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What's so good about Wikipedia? Read the presentation to find out.

What's so good about Wikipedia? Read the presentation to find out.



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    Wikipedia Wikipedia Presentation Transcript

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