Tag Archives: wikipedia

Wikipedia, a Professor’s Best Friend

“Michael Gorman, a former president of the American Library Association, wrote some years ago that “a professor who encourages the use of Wikipedia is the intellectual equivalent of a dietitian who recommends a steady diet of Big Macs with everything.” If that is true, I must be an intellectual fast-food vendor. I am a professor who not only recommends that my students use Wikipedia but also encourages them to edit and develop it. However, I am in the clear minority in academia. Most professors treat Wikipedia with suspicion and contempt, if not open hatred.” (via The Chronicle of Higher Education)

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Wikipedia’s medical errors and one doctor’s fight to correct them

“You can’t always believe what you read on the internet. That is particularly true when it comes to medical information in the crowd-sourced online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. But one doctor is on a mission to change that. Dr. James Heilman works as an emergency room physician in Cranbrook, B.C., and is also a clinical instructor at UBC. He’s just returned from Wikimania, a Wikipedia conference that was held in London this August, where he encouraged his colleagues to help edit and improve the accuracy of medical information found on Wikipedia.”We know Wikipedia isn’t perfect. We know it can be better,” says Heilman.” (via CBC News)

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Wikimedia Foundation releases its first transparency report

“We are happy to announce the release of the Wikimedia Foundation’s first transparency report. Transparency is a tenet of the Wikimedia movement.  Anyone can see how a Wikipedia article is created and how it evolves, and anyone can contribute to the software that runs the Wikimedia projects. The transparency report we share today is in furtherance of our commitment to such openness. Every year, the Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit organization, receives requests from governments, individuals, and organizations to disclose information about our users or to change content on the Wikimedia projects. This transparency report is the amalgamation of two years of data — it details the number of requests we received, where these requests came from, and how we responded to them.” (via Wikimedia blog)

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For This Author, 10,000 Wikipedia Articles Is a Good Day’s Work

“Sverker Johansson could be the most prolific author you’ve never heard of. Volunteering his time over the past seven years publishing to Wikipedia, the 53-year-old Swede can take credit for 2.7 million articles, or 8.5% of the entire collection, according to Wikimedia analytics, which measures the site’s traffic. His stats far outpace any other user, the group says. He has been particularly prolific cataloging obscure animal species, including butterflies and beetles, and is proud of his work highlighting towns in the Philippines. About one-third of his entries are uploaded to the Swedish language version of Wikipedia, and the rest are composed in two versions of Filipino, one of which is his wife’s native tongue.” (via WSJ)

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Wikipedia pops up in bibliographies, and even college curricula

“All through high school, Ani Schug was told to steer clear of Wikipedia. Her teachers talked about the popular online encyclopedia “as if it wasn’t serious or trustworthy” and suggested it only be used as a tip sheet. Imagine her surprise this spring when her American politics professor at Pomona College assigned the class to write detailed entries for Wikipedia instead of traditional term papers. Turns out it was a lot harder than the students anticipated. Their projects had to be researched, composed and coded to match Wikipedia’s strict protocols. Schug and her classmates wound up citing 218 scholarly legal and newspaper sources for their entry on a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing corporate donations for ballot initiative campaigns.” (via Los Angeles Times)

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New Wikipedia for Android app now in Beta

“The Wikipedia for Android app has a new look, and you can help test its new reading and editing features! The Wikimedia Foundation Mobile Apps team has just released a beta version of a new Android app to the Google Play Store. This native app features a major design update and focuses on creating a faster and more immersive browsing and reading experience. We’ve added a history of recently viewed articles, so you can figure out how searching for that hot new Summer blockbuster led you to reading about the developmental biology of the jellyfish. We’re also featuring an interactive table of contents to help you navigate long articles and get you to the information you need faster and easier.” (via Wikimedia blog)

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Wikipedia Is NOT A Doctor — And A Study Confirms It

“Your high school teacher said it best: Wikipedia is not a reliable source. The online encyclopedia that can be edited by experts and idiots alike is an easy source of information when trying to learn about a new topic. But a new study confirms what we all (hopefully) already know: Many entries — especially medical entries — contain false information, so don’t use Wikipedia in place of a doctor. Dr. Robert Hasty of Campbell University in North Carolina, along with a team of researchers, published the study in this month’s issue of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. The study calls the information published in 20,000-plus medical-related Wikipedia entries into question.” (via Huffington Post It)

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Can Wikipedia Ever Be a Definitive Medical Text?

“Every time I panic unreasonably over some minor bodily abnormality—which is often—I take to the Internet. I’m far from the only one—72 percent of Internet users have looked online for health information in the past year, according to Pew Research. And though as a responsible health editor, I should of course say that if you really think something’s wrong, you should go to the doctor, I know that even if you do go to the doctor, chances are you’ll Google whatever she tells you anyway. Wikipedia being the sixth-largest site on the whole wide Internet, these people searching for medical information online are often going to end up there. Whether or not they should be doing it, they are. I am. Patients are, and so are doctors. Which is why efforts to improve the quality of Wikipedia’s medical information are important—if you can’t lead people away from the fountain of crowd-sourced knowledge, you can at least try to unmuddy the waters.” (via The Atlantic)

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UC Berkeley grad to expand Wikipedia’s scholarly offerings

“Kevin Gorman is the proverbial walking encyclopedia – the kind of guy who can explain the significance of the Winter War of 1939, but also name nearly every species in the fungus kingdom. Gorman, 22, UC Berkeley Class of ’13, spent his youth guzzling up the pages of Encyclopedia Britannica before eventually becoming a full-blown Wikipedia fanatic. Now Gorman is UC Berkeley’s official Wikipedian-in-Residence, a liaison of sorts between the hallowed halls of academia and that essential ingredient in so many last-minute term papers. In short, his charge is to improve the quality and quantity of information on the collaborative online encyclopedia. It is the first post of its kind at a university.” (via SFGate)

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Harvard Is Hiring Someone to Post on Wikipedia All Day

“If you enjoy scouring Wikipedia all day, making sure that posts are accurate and information entered into the database isn’t fudging important historical facts and details, then Harvard’s Houghton Library has a job for you. They’re seeking a “Wikipedian-in-residence,” or, to better describe what that means, a person who will “dedicate time to working in-house at an organization” to create new pages and update existing pages on the encyclopedia-esque website.” (via Boston Magazine)

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