What’s So Good About Wikipedia?<br />Laura Wilson<br />Reference Librarian<br />Framingham State College<br />July 14, 2010<br />
Wikipedia : The Basics<br />Free online encyclopedia!<br />No login required, anyone can access the information provided<br /> Coverage range<br />Includes 3,349,000+ English language articles (as of July 13, 2010)<br />Currency<br />Articles can be edited immediately, providing the most recent information available<br />
Wikipedia : The Basics<br />Simple, user-friendly layout<br />Easy to navigate<br />Available in many languages<br />Links to additional info, source citations, suggestions for further reading<br />Each article has a discussion page and history<br />You can view when changes were made to the page, and any discussion about those changes<br />
Wikipedia : The Basics<br />Most text and many images are under Creative Commons & GNU Free Documentation License<br />Can freely distribute and reproduce content<br />Many contributors from all over the world<br />Nearly 12,700,000 registered users (as of 7/13/2010)<br />Anyone can contribute and edit<br /> reduces cultural bias <br />Hosted by Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization<br />
Wikipedia’s Bad Reputation<br />Why does Wikipedia have a bad reputation?<br />
Wikipedia’s Bad Reputation<br />Anyone can write / edit an article<br />Not “scholarly”<br />Vandalism<br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Bad_Jokes_and_Other_Deleted_Nonsense<br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Most_vandalized_pages<br />
Wikipedia Has Standards<br />Information provided must cite verifiable, published sources<br />Particularly if someone disputes presented information<br />If disputed information is not cited, it will be deleted<br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Template_messages/Disputes<br />Articles must not present original research<br />All articles must be written from a neutral point of view<br />
Wikipedia Has Standards<br />Over 1,500 administrators (as of 7/13/2010)<br />Mediators in content disputes<br />Delete articles<br />Block vandals accounts / IP addresses<br />Protect vandalized articles from further edits<br />Wikipedia explicitly states that not all content is valid³<br />Advises to be “wary of one single source” and to “check references”<br />
Wikipedia and Educators<br />Professors have created assignments for students based on Wikipedia <br />Edit existing articles<br />Create new articles <br />Discuss strengths and weaknesses of existing articles on a topic relative to the course<br />Cover course content and information literacy<br />Contribute / edit content themselves<br />Add scholarly information of experts<br />
Wikipedia and Librarians<br />Use Wikipedia in library instruction sessions to teach information literacy<br />Have students evaluate good and bad aspects of particular articles<br />Contribute / edit information<br />More scholarly environment<br />Add relevant external links to library homepage / collections<br />Meet the users where they are ª<br />
Sister Projects of Wikipedia<br />Hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation<br />Wikiversity: Free learning materials & activities for all levels (pre-school – university, professional development)<br />Wikimedia Commons: freely usable multimedia files<br />Wikiquote: “free quote compendium”<br />Wikitionary: free content, multilingual dictionary<br />Wikibooks: open content textbooks / books<br />Wikinews: free news source<br />Wikispecies: free species directory<br />
“We know from history that prohibition is not a viable means to control consumption of “bad” things. This is especially the case for Wikipedia if information professionals are sneakily using it themselves. Like the 1930s war on alcohol, a ban on Wikipedia would mean far more losses than gains.” – William Badke, Trinity Western University¹<br />
Works Cited<br />²Badke, William. (2008). What to Do with Wikipedia. Infolitland, 32:2. Retrieved from: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/<br />ª Pressley, Lauren and McCallum, Carolyn J. (2008). Putting the library in Wikipedia. Online 32:5. Retrieved from: www.infotoday.com/online/sep08/Pressley_McCallum.shtml<br />¹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Verifiability<br />³ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Researching_with_Wikipedia<br />
Suggested Reading<br />Broughton, John. (2008). Wikipedia: The missing manual. Beijing; Cambridge: O’Reilly.<br />Lally, Ann M. and Dunford, Carolyn E. (2007). Using Wikipedia to extend digital collections. D-Lib Magazine 13:5/6. <br />Pollard, Elizabeth Ann. (2008). Raising the stakes: Writing about witchcraft on Wikipedia. History Teacher 42:1. <br />
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