4 November 2013

Wise use of Wikipedia: an introduction

Many people have used Wikipedia, or equivalents in other countries. Also, many people have heard warnings about the quality of Wikipedia entries. You will be discussing an article about Wikipedia in week 7, in smaller seminar groups. This cartoon illustrates one problem that can occur (though obviously this problem of someone publishing an unchecked (untrue) "fact" in a reputable publication does not only happen with Wikipedia!

One thing you can do is to find out more about how Wikipedia works, and use all the parts of a Wikipedia page: not just the entry itself but the "View History" tab to see what changes have been made (you can also look at previous versions of the entry) and the "Talk" tab.

This is the "About" page on Wikipedia: from here you can find out a lot about how it is compiled and edited: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About

For those of you really interested in this topic, there is an interesting ethnographic study of Wikipedia editors:
Sundin, O. (2011). Janitors of knowledge: constructing knowledge in the everyday life of Wikipedia editors. Journal of Documentation, 67(5), 840-­862. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1949863
This is the open access preprint version http://lup.lub.lu.se/luur/download?func=downloadFile&recordOId=1693489&fileOId=2277516

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