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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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  • 1. What’s So Good About Wikipedia?
    Laura Wilson
    Reference Librarian
    Framingham State College
    July 14, 2010
  • 2. 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
  • 3. 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
  • 4. 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
  • 5. Wikipedia’s Bad Reputation
    Why does Wikipedia have a bad reputation?
  • 6. Wikipedia’s Bad Reputation
    Anyone can write / edit an article
    Not “scholarly”
  • 7. 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
  • 8. 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”
  • 9. 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
  • 10. 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
  • 11. 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
  • 12. “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
  • 13. 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:
  • 14. 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.