Thursday 24 January 2013

Wikimedian in Residence at NHM (Closing date 10/02/2013)

Fancy coming to work with us?

Vacancy reference: NHM/WIR/SN
Location: South Kensington
Employment type: Fixed Term
Area of business: Life Sciences
Closing date: 10/02/2013

The Natural History Museum and the Science Museum are in partnership to recruit an experienced joint Wikimedian in Residence ( with a good understanding of GLAM projects ( As the official Wikimedian in Residence the successful applicant will be expected to make an impactful contribution to the public’s knowledge of the work of both institutions and their important and unique collections. You should have an understanding of the Wikimedia movement and Wikimedia UK’s mission to help people and organisations build and preserve open knowledge to share and use freely. You will also be expected to help develop strong and on-going links to build a long term relationship with the broader Wikimedia community and help to develop methods for assessing the impact of Wikipedia and sister projects on both institutions and the communities they serve.

The successful candidate will use their strong communication and organisational skills to promote the use of Wikipedia and sister projects to museum staff including scientists, curators and educators by fostering a broader understanding of Wikipedia (and sister projects) and arranging training in use and editing with groups and individuals. You should have an understanding of Wikimedia’s movement and Wikimedia’s UK mission to help people and organisations build and preserve open knowledge to share and use freely. In addition you will work with the museum staff to improve the quality of Wikipedia pages using items of the museums’ collections, libraries and archives and discussions with curators and researchers and act as a Wikipedia advocate through outreach to museum staff about Wikipedia’s mission and how they may contribute through workshops, events and one to one interactions.

An undergraduate degree in (or strong and demonstrable knowledge) of a scientific or technological discipline with experience of working within the Wikimedia community is also essential for this post.

Wikimedia UK is currently looking for several other Wikimedians in Residence in various cultural institutions within the UK. If you would like to find out more, please contact or visit

Knowledge, skills and experience:
An undergraduate degree in (or strong and demonstrable knowledge of) a scientific or technological discipline

Wikimedia UK
  • An understanding of, and empathy for, Wikimedia’s movement and Wikimedia UK’s mission to help people and organisations build and preserve open knowledge to share and use freely
  • Experience of editing Wikipedia or its sister websites. Supplementary training may be given
  • Experience of working with the Wikimedia community
  • An understanding of and commitment to Wikimedia UK’s Equal Opportunities Policies in both services to members and employment

  • Good understanding of the ethos and activities (curation, research, education) of national museum
  • An understanding of the GLAM sector, its culture and aims.

  • Ability to teach and support those learning to use Wikipedia and its sister projects (including via organising events/workshops
  • Ability to work tactfully, sensitively and effectively, as part of the two institutions, the Wikimedia community and with a wide range of individuals and also under your own initiative
  • Ability to communicate in English clearly, both verbally and in writing to a wide range of audiences alongside use of basic numeracy
  • Experience of successfully meeting deadlines
  • Awareness of issues related to intellectual property, confidentiality, commercial benefit and transparent working practices.

Apply here

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Arduino: temperature and light sensor to Twitter

Some thoughts after playing around with the Arduino micro-controller:

At the moment this device just sends data about the state of our office to Twitter (mainly because it's just slightly more relevant than sending the same information about my house). It does however have potential relevance to more biodiversity themed activities, particularly if combined with long range WiFi technologies (which I have written about before: Installing remote WiFi on the Jurassic Coast). Data collected from a similar device used in conjunction with a malaise trap might start to give clues about the behaviour of the things you collect, to give one example.

The device shown below omits the Arduino Ethernet shield which is used to attach the device to the internet. The prototyping board used in the actual device is, for reasons of practicality, an Arduino prototyping shield attached on top of the Ethernet shield.

The Device (Schematic)

(The schematic was created using Fritzing.)

The temperature is measured using an LM35 temperature sensor, and the light measured (imprecisely) using a photoresistor (which we could have calibrated but we just use to detect whether the light is on or off).

Arduino code

So it might not be the most useful thing at present, but a ruggedised, battery powered, weatherproof version could have a huge number of potential uses for biodiversity sciences, particularly if combined with other sensors (e.g. a humidity sensor). In addition to the tweeting version (which allows for remote data collection) the Ethernet shield also has a micro SD card reader, allowing for storage of data offline for collection at a later date.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Biblio autocomplete

A new Drupal module: Biblio autocomplete.

Previsoulsy as part of eMonocot we started to use the IPNI webservice to autocomplete some fields in the Biblio content type. As one of the eMonocot objectives is to "Ensure that the tools developed are compliant with zoological nomenclature" I have extended this functionality to use the ZooBank API which is currently in a testing phase. In addition values for the autocomplete suggestions can be made from values previous entered in other Biblio nodes.

Instead of having either previsously entered values, IPNI or ZooBank attempt to autocomplete the field this module has been developed to allow any combination of these plugins to attempt the autocompletion. This will have uses in cases like the recent Lyme Regis Geo-BioBlitz where a single classification spand both animal and plant kingdoms (in this case the Dictioanry of UK Species).

The module is designed so that additional plugin modules can easily contribute results for other webservices.

This work was done as part of eMonocot as a contribution to the Scratchpads project.