User:DGG/Wikipedia Loves Libraries: Crowdsourcing Information Worldwide: The Wikipedia Phenomenon

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Crowdsourcing Information Worldwide: The Wikipedia Phenomenon
Tuesday 25-Oct-2011 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM EDT
Rutgers University Libraries --Alexander Library

(based on previous talks in New York )

Why is Wikipedia used[edit]

  • Importance--by far the most used online encyclopedia-- and the most reference source in the world -- over 338 million unique visitors a month Comparisons
  • Language reach: over 260 languages Statistics
  • Geographic reach
  • Extensive subject coverage -- 16 million articles, 5 million illustrations and media files

How did it get to this status?[edit]

  • Comprehensive modern encyclopedia Wikipedia:Five pillars
  • Neutral point of view
  • Wikipedia is free content (CC 3.0-BY-SA) that anyone can edit
  • Open community and open community processes
  • Wikipedia does not have firmly fixed rule

Overall organization[edit]

English Wikipedia (enWP)[edit]

Factors affecting the academic use of Wikipedia[edit]

Inhibiting factors and their Fixes[edit]

  1. Lack of assured reliability:     analyses of reliability, article talk pages, and projects to improve quality
  2. Vandalism of article content:     active removal of vandalism by large editor base, and passive removal by filters
  3. Incomplete coverage:     increased diversity of contributors
  4. Weak coverage in many academic fields:     increased academic participation and class projects
  5. frequent lack of adequate referencing:     growing insistence on sourcing; increasing availability of good sourcing
  6. Instability of article content:    ability to link to specific versions
  7. Impermanence of the project as a while:     mirrors
  8. Pressure groups & cabals     wider knowledgeable participation
  9. Cultural bias
    1. Recentist     wider knowledgeable participation
    2. Anglocentric     wider knowledgeable participation
    3. Political inclinations     wider knowledgeable participation

Reliability factors applying to Wikipedia[edit]

  1. Multiple ways to judge quality "How to Judge the Quality of a WIkipedia Page" by Tim Farley
  2. Large number of contributors
  3. Varied background of contributors
    1. Education
    2. Interest
    3. Geography
    4. Language knowledge
  4. Specialist contributors
  5. WikiProjects and Workgroups
  6. Screening of contributions
    1. Recent changes
    2. Watchlists
    3. New Page feed
    4. Login to start pages
    5. Edit filters
    6. New Pages
    7. Patrolled pages for Biography of Living people (forthcoming)
    8. Quality ratings: featured articles
    9. Deletion
    10. Blocking
  7. Policy: Reliable Sources
  8. Policy: Not Censored
  9. Edit histories
  10. OTRS

Additional factors encouraging reliability[edit]

  1. Ability to see edit history
  2. Talk page discussions
  3. International contributor base and links to other language Wikipedias

Negative factors affecting reliability[edit]

  1. Concentration of editors on popular topics
  2. Anonymity
  3. Impermanence

Participation by academics[edit]


  • Anti-elitism
    • Lack of respect for credentials
    • anonymity
    • Demographics (youth) & anti-academic attitude
  • Amateurism
    • Lack of seriousness
    • Pervasive low quality
  • Mismatch with academe
    • Lack of respect in academic world
    • Lack of clear authorship
    • Inability to draw original conclusions
    • Cooperative authorship
    • Distinctive prose style


Wikipedia Ambassadors Program[edit]


Galleries, Libraries and Museums [[1]]

Getting Started[edit]





Further reading[edit]

Key resources[edit]

  • How Wikipedia Works by Phoebe Ayers, Charles Matthews, and Ben Yates (also available in print)
  • the free online version of Wikipedia: The Missing Manual by John Broughton (also available in print)
  • "Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia" by Darren W. Logan, Massimo Sandal, Paul P. Gardner, Magnus Manske1, Alex Bateman in PLOS Computational Biology (2010) 6(9): e1000941. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000941 [2]
  • "Information quality discussions in Wikipedia" by Besiki Stvilia, Michael B Twidale, Les Gassner, & Linda C. Smith (2005) [3]
  • "Who The Hell Writes Wikipedia, Anyway?" by Henry Blodget, Jan. 3, 2009 Business Insider [4]
  • books about Wikipedia


  • WP: as a prefix means a page located in the part of Wikipedia devoted to discussing the project, rather than the actual articles
  • WT: as a prefix means the talk pages for WP: pages