An interesting initiative for sure.
From an Article in The Signpost:
Editors of Australian-related topics on the English Wikipedia may have noticed an odd addition if they viewed the article’s talk pages. For example, on Talk:Darwin, Northern Territory, they might be drawn in by the question mark, nested within what is often a sea of WikiProject templates: “Need help improving this article? Ask a librarian at the National Library of Australia, or the Northern Territory Library.”
Just what is this?
It’s the newest development in GLAM-Wiki. The National Library of Australia (NLA), the largest reference library in the country, is collaborating with WikiProject Australia on the English Wikipeidia to “make authoritative information about Australia available to the world”. The initiative has been led by Wikimedian Liam Wyatt—the Library’s social media coordinator—and Renee Wilson, one of the institution’s reference librarians, who now coordinates the ask a librarian service. Liam has brought his experience of WMF sites to the NLA, and has been responsible for marketing and communication surrounding the program.
We asked Wyatt about the library’s intentions. He stressed the centrality of search and verification to the professional motivation of librarians: “if there’s anyone who loves a well-structured footnote better than Wikipedians it’s reference librarians, so … we wanted to find a way to work together that was mutually beneficial and in accordance with our respective missions.”
Could other institutions from other countries replicate this model? “Having a reference desk—and the ability to ask questions by computer—is a standard and very important free service that every reference library offers. It’s possible that other libraries might also wish to work with their local community to be involved in a similar way. One of the big questions for us was to have an appropriate scope—therefore these links only appear on articles that have the Wikiproject Australia template in the English Wikipedia. Perhaps in language editions where the country border and the language community have a strong overlap it would make sense for links to appear on all articles, or for a dedicated reference desk to be set up on-wiki, but not on the English Wikipedia.”
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