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  1. 1. WikipediaWise You use it—so use it wisely!
  2. 2. Today’s Goals Understand the premise and purpose of Wikipedia Understand the strengths and limitations of Wikipedia Learn how to evaluate Wikipedia articles Practice
  3. 3. Wikipedia Is a multilingual, Web-based, free-content encyclopedia project. Is written collaboratively by volunteers from all around the world. Anyone with internet access can make changes to Wikipedia articles. Has 78 million visitors monthly as of 2010. There are more than 91,000 active contributors working on more than 16,000,000 articles in more than 270 languages. As of today, there are 3,442,449 articles in English. English Wikipedia right now Has no advertising—all donations & grants
  4. 4. Strengths of Wikipedia Up-to-the-minute, often excellent coverage on topical events (unlike traditional paper encyclopedias). In theory, it is eventually is self-correcting--errors to Wikipedia are usually corrected within seconds, rather than within months as it would be for a paper encyclopedia. Current affairs articles, as well as older articles being edited, might be updated hundred of times an hour. Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy makes it an excellent place to gain a quick understanding of topics. Censorship, or imposing "official" points of view is extremely difficult to achieve and almost always fails after a time. One of few sites on the web even attempting neutral, objective, encyclopedic coverage of popular culture.
  5. 5. and more Strengths… There are many non-Western writers, so has many topics not covered fully in other English encyclopedias. Rating system in place. You can find interesting articles on some obscure town or a bizarre hobby written by actual residents and practitioners. People with a passion for a field or topic are those who contribute. See Ocean sunfish Information in Wikipedia is hyperlinked, not linear (like a textbook).
  6. 6. It’s biggest strength… It is a good place to start research on a topic you know little or nothing about. Once evaluated for authoritativeness (we’ll get to that!) it will give you: Key names, dates Key words, events Links to primary sources Links to verifiable sources And then you can begin the research process.
  7. 7. Criticisms o Wikipedia's radical openness also means that any given article may be, at any given moment, in a bad state, such as in the middle of a large edit, or a controversial rewrite. o Notable criticisms include that its open nature makes it not authoritative and unreliable (see Reliability of Wikipedia). o Obvious or subtle vandalism. o Susceptible to attempts by outsiders (or insiders) with an agenda to place a spin on articles. o Edit “wars.”
  8. 8. Who contributes what? Anyone–you do not need specialized qualifications to contribute (a plus and a minus!—yet many professionals do contribute. However some articles (see Martin Luther King, Jr.) are locked. Articles cover existing knowledge, not original research. Most of the articles can be edited by anyone. Substandard or disputed information is subject to removal. Need not worry about accidentally damaging Wikipedia when adding or improving information, as other editors are always around to advise or correct obvious errors.
  9. 9. The reality? May contain false or debatable information. Many articles have much more verifiable, up-to-date, authoritative information than text encyclopedias. Many articles start their lives as partisan; and, after a long process of discussion, debate, and argument, they gradually take on a neutral point of view reached through consensus. Others may, for a while, become caught up in a heavily unbalanced viewpoint which can take some time — months perhaps — to achieve better balanced coverage of their subject. Facts should always be checked against many sources. General encyclopedias are not cited for research. See Ten Things You May Not Know About Wikipedia and Ten Things You May Not Know About images on Wikiped
  10. 10. The ideal article • is well written • is balanced • is neutral • is encyclopedic • has comprehensive, notable, verifiable knowledge
  11. 11. Evaluating the Entries Discussion Tab History Tab Table of Contents Fact Box
  12. 12. Evaluating the Entries Discussion Tab What is it’s rating, if it has one? Are there discussions about the validity of the article? Are questions raised about the article? Does the article topic appear to be controversial or otherwise under debate? .
  13. 13. Evaluating the Entries History Tab Was the article recently created? When was it last edited? (older articles have likely been seen by more people) Have many people contributed to the article, or is the work of only one or two editors? Is there evidence of ongoing edit wars? Is there evidence of heavy or continued vandalism? (constant changes and reversions with edit summaries like “revert” or “rvv vandalism”). If so, check that you have a good version of the page
  14. 14. Evaluating the Entries Table of Contents, References, Notes, See Also, External Links Are there any references and outside links? Are there citations to print sources as well as online sources? Are individual statements referenced with footnotes in the text? Look at the number of Notes. Are the “See also” links (within
  15. 15. Evaluating the Entries Look for….
  16. 16. Evaluating the Entries Look at…
  17. 17. Evaluating the Entries Quality Does it “read” well? Is the topic clearly explained? Are Wikipedia style conventions followed? Is there a well developed Table of Contents? Is the article broken into sections? Is there a clear introductory paragraph? Are proper names and key concepts linked to other Wikipedia articles and are they good?
  18. 18. Featured Content—The Best There are 3,067 featured articles out of 3,442,439 articles on the English Wikipedia— about one in 1,120. Featured articles Featured lists Featured pictures Featured sounds Featured portals Featured topics
  19. 19. “Good” Articles Currently about 10,105 are categorized as good articles (about 1 in 341). “Good articles are articles which are considered to be of good quality but which are not yet, or are unlikely to reach, featured article quality….In short, they should be well written, factually accurate and verifiable, broad in coverage, neutral in point of view, stable, and illustrated, where possible, by relevant images with suitable copyright licenses. Good articles need not be as comprehensive as featured articles, but they should not omit any major facets of the topic.”
  20. 20. Wikipedia Spoken Articles Here is the listing of Wikipedia articles that are read aloud. Many are featured articles. Scroll down to the bottom right of the end of the article and click on the icon.
  21. 21. Isaac Newton Formerly a FA (Featured Article) Why? Still a good article, just not “great” See also: Unconsciousness – Notice warning signs at top of article • Fred Clarke – Notice advisory with name
  22. 22. Evaluating • Unconsciousness – Notice warning signs at top of article – Evaluate by previously mentioned standards • Fred Clarke – Notice advisory with name – Evaluate
  23. 23. Do NOT…
  24. 24. Now, your assignment • Look up 2 of the following topics. • Go to the Discussion tab—how is it rated? • Return to the article, see Notes—are there good resources used to write the article (these are the endnotes or footnotes)? • In the article, see References—can you find at least 5 articles or books that seem authoritative and might be useful for research? • Would you use this article, or any of its Notes or References?
  25. 25. Select from this list Use worksheet to complete Wikipedia assignment
  26. 26. Finally, copyright Created by Kathy Fester Wikipedia images from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Last updated 9/15/2011 WikipediaWise by Kathy Fester is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.