The National Library of Scotland and Wikimedia UK yesterday announce that they are recruiting a Gaelic Wikimedian to promote the Scottish Gaelic Wikipedia, Uicipeid. The Gaelic Wikimedian will work throughout Scotland to promote the Gaelic language by training people to improve or create resources on Uicipeid. This will include deliver training and events in the Western Isles, Highlands and central Scotland.
The Gaelic Wikipedian will be responsible for designing and delivering a range of activities which will encourage young Gaels to improve their language skills through editing Uicipedia. They will deliver events and workshops and work with Gaelic organisations and communities to increase knowledge about Uicipedia and increase its size and usage. They will support the development of open knowledge and open licenses and prepare progress reports to assess the impact of their work on the development of Uicipeid.
As a Gael, a member of the Wikimedia UK Board and an advocate of open education this is a project that is very close to my heart. I was born and brought up in Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides but sadly I have very little Gaelic. I can talk fluently to sheepdogs and very small children, but that’s about it! I am typical of a generation whose parents and grandparents thought there was little point in passing on their language to us. My father and my granny spoke a lot of Gaelic to me until I was about five but once I started school the Gaelic stopped, and during the 1970’s and early 80’s there was very little provision for Gaelic medium education in the Hebrides. I did one year of Gaelic in secondary school but that was it.
I now have a daughter of my own and as soon as she was old enough to start nursery I decided I wanted her to have the Gaelic medium education that was not available to me. She is now in in her sixth year at Gaelic school, fluent in the language, and loving every minute of her education. She also rolls her eyes in embarrassment at my woeful language skills but I can live with that.
Like many school kids, whenever my daughter is doing research for her school projects, Wikipedia is her first port of call, which obviously is something I encourage. She finds the information and references she needs and then carefully translates what she has learned into Gaelic. It’s a bonus to find an article written in Gaelic in the first place. It goes without saying that if Uicipeid could be expanded it would be an enormously important resource for Gaelic medium education, not just for primary school children to find facts, but for older students to gain valuable digital literacy skills.
Not only is this a wonderful opportunity for a Gaelic speaker to get involved with Wikimedia and the open knowledge community, the project also promises to be of enormous value to Gaelic teachers and learners and, perhaps most importantly, the future generations of young Gaels.
You can find out more about the post from Wikimedia UK, WMUK and National Library of Scotland are hiring a Gaelic Wikipedian and Obraichean Gàidhlig, Gaelic Wikipedian.
And here’s my own little contribution to Uicipeid, a photograph of Stornoway, uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and tagged in Gaelic 🙂