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Digital Pioneer

UC Berkeley hires its first Wikipedian-in-residence.


Courtesy of Wikimedia

Kevin Gorman isn’t yet 25, but he’s already changing the way major institutions publish information and research. The recent UC Berkeley grad has been hired by his alma mater as a Wikipedian-in-residence, the first in the nation at a college or university. Now, he is working with undergrads to write articles for the online encyclopedia and is scouring the campus’ library archives to make important documents more accessible to the public.

Early Aptitude

Gorman has been fascinated with information since he was a kid, when he’d sit in the library trying to read Encyclopedia Britannica from cover to cover. “I like having more information over less information.”

Learning the Ropes

An activist against discrimination and harassment, he edited Wikipedia articles casually at first, but got more serious while taking a course on the politics of digital piracy. “It just kind of stuck with me more than it did with other people in the class.”

Getting the Gig

After graduation, Gorman sat down with the head of the American Cultures undergrad program, and “tried to convince her this would be a really cool thing to expand on. There wasn’t exactly a selection process.”

Playing By the Rules

Much of his time is spent teaching students who are passionate about cultural issues—including environmental justice and the prison system—to write in an encyclopedic and neutral tone.

Tools of the Trade

A three-pound Asus laptop and automated computer tools, including a button he created that converts citations into Wikipedia style.

Office Space

In a classroom, library, or professor’s office, “trying to convince them of something.”

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