Tag Archives: wikipedia

What Wikipedia’s First Users Got Wrong

“These days the real challenge would be finding someone who doesn’t use Wikipedia all the time. But, back in 2003, when TIME first mentioned the word in its pages, the challenge in writing about Wikipedia was explaining what it was. Wikipedia had launched on Jan. 15, 2001 — that’s 14 years ago Thursday — and contained a mere 150,000 entries when TIME explained that “To contribute to wikipedia.org, an online encyclopedia, all you need is Web access.” (via TIME)

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Can Wikipedia Disrupt News As It Did Encyclopedias?

“Wikipedia revolutionized the way people amass information. It provides a free, one-stop shop for the Internet’s collective knowledge on any given topic. Now, one of the site’s founders, Larry Sanger, is launching a ‘Wikipedia for news’ called Infobitt. Infobitt says it will be “the world’s first crowdsourced front page news site.” It calls on users to post news events and aggregate summarized facts for each story. The importance of each fact is determined by votes, which take the form of dragging and dropping the piece of information into a ranking of 10 slots. The collection of facts under each story is called a ‘bitt.’ The importance of each bitt is also voted on in this way.” (via Newsweek)

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Around half of Wikipedia’s medical editors are experts

“Wikipedia is known to be a go-to place for healthcare information for both professionals and the lay public. The first question everyone asks is: but how reliable is it? In a new study, just published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, we took a different approach. We wanted to know more about the people behind the medical pages on Wikipedia, what background do they come from, whether they have specific interests in health and what drives them to contribute to Wikipedia. Because getting health-related content on Wikipedia right is about more than getting the facts correct. It’s about how the information is presented, how topics are covered and what perspectives taken. You can read the paper here: http://www.jmir.org/2014/12/e260” (via Wikimedia blog)

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Wikipedia Is More Biased Than Britannica, but Don’t Blame the Crowd

“The sixth most visited website in the world is an encyclopedia that anyone can edit, managed by a loosely coordinated group of volunteers from around the globe. If the wisdom of the crowd has a poster child, Wikipedia is it. But new research shows that the average Wikipedia article is more politically biased than its Britannica counterpart. That sounds like an indictment of crowdsourcing, but on closer inspection it instead reveals what makes the crowd really work. In a working paper released last month, Shane Greenstein of Kellogg and Feng Zhu of Harvard Business School measured the political bias of Wikipedia and Britannica by counting the number of politically charged words in pairs of articles. Previous research has demonstrated that political partisans use different language. In the U.S., Republicans are more likely to use terms like “illegal immigration” and “border security.” Democrats are more likely to use “war in Iraq”, “civil rights”, or “trade deficit”. These word choices predict the speaker’s ideological slant.” (via Harvard Business Review)

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Three Questions and Three Answers as Food for Thought About the Future of Wikipedia

“Wikipedia prides itself of being the encyclopedia of the 21st century. Except that in the 21st century there are no encyclopedias. Wikipedia has amazingly removed this category from the face of the earth. Since we already are the biggest, most updated, shared and common encyclopedia in the world – and mostly since we are virtually the only one left – this is the time to understand what our future holds. If we settle for the status quo and only try to preserve what we have, we will soon be left behind. If we really want to fulfill our vision and provide every single human being free access to the sum of all knowledge, we should ask ourselves – where is this knowledge?” (via Wikimedia blog)

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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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