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Libraries and Wikis


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OLA/WLA 2008

OLA/WLA 2008

Published in: Technology, Education

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    • 1. Authority, Legitimacy and Liability in a Wiki World Brenda Hough Library Training Specialist MaintainIT Project [email_address] Experts? We don’t need no stinkin’ experts!
    • 2. What’s a wiki?
      • Collaborative
      • Fast
    • 3. Wikipedia
      • 10 million articles in over 250 languages
      • Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia
      • Wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought
      • Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, or textbook
      • Wikipedia is not a crystal ball
      • Wikipedia is not censored
      • Wikipedia is not a democracy
      • Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy
      • Wikipedia is not a battleground
      • Wikipedia is not an anarchy
      About Wikipedia
    • 4. “ Britannica just gets used as kindling now.” - Stephen Colbert Denis Diderot French Enlightenment Jimmy Wales Postmodern Experiment
    • 5. Who is an expert?
      • “ For too long the elite who study things got to say what is or isn’t real.” –Stephen Colbert
    • 6. Who is an expert? “ It’s the first place I go when I’m looking for knowledge or when I want to create some.” – Stephen Colbert
    • 7. When do you want an expert? “ If you are faced with the prospect of having brain surgery who would you rather it be performed by - a surgeon trained at medical school or someone who has read Wikipedia?” - Article in 4/14/08 Computerworld;1828979092;pp;1 Straw man argument?
    • 8. My informal Wikipedia usage survey Gender: Age: Occupation: 2/3 male 1/3 female 30s, 40s, 50s (most in 30s)
      • Chemistry Professor
      • Corporate Attorney
      • Engineering Management
      • Social Worker
      • School Social Worker
      • GIS Manager
      • Customer Service Manager
      • Payroll Specialist
      • PhD Student – Computer Science
      • PhD Student – Interdisciplinary Social Science
      • Grad Student – French Philosophy
    • 9. My informal Wikipedia usage survey 7 Questions
      • What did you search for?
      • Did you go directly to Wikipedia or…?
      • Why were you searching for this?
      • Were you satisfied?
      • If Wikipedia did not exist, how…?
      • How will you use the information?
      • Does it matter that it is user-created?
    • 10. 1. What did you search for?
      • Sugar subsidies
      • RNA interference
      • Sarajevo, Bosnia
      • Ani DiFranco
      • Secular humanism
      • The Felony Murder Rule
      • Helium
      • Ajax
      • How to invert a 2x2 matrix
    • 11. 2. Did you go directly to Wikipedia or did you get there from a search engine, or??
      • According to Pew report, 70% come from search engine
      • My results: ½ from Google, ¼ directly accessed, and ¼ followed link from email or article
      • Some did a Google search with Wikipedia as one of the search terms
    • 12. 3. Why were you searching for this?
      • Work related
      • Personal interest
      • Homework assignment
      • Argument
    • 13. RNA Interference “ It was for work.  I was reading about RNA interference for a class I was teaching.  The academic literature was a bit hard to understand, so I went to Wikipedia to look for a more ‘layman’s terms’ description of how it worked.  After getting the basic concepts down from Wikipedia, I was able to go back to the academic literature and understand the details better.”
    • 14. Sarajevo, Bosnia “ I met a colleague who emigrated here from Bosnia and I wanted to be able to converse with him in an intelligent way about his country. I didn’t want to seem like a stupid American by not valuing where he came from.”
    • 15. “ hobby shooters email list discussion of the legal issues of an armed person shooting someone during a burglary” Felony Murder Rule
    • 16. A priori “ I heard it used in a television show dialogue, and even though I was familiar with the term, it was used in a serious, then again in a ribbing manner.  The dialogue exchange was quick and I didn't think I caught the gist of what they were trying to convey.”
    • 17. 4. Satisfaction
      • Mostly satisfied
      • Very satisfied
      • Extremely satisfied
      • Somewhat satisfied
      • Only one search rated as dissatisfied
      :-) ;-) 8-)
    • 18. 5. If not Wikipedia, then…?
    • 19. Mon Calamari Star Ship
      • Star Wars Databank
      • Wookieepedia
    • 20. RNA Interference “ I would have tried to find another resource, probably a textbook.  This would have been much harder, and probably would have involved (gasp) a trip to the library.”
    • 21. Instrumental variables “ If Wikipedia did not exist, I would have clicked another link from Google that I thought would be useful. Since I had a general idea about what I was looking for, a pdf of some econometrics course notes would have been sufficient. If the internet wasn't available, I could have looked it up in one of books or notes, but that would have taken too long (too long meaning more than a minute).”
    • 22. 6. Application
      • Argument
      • To supplement my understanding
      • Beginning background knowledge for myself
      • Needed to refresh my memory
    • 23. RNA Interference “ I used the information to supplement my understanding of the topic.  I also shared it with my students.  They liked the Wikipedia version of the material better than the literature articles.”
    • 24. 7. Does knowing it’s user-created concern you?
      • Wikipedia is a user-created encyclopedia.
      • Visitors do not need specialized qualifications to contribute.
      • Does that impact your usage of or feelings about the information you found there? If so, how?
    • 25. Does knowing it’s user-created concern you? “ Yes.  The "up" side is that I usually find the Wikipedia entries on science topics to be more accessible than the scientific literature.  I wonder if this is because graduate students and/or people who are not deeply entrenched in the field are more likely to write the entries (so they have more of a layman's perspective on how to describe it). Of course the "down" side is that the facts may not always be accurate.  
    • 26. “ As a GIS (Geographic Information System) professional I tend to use the Internet to look for a specific technical topic or recent article.  When I need to know about something for GIS, I usually search an industry specific website.   If I need to explain a basic GIS topic to somebody outside my profession I will use Wikipedia.  Otherwise I would have to dig into my old text books.” Does knowing it’s user-created concern you?
    • 27. “ Generally, I am pro-democratization of information, I am, however sort of concerned about students who use it as a primary source. All in all, I think that the truth will be sussed out by public openness and that is good all around.” Does knowing it’s user-created concern you?
    • 28. Citizendium We aim at credibility, not just quantity.
    • 29. Veropedia http://
    • 30. Conservapedia The Trustworthy Encyclopedia http://
    • 31. Helium A capitalist version of Wikipedia http://
    • 32. OpenWetWare Biology and Biological Engineering http:// /
    • 33. Wookieepedia The Star Wars Wiki http://
    • 34. Libraries creating wikis
      • Collaboration between Libraries (45.7 percent); 
      • Collaboration between Library staff (31.4 percent); 
      • Collaboration between Library Staff and Patrons (14.3 percent); 
      • Collaboration between Patrons (8.6 percent).
      Bejune, Matthew M. (2007). Wikis in Libraries. Information Technology and Libraries , 26(3), 27-39. Library Wikis http:// /
    • 35. Collaboration between Libraries
    • 36. Collaboration between Library Staff https:// /
    • 37. Collaboration between Library Staff and Patrons http://
    • 38. Collaboration between Patrons http:// /
    • 39. Libraries adding links to Wikipedia
      • University of Washington project
      • Using Wikipedia to extend digital collections
      External links
    • 40. Liability
      • Don’t:
      • Legal Advice
      • Investment Advice
      • Do:
      • Disseminate collected information
      • Include a disclaimer about the possibility of changes or errors
    • 41. Thank you! Questions? Comments? Brenda Hough [email_address]