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Wikipedia Demystified: A GLAM Perspective

A presentation to the 2015 Virginia Humanities Conference about the relationship between museums and Wikipedia.

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Wikipedia Demystified:
the G.L.A.M perspective
Sara Snyder
Smithsonian American
Art Museum
@sosarasays #VHC15
We all use Wikipedia, but what
do we really know about it?
Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia
• Freely licensed without restrictions
• All content created & maintained by
volunteers
• Non-profit educational project, supported
by Wikimedia Foundation
• All edits/versions are recorded indefinitely
• 4,853,274+ articles in English
• 35 million articles in 288 different languages
(see size of Wikipedia)
“A Wikipedia
article is a
process, not a
product.”
-Clay Shirky
Biggest. Encyclopedia. Ever.
Who or what merits an
article in Wikipedia?
If a person or topic has received
significant coverage in reliable
sources that are independent of
the subject, then it is deemed
“notable.”
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Notability

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Wikipedia Demystified: A GLAM Perspective

  • 1. Wikipedia Demystified: the G.L.A.M perspective Sara Snyder Smithsonian American Art Museum @sosarasays #VHC15
  • 2. We all use Wikipedia, but what do we really know about it?
  • 3. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia • Freely licensed without restrictions • All content created & maintained by volunteers • Non-profit educational project, supported by Wikimedia Foundation • All edits/versions are recorded indefinitely • 4,853,274+ articles in English • 35 million articles in 288 different languages (see size of Wikipedia)
  • 4. “A Wikipedia article is a process, not a product.” -Clay Shirky
  • 6. Who or what merits an article in Wikipedia? If a person or topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, then it is deemed “notable.” See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Notability
  • 7. Wikipedia Content Standards • Neutral Point of View • Verifiability reliable sources, cited correctly • No “original research” i.e. unpublished data, opinions, speculation • Assume good faith towards other editors • Avoid conflict of interest (i.e. editing page about self, See Wikipedia: Policies and guidelines
  • 8. Can I edit the Wikipedia article about my workplace? Possibly, but only under the right conditions. When advancing outside interests is more important to an editor than advancing the aims of Wikipedia, that editor stands in a conflict of interest (CoI). Your #1 priority must be: making a better, more useful encyclopedia article.
  • 9. How to Avoid Conflict of Interest Editing • Register a unique user account • Disclose your affiliations (see sample CoI Statement) • Cite authoritative sources • Don’t remove “controversies” • Recognize that no one person can “own” a Wikipedia article or control its content
  • 10. The #GLAMWiki Project: A Global Network & Community
  • 11. Alignment of Mission and Vision Smithsonian Institution The increase and diffusion of knowledge Shaping the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world Wikimedia Foundation Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment. The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it
  • 12. Wikipedia & GLAMs: a relationship of mutual benefit Wikipedia benefits from GLAM resources, resulting in better articles and higher quality of sources cited GLAMs benefit from having information about their collections available to a larger audience, and from the experience of working with volunteers Researchers & students benefit from consulting better quality, authoritative Wikipedia articles Volunteer editors benefit from the learning experience of researching, writing and collaborating on articles
  • 13. Three Easy Ways to Get Involved with Wikipedia
  • 14. Improve the quality of the Wikipedia articles around a topic while increasing the visibility of your instiution’s resources. 1.) Add citations to articles
  • 16. 2.) Attend or host edit-a-thons • Spotlight a collection or theme for improvement on Wikipedia • Build relationships with local Wikipedians • Training opportunity: improve information literacy • Gain visibility on the Web & within the Wikipedia community Wikimedia DC is awesome! wikimediadc.org @WikimediaDC
  • 17. 3.) Host a Wikipedian volunteer, intern, or visiting scholar • Sustain involvement from passionate Wikipedians beyond one-off events • Work with Wikipedians online or on-site • Turn to campus groups, or contacts at The Wikipedia Library project for ideas!

Editor's Notes

  1. Self introduction