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Article
Publication date: 21 December 2021

Brendan Luyt

The astonishing thing about Wikipedia is that despite the way it is produced, the product is as good as it is and not far worse. But this is no reason for complacency. As…

Abstract

Purpose

The astonishing thing about Wikipedia is that despite the way it is produced, the product is as good as it is and not far worse. But this is no reason for complacency. As others have documented, Wikipedia has representational blind spots, produced by the nature of its editorial community and their discursive conventions. This article wishes to look at the potential effect of sources on certain of these blind spots.

Design/methodology/approach

The author used an extended example, the Wikipedia article on the Philippine–American War, to illustrate the unfortunate effects that accompany a lack of attention to the kind of sources used to produce narratives for the online encyclopaedia. The Philippine–American War article was chosen because of its importance to American history. The war brought to the fore a debate over the future of the USA and the legitimacy of a republic acquiring overseas colonies. It remains controversial today, making it essential that its representation on Wikipedia is soundly constructed.

Findings

Inattention to sources (a lack of bibliographical imagination) produces representational anomalies. Certain sources are privileged when they should not be and others are ignored or considered as sub-standard. Overall, the epistemological boundaries of the article in terms of what the editorial community considers reliable and what the community of scholars producing knowledge about the war think as reliable do not overlap to the extent that they should. The resulting narrative is therefore less rich than it otherwise could be.

Originality/value

While there exists a growing literature on the representational blind spots of Wikipedia (gender, class, geographical region and so on), the focus has been on the composition of the demographics of the editorial community. But equally important to the problem of representation are the sources used by that community. Much literature has been written that seeks to portray the social world of the marginalized, but it is not used on Wikipedia, despite it easily meeting the criteria for reliability set by the Wikipedia community. This is a tragic oversight that makes Wikipedia's aim to be a repository for the knowledge of the world, a laudable goal to strive for, even if in reality unobtainable, even harder to achieve than ever.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2021

Mohamed M. Mostafa

This paper aims to examine the structure and dynamics of scholarly publications dealing with Wikipedia. The research also aims to investigate how such research evolved…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the structure and dynamics of scholarly publications dealing with Wikipedia. The research also aims to investigate how such research evolved since its launch in 2001.

Design/methodology/approach

Wikipedia has grown to be the biggest online encyclopedia in terms of comprehensiveness, reach and coverage. Based on 1,040 PubMed Wikipedia documents written by 5,280 authors over two decades (2001–2021), this paper conducts a bibliometric review of the intellectual structure of scholarly publications dealing with Wikipedia.

Findings

Results show that annual scholarly publications on Wikipedia growth rate is 13.26. Major outlets publishing Wikipedia’s research are PloS One, the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Nucleic Acids Research, Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, Bioinformatics and the International Journal of Medical Informatics. Results also show that the author collaboration network is very sparse, signifying rather negligible collaboration among the authors. Furthermore, results reveal that the Wikipedia research institutions’ collaboration network reflects what is sometimes termed Wikipedia’s “North-South divide,” indicating limited collaboration between rich and poor nations’ institutions. Finally, the multiple correspondence analysis applied to obtain the Wikipedia research conceptual map and its intellectual structure reveals the intellectual thrust and the diversity of the scholarly publications dealing with Wikipedia.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, this research represents the first application of bibliometric methods to investigate two decades of scholarly publications dealing with Wikipedia based on the PubMed database.

Details

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-9342

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Article
Publication date: 22 September 2021

Wazzuha Amina and Nosheen Fatima Warraich

This study aims to explore the trustworthiness of Wikipedia information in terms of accuracy, stability, objectivity and validity among university students along with…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the trustworthiness of Wikipedia information in terms of accuracy, stability, objectivity and validity among university students along with their perceptions toward the quality of the information in Wikipedia.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used to use a quantitative research design based on the survey method. The questionnaire was designed with the help of literature followed by a pilot study to check its validity and reliability before data collection. A proportionate stratified sampling technique was used to collect data from students in the graduate program.

Findings

Data showed that the majority of the respondents used Wikipedia information regularly for both academic and leisure purposes. It is also noted that they usually did not edit/add content in Wikipedia entries, though they observed incomplete content in it. Findings revealed that among the four constructs of trustworthiness (accuracy, stability, validity and objectivity), respondents had certain reservations about the accuracy of Wikipedia information. They opined that content from Wikipedia is not stable and is susceptible to alternation. Nevertheless, they believed in the objectivity of Wikipedia information as the contents are verified by an editor/expert and this information is considered unbiased and impartial.

Practical implications

These findings may be helpful to fill the knowledge gap in the body of literature and to understand the accuracy.

Originality/value

The current study is the first one to analyze the trustworthiness of information in Wikipedia entries among university students in the context of a developing country.

Details

Digital Library Perspectives, vol. 38 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5816

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Article
Publication date: 9 July 2021

Scholastica Chizoma Ukwoma, Ngozi Eunice Osadebe, Victoria Nwamaka Okafor and Chinwe Nwogo Ezeani

This study aims to show that digital literacy can serve as a tool for effecting social change and highlights the achievements of an academic library in digital content…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to show that digital literacy can serve as a tool for effecting social change and highlights the achievements of an academic library in digital content creation using the Wikipedia platform.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted qualitative research method, Interview and document analysis were used for data gathering. Data gathered were analysed using content (conceptual) analysis.

Findings

Findings showed that the library has created or edited digital content for various categories of women, such as women in academia, industry and politics. These entries have received more than eight million views over a period of two years, which shows that the entries are being utilised. However, the editing exercise had been confronted with challenges such as accessing reliable citations in terms of the notability and verifiability policy of Wikipedia amongst others.

Practical implications

Currently, people rely more on online resources for their research, leaving physical library resources unused. Even, more students start their research online using Wikipedia. Thus, libraries could create visibility for their physical material using regularly visited sites like Wikipedia and its sister projects such as Wikidata; otherwise, these physical materials will remain invisible to the people that needed them.

Originality/value

Contributing to Wikipedia by creating a new entry or editing an existing one can help students to deepen their knowledge about a subject; Wikipedia editing may serve as an avenue for improving information literacy skills. Drawing from the theory of cyberfeminism as used in the study, information and communications technology has the potential to empower women and transform gender relations.

Details

Digital Library Perspectives, vol. 37 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5816

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Book part
Publication date: 16 October 2018

Piotr Konieczny

This study investigates why contributors to online volunteer organizations reduce activity or discontinue volunteering. First, this analysis, based on a survey of over a…

Abstract

This study investigates why contributors to online volunteer organizations reduce activity or discontinue volunteering. First, this analysis, based on a survey of over a 100 English Wikipedia’s volunteers with the highest edit count, identifies a gap in the research on volunteers burnout/dropout, namely the importance of interpersonal conflict as an understudied yet highly significant factor. Second, this analysis has practical implications for the sustainability of the Wikipedia project. Third, this analysis should outline an underrepresented issue that if generalizable, may help other volunteer organizations identify a key area related to their volunteer burnout/dropout.

Details

Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-895-2

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Book part
Publication date: 1 November 2012

Linda S. Watts

This essay explores an instructional application of Wikipedia within the context of an undergraduate capstone course in historical studies, entitled “Revisiting the…

Abstract

This essay explores an instructional application of Wikipedia within the context of an undergraduate capstone course in historical studies, entitled “Revisiting the Weather Underground.” I wanted student research writing to find a wider audience than the classroom, so devised an assignment which called upon students in this senior seminar to research, write, and publish (via Wikipedia) biographies of individuals associated with this antiwar, anti-imperialist organization. Course membership included both traditional-aged college students and returning students. None had prior experience with social history, biography, publishing, or writing/editing on Wikipedia. Despite the fact that all participants (and I include myself here) had a steep learning curve when it came to the technology necessary to address a reading public through Wikipedia, the students rose to the challenge. The use of Wikipedia as venue shaped the manner in which students thought about their biographical subjects (some of whom could conceivably – and do, in fact – read and respond to the biographies), their subject matter (the Weather Underground), their audience (which included Wikipedia readers and editors internationally), their responsibilities as researchers to be accountable for their characterizations of others’ life stories, their accountability in sourcing information, and their sense of authorship (which all needed to learn to share with strangers encountered through Wikipedia). In reflecting on the assignment, students valued the experience as authentic scholarly communication and lasting historical learning. The featured assignment demanded close partnerships among students, faculty, librarians, educational technologists, and Wikipedia editors/administrators, and served also to dramatize the perils and possibilities of shared inquiry.

Details

Increasing Student Engagement and Retention Using Online Learning Activities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-236-3

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Article
Publication date: 27 August 2021

Denise A. Smith

To date, health information behaviour (HIB) models have not been applied to an exploration of Wikipedia as a consumer health information resource. Wikipedia has been…

Abstract

Purpose

To date, health information behaviour (HIB) models have not been applied to an exploration of Wikipedia as a consumer health information resource. Wikipedia has been situated and is well established as a valuable resource for the general layperson wishing to learn more about their health or the health of a loved one. This paper aims to identify an approach to exploring the role of Wikipedia in consumer health information behaviour (CHIB) that is grounded in a conceptual framework from the library and information science (LIS) discipline.

Design/methodology/approach

The author draws on current HIB models and relevant theories from existing LIS literature and applies them to propose a new definition of CHIB. The author uses this definition to frame Wikipedia as an unexplored consumer health information resource in the LIS scholarship and suggests future directions for placing such investigations within a conceptual framework from LIS.

Findings

The paper finds that Longo's expanded conceptual model of health information-seeking behaviour (ECMHISB) could be valuable and useful for the exploration of CHIB in relation to Wikipedia's health and medical content. Due to Wikipedia's online nature, research framed by these models must acknowledge and take under consideration the digital divide phenomenon and various factors that influence an individual's place within it.

Research limitations/implications

This work builds a foundation upon which future research into the role of Wikipedia's health and medical content in CHIB can be grounded. Using Longo's model, future research might provide insight into who Wikipedia is helping and who it has left behind. LIS scholars, practicing health librarians and perhaps health workers stand to gain a deeper understanding of the potential influence of Wikipedia's health information on its consumers.

Originality/value

For LIS scholars, this paper is novel in the fact that a HIB model has not yet been applied to the study of Wikipedia's health content. This paper provides a foundation for this research.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Book part
Publication date: 1 January 2012

Aleksi Aaltonen and Jannis Kallinikos

The evolution of Wikipedia betrays an increasing reliance on policies and guidelines, signalling certain stabilisation in the knowledge making processes underlying the…

Abstract

The evolution of Wikipedia betrays an increasing reliance on policies and guidelines, signalling certain stabilisation in the knowledge making processes underlying the encyclopaedia. We interpret such a state of affairs as reflecting the need to provide a few principles and guidelines of coordination, in a context that has otherwise been marked by vast diversity, high membership turnover and the lack of traditional exploitative structures. Rather than reflecting bureaucratisation and a shift away from its constitutive principles, the consolidation of these coordinative mechanisms further embeds the distinctive profile of knowledge making processes characteristic of the online encyclopaedia. They reinforce the diversity of the collective (rather than individual capabilities and skills) as the primary source of knowledge and render the mechanisms of harvesting that diversity and assembling it to a reasonable knowledge output key means of social learning.

Details

Managing ‘Human Resources’ by Exploiting and Exploring People’s Potentials
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-506-7

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Toni Sant

The world's most popular noncommercial website is built on five pillars, which include an assumption of good faith and ensuring all points of view are included in every…

Abstract

The world's most popular noncommercial website is built on five pillars, which include an assumption of good faith and ensuring all points of view are included in every encyclopedia article. How does this pan out in the day-to-day reality of fake news and the ever-growing climate of post-truth? How apt are mechanisms established by Wikipedia over a decade ago in the face of unreliable news sources and beliefs based on gut feelings and emotions rather than verifiable evidence? Active editors of Wikipedia firmly believe that this open online encyclopedia and other wikis operating under the same value system are lifeboats for truth seekers in a post-truth society. The mechanisms established over many years for sharing open knowledge through this online platform are even more useful now than they may have been in previous times, even though this too is understandably debatable.

Details

Media, Technology and Education in a Post-Truth Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-907-8

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Book part
Publication date: 1 May 2019

Rachel Wexelbaum

This chapter addresses the current state of librarian participation in the global lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer+ (LGBTQ+) Wikipedia engagement efforts and…

Abstract

This chapter addresses the current state of librarian participation in the global lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer+ (LGBTQ+) Wikipedia engagement efforts and proposes an extended librarian advocacy to advance LGBTQ+ rights and concerns. The author provides a brief history of global LGBTQ+ Wikipedia engagement, librarian involvement in Wikipedia, and librarian participation in global LGBTQ+ Wikipedia initiatives. In the process, the author examines the underrepresentation and invisibility of librarians in global LGBTQ+ Wikipedia engagement efforts and Wikipedia initiatives in general, as well as the barriers that librarians face in becoming active Wikipedian librarians. Based on a review of the literature, the analysis of data gathered from Wikipedia, and the author’s own experiences as an LGBTQ+ Wikipedian librarian, the author recommends strategies for librarians to advocate for and include global LGBTQ+ Wikipedia engagement in their professional practice.

Details

LGBTQ+ Librarianship in the 21st Century: Emerging Directions of Advocacy and Community Engagement in Diverse Information Environments
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-474-9

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