Faculty perception of Wikipedia in the California State University System

Aline Soules (University Libraries, California State University, East Bay, Hayward, CA, USA)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Publication date: 9 March 2015



The purpose of this paper is to explore whether faculty perceptions of Wikipedia have changed over a five-year period.


A survey was conducted of four universities in the California State University System – California State University, East Bay; Humboldt State University; Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; and California State University, Fresno. Following the survey, respondents who volunteered their contact information were interviewed about their perceptions and/or their assignments/projects involving Wikipedia.


The study showed that, overall, faculty perceptions of Wikipedia have shifted in Wikipedia’s favor and that some faculty members create interesting and unique assignments that involve Wikipedia or Wikipedia-like work.

Research limitations/implications

This study sampled 4 of 23 campuses in the California State University System.

Practical implications

The growing acceptance of Wikipedia has implications for course work with students both in terms of assignments in the discipline and also for the need to ensure students understand how to evaluate sources.

Social implications

The shift to Wikipedia is symptomatic of the larger shift to non-traditional research tools.


The literature discussing faculty perceptions of Wikipedia has not discussed whether faculty perceptions are shifting.



Soules, A. (2015), "Faculty perception of Wikipedia in the California State University System", New Library World, Vol. 116 No. 3/4, pp. 213-226. https://doi.org/10.1108/NLW-08-2014-0096

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