You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Jan 19, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

University of Michigan Ford Presidential Library hires intern to enhance its presence on Wikipedia

By Kellie Woodhouse

Wikipedia entries don't write themselves.


Michael Barera

U-M photo

Roughly 300,000 users have edited a Wikipedia entry more than ten times. Wikipedians, as dedicated Wikipedia editors are called, are the backbone of a website that essentially has become the most extensive encyclopedia of all time.

And, believe it or not, academia may be slowly embracing the 'people's encyclopedia.'

In fact, the University of Michigan just hired a Wikipedian in residence for its Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, one of about 30 such positions worldwide and the first for any presidential library.

Wikipedians in residence are essentially Wikidpedia editors, sometimes compensated and sometimes volunteers, tasked with elevating an organization's profile on Wikipedia. Barera is not being compensated for his work.

Michael Barera, a school of information graduate student, is an intern charged with elevating the library's presence on Wikipedia by enhancing articles with information from the Ford library. His scope includes everything from the late president's family to notable events surrounding his presidency.

“Wikipedia is a completely new outreach venue for us,” Bettina Cousineau, exhibit specialist at the Ford Library and Museum, said in a news release. “Not everyone can visit our museum and library in person, but everyone can visit us online.”

Barera is not new to editing Wikipedian articles.

The self-described "dedicated Wikipedian" has been contributing articles and photos for the website for five years. During his senior year at U-M he was a member of U-M Wikipedians, the first Wikipedia student club in the nation.

This article has been edited to clarify Barera is not getting paid for his internship.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Rod Johnson

Sun, Jan 20, 2013 : 4:39 a.m.

If he's not new to editing Wikipedia, then presumably he's familiar with Wikipedia's policy on paid editing. It's tricky territory.


Sun, Jan 20, 2013 : 12:51 a.m.

300,000 people edited the same Wikipedia entry more than 10 times apiece? Link the entry, I'm curious as to why a single Wikipedia page got edited 3 million times!


Sun, Jan 20, 2013 : 3:17 a.m.

It doesn't say the SAME Wikipedia entry, just A Wikipedia entry. Got it now?


Sun, Jan 20, 2013 : 12:34 a.m.

Great idea, but is an intern the right person to be establishing the Gerald Ford Library's presence on Wiki?

Kai Petainen

Sat, Jan 19, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

awesome idea. congrats!