It will be seen that this mere painstaking burrower and grub-worm of a poor devil of a Sub-Sub appears to have gone through the long Vaticans and street-stalls of the earth, picking up whatever random allusions to whales he could anyways find in any book whatsoever, sacred or profane. — Moby-Dick
Hi I'm Ben. I've been working for more than a decade at the intersection of libraries, publishing, arts, and the web. I'm not a librarian, but a fellow traveler with libraries. They feel like a natural habitat to me. I spent 8 years at the New York Public Library where I founded NYPL Labs, an innovation program which spearheaded a wide range of digitization, open data, and crowdsourcing initiatives. Before that I was at the Institute for the Future of the Book, running digital publishing experiments and blogging about digital culture, copyleft and open access, "Web 2.0", Wikipedia, and the rise of Google and Amazon in the digital culture space. I’ve long advocated for deeper collaboration between GLAMs/academia and the Wikimedia movement and strongly believe that these ecosystems can and should become more symbiotic.
As of recently (August '17), I now work at the Wikimedia Foundation, where I lead a global team supporting GLAM and Education programs across the movement, and developing strategic initiatives such as The Wikipedia Library and Structured Data on Commons. I believe Wikidata, and Linked Open Data practices more broadly, are bringing Wikimedia projects to a new threshold, opening opportunities for unprecedented exchange and integration between traditional knowledge domains and with the wider web ecosystem.
I admit that I'm a neophyte as far as contributing to projects goes. Over the past years, in addition to my work in libraries, I was highly active as a performer, director, and curator in the indie theater scene in New York City. Most of my spare time and creative energy was spent making performance projects and, for a time, helping to run a small workshop space in the West Village. Things have quieted down on that front (though not totally) and I'm looking to put more time into volunteering on wiki projects. Feeling most drawn to Wikidata.
Pointers and advice are welcome and appreciated. Come say hi!
Disclaimer: I work for or provide services to the Wikimedia Foundation, but this is my personal account. Edits, statements, or other contributions made from this account are my own, and may not reflect the views of the Foundation.