. The first Edinburgh editathon ran during ILW 2015. Ally and Sara Thomas came to help. Ally was very bold and went for an event spanning the full 4 days.

We certainly couldn’t have done it without Ally and Sara but the striking thing for me was how quickly colleagues within the University took to the idea and began supporting each other in developing their skills and sharing knowledge amongst a multi-professional group.  This inspired me to commission Allison Littlejohn and her team to do some academic research  to  look at the connections and networking amongst the participants and to explore whether editathons were a good investment in developing workplace digital skills.

This is the research I presented at Martin’s Wikipedia Science Conference  which underpinned my business case for establishing a WiR at University of Edinburgh with focus on skills development as part of the University’s commitment to open knowledge.

This year University of Edinburgh is hosting an international conference on open educational resources : OER16. I am delighted to see so many papers accepted from wikimedia projects. We will also run an editathon alongside the event and hopefully convert even more OER practitioners to the joys of Wikipedia editing. Three of the keynote speakers at the event are from organisations with WiR:  John Scally for NLS,  Emma Smith for Oxford and me for Edinburgh. Each of these organisations are making big  public commitments to open knowledge, sharing and public engagement.  Partnership projects with Wikimedia UK is part of the way we do that.

WiR at University of Edinburgh

Ewan McAndrew has been appointed The University of Edinburgh’s Wikimedian-in-Residence.


His year-long residency will run from January 2016 to January 2017 and involves facilitating a sustainable relationship between the university and Wikimedia UK to the mutual benefit of both communities.

To do this, he will be an advocate of open knowledge and deliver training events and workshops which will further both the quantity and quality of open knowledge and the university’s commitment to digital literacy.

More practically, this will involve arranging and delivering skills-training sessions which will fit in with and, importantly enhance, the learning and teaching within the curriculum. He will also stage events outside the curriculum which will draw on the university’s, and Edinburgh’s, rich history and knowledge.

Wikipedia Edit-a-thons will be a large part of this; however, there are numerous ways staff and students can get involved and directly contribute their knowledge and expertise to develop Wikimedia UK’s diverse range of projects.

Ewan is based in the Learning, Teaching & Web Services Division within the Hugh Robson Link Building. You can keep up to date with the residency through Twitter, the WiR blog and through the Wikipedia Project page.

To contact Ewan McAndrew, to discuss collaborating together or just to find out more, email:

body of work

Dermatome man, early twentieth century. (c) University of Edinburgh CC BY-SA 2.0

During our ‘Creating an open body of knowledge’ wikipedia editathon last week we managed to upload over 500 images, create 4 brand new articles and 56 improved articles.   Our Wikimedian in Residence, Ewan reports that:

“There are now some astonishingly interesting additions to Wikipedia which just simply weren’t there before….


  • Anne’s article on Norman Dott – the first holder of the Chair of Neurological Surgery at the University of Edinburgh.
  • Gavin’s one man ‘Citation Hunt’ crusade to plug those pesky ‘citation needed’ labels in articles.
  • Chris’s work on Robert Battey – an American physician who is known for pioneering a surgical procedure then called Battey’s Operation and now termed radical oophorectomy (or removal of a woman’s ovaries).
  • Melissa’s noteworthy work doubling (if not trebling) the article on Mary Fairfax Somerville – a Scottish science writer and polymath, at a time when women’s participation in science was discouraged. As well as editing articles on Isabel Thorne, Matilda Chaplin Ayrton and the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service.
  • Christine’s new ‘Controversy’ section on the intriguing case of James Miranda Barry.
  • Eoin’s really helpful mapping tool of the buildings to be photographed:
  • Our historian of medicine, James’s work on The Brunonian system of medicine – a theory of medicine which regards and treats disorders as caused by defective or excessive excitation.
  • Mary’s first ever article on Leith Hospital – illustrated with pictures she took herself and uploaded to Wikicommons.
  • Eugenia’s articles on Frances Helen Simson (a Scottish suffragist) and The Edinburgh Royal Maternity and Simpson Maternity Hospital Pavilion. Ably added to by Luise Kocaurek’s work on Lady Tweedale.
  • Anne-Marie’s work on Emily Bovell’s article and a brand new article on the New Zealand Army Nursing Service page which came into being in early 1915, when the Army Council in London accepted the New Zealand government’s offer of nurses to help in the war effort during the First World War.
  • Neil’s articles on ‘Fabry disease’ – a rare genetic lysosomal storage disease – and on ‘Alport Syndrome’ – a genetic disorder] affecting around 1 in 5,000 children, characterized by glomerulonephritis, end-stage kidney disease, and hearing loss.
  • Sara’s sterling work uploading images and flitting about improving articles on Leith Hospital, Edinburgh University’s Women’s Union and many more articles.
  • Kimberley’s work on Frances Hoggan – the first British woman to receive a doctorate in medicine from a university in Europe, and the first female doctor to be registered in Wales.
  • And much much more besides…. including LiuLing’s work on The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh on Chinese Wikipedia!”

Creating an Open Body of Knowledge


CbVWt1AUYAALJYn.jpg_largeDo you want to learn how to write for the world’s largest encyclopeadia? Do you want to make knowledge available for the whole world to share? Do you like eating biscuits, meeting new people and having fun?

Building on the tremendous success of last year’s Innovative Learning Week Wikipedia editing extravaganza, we invite all to once again come along and join in.

The focus of this years’ event will be on the History of Medicine. You don’t need to know anything about the subject to participate. Suggestions of topics to create or edit, along with supporting resources will be available, and training will be provided by a professional Wikimedian. If you have a laptop or tablet, please bring it along.

girl geeks redux

Picture taken by me at Edinburgh Napier, Craiglockhart. No rights reserved by me.

After a quiet time in the last couple  of years  Girl Geek Scotland relaunched in considerable style last night  with a keynote address by Nicola Sturgeon.

Edinburgh Napier University have offered them a home and the Principal, Andrea Nolan and the Dean of Computing, Sally Smith both spoke about the role women do play and should play in the tech sector in Scotland.

We are only 18% it seems, so even though there are no shortage of well paid, interesting, rewarding, professional jobs out there, the guys are still getting them all.


open now

Promo picture for #OER16

Booking is now open for #OER16 . More than 100 papers accepted, some fine looking speakers, and some of the funnest people with whom you could ever care to discuss the minutae of copyright law.

Looking forward to it.

In this week we will also be launching our new Edinburgh University OER showcase website Open.ed, and celebrating the ratification of our OER policy by University of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Committee.

change ages

Picture taken by me in my house. No rights reserved by me.

ISG is an organisation with a diverse workforce. As the first in our ‘PlayFair Steps‘ equality initiative seminars we invited Wendy Loretto, Deputy Dean and Professor of Organisational Behaviour at University of Edinburgh Business School to talk to ISG staff about ‘Understanding age in the workplace’. Wendy’s main research field is age and employment, with a particular focus on changes in employees’ and employers’ attitudes and practices in extending working lives.   She gave us an overview of the issues, challenges and opportunities and brought critical insight to this topic questioning some of the rhetoric and assumptions that underpin much of the policy and mainstream management discourses. The session prompted group discussions amongst ISG colleagues and suggestions for real changes to move us towards working inclusively.