[[Wikipedia 101]]
...Or, how I learned to stop worrying and trust the Internet
[[en:user:Phoebe_Ayers]]
[[February 21]], [[2007]]
Plan of action:
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Introductions
What is Wikipedia?
Wikipedia and librarians: why should you
care?
How to participate
Where to find out more
A quick introduction…
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About me:
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Reference librarian at the University of California,
Davis, in the Physical Sciences & Engineering Library
Recent MLIS graduate (2005)
Wikipedian since 2003
Editor, and involved with Foundation-level projects
Why?
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Librarians should understand the site: it’s not going
away
Revolutionary, important new part of information
landscape
What is it?
“The free encyclopedia”
But also:
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Related to wiki-dictionaries, wiki-textbooks and
citizen journalism projects
A place to find freely licensed images
A reference desk
A huge community
One of the world’s most popular websites
A project with a mission
Wikipedia basics
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GNU/GFDL licensed content: free as in beer and
free as in speech
Based on wiki technology
Open to all and editable by anyone
Edit anonymously or with an account
Funded mostly (>80%) by small
individual donations
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Small budget and 10 paid employees
Vast majority of work from volunteers
Hosting alone costs: $75,000/month
This is why we need money!
Currently:
~ 1,627,000 articles in English
~ 7,470,260 pages in English
~ 44,000 contributors to English (with
more than 5 edits)
200+ languages
~ 5.5 million+ articles in all languages
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:English-language-wikipedia-.png
wikipedia.org
britannica.com
Alexa rank:
Britannica.com daily traffic rank (Feb 2007): 4,240
Wikipedia.org daily traffic rank (Feb 2007): 11
Wikipedia is “more popular”
than…
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Ask Jeeves
Altavista
Google.uk, .ca, .it, .es, .de, etc (but not google.com)
NY Times
BBC
craigslist.org
Britannica.com (400x more popular)
AOL (passed Jan. 2006)
eBay (passed Nov. 2006)
Feb 2007: # 11 site worldwide
Why Wikipedia?
“Imagine a world in which every single
person is given free access to the sum
of all human knowledge…
That’s what we’re doing.”
-- Jimmy Wales
Why is Wikipedia special?
Multilingualism/multiculturalism
 People are using it
 Astonishing size
 It’s remarkably good
 Fundamental change to information
production, dissemination, and
authority:
 You’ve never seen anything like this
before, ever
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How does it work?
Why is wiki syntax special?
And other pressing questions….
What is a Wiki?
Social definition:
A wiki is a tool
for collaboration,
information sharing
and knowledge/content management
Technical definition:
A wiki is a type of software to run a website that
anyone can edit
Lots of different wiki packages available:
MediaWiki (which runs Wikipedia) is just one
The “wiki” was invented in 1995
by Ward Cunningham
Today:
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Dozens of wiki engines & companies on the market,
including:
“Enterprise wikis” – software for company intranets
– (Socialtext, Confluence)
Free wiki hosting services –
– Jotspot, Wikia, Wetpaint
Or, install your own:
– Mediawiki, PhpWiki, Kwiki, etc. etc.
And dozens of communities and projects….
– Including Wikipedia – famous and enormous
How does it work?
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A wiki page starts more or less empty
Anyone can edit
Wiki pages are connected by internal hyperlinks,
And every page should be connected
No ownership of wiki content – anyone can work
on any piece
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6 main editing features:
Most wikis (incld. Wikipedia) have:
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Edit this page - open editing of pages (sometimes with
permission layers)
Distinct syntax – simple, non-html
Discussion – comment on a page or the site
Versioning or “diffs” – you can see every change that’s
been made to a page
Recent changes - can (usually) see all changes made to
the site
Revert – can always change a page back to what it was
before
Reading an article
Article title
Log in or create an account
Permanent link & citation for
this article
In other languages
Edit this page!
Use the edit summary!
Discuss the article
Edit this page to leave a comment about an article.
Page history
Record of all the changes occurring to an article
How to read a Wikipedia (MediaWiki)
article history
Click to compare two versions
Edit summary
IP address of “anonymous edit”
Reversion of most
recent edits to old
version (poss.
vandalism)
Date and time of edit
Compare to
current
version of
article
Or most
recent
preceding
version
Minor edit
Links to user page, user talk page,
and user contribution history
Wikipedia culture:
Or, yes, there are a few rules
Or, why would anyone spend their free
time on this?
Or, is anyone in charge around
here?!?
Wikipedia culture and principles
Most policies based on
The 5 pillars of Wikipedia:
– Wikipedia is an encyclopedia
– Neutral-Point-Of-View (NPOV)
– Free content
– Be bold, but stay cool
– No firm rules!
•http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Five_pillars
Wikipedia culture, cont.
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Anyone can edit: openness is important
Assume good faith
Policies determined by consensus
Dispute resolution is key
Hacker and open source culture
{{sofixit}}
“We make the Internet not suck” – Jimmy Wales
Who’s in charge?
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A confusing (but working) mix of
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Anarchy
Consensus and precedent
Meritocracy
Monarchy
Technocracy
Democracy
Republic
“Wikipedians are flexible about social
methodology: results over process”
Meta:Power structure
Quote: Florence Devourd, current WMF board chair
Wikimedia Foundation
Governed by Board of Directors
Foundation coordinates official (volunteer) positions:
Fundraising, legal, technical development, press, etc
MediaWiki (software)
And the projects:
Wiktionary Wikinews Wikipedia Wikiversity Wikiquote Wikisource Commons
Languages: English (en); German (de); Italian (it); etc.: 250 languages in total
Foundation
board
Arbcom
Developers, stewards, bureaucrats
English-language
Wikipedia
Meritocracy
(who’s respected)
Admins
Long-term users, lots of contribs, heavy community participation
Logged-in users with some contributions
less community participation
Anonymous IP edits
Vandals, trolls, sockpuppets
How does it all get done?
Collaboration
 Individual initiative
 No external or
top-down direction:
volunteers take charge
of and start projects,
write policy in
response to needs
 Strong social
community
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Meetup in Sydney, February 2006
< Austin, TX
^ St. Petersburg, FL – board of
directors and Foundation officers
^ Taipei, Taiwan
^ Seattle, WA
^ Three
developers
in Germany,
Wikimania
conference
2005
< Reykjavik, Iceland
Wikipedia as a reference work
Wikipedia and librarians
Or: should we use it, and when?
Wikipedia as a reference work
Scope: everything
 Three major inclusion guidelines:
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Audience: General
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Verifiability, Neutral Point of View, No Original
Research
Specialized information or treatment ok, especially for
specialty subjects
Not censored for “adult” topics
Authorship: may be anonymous or not
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Exact authors recorded for every article
What Wikipedia is:
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Neutral and unbiased
Inclusive – covers any topic considered
“encyclopedic”
Built on peer review – collaborative writing
and lots of editors means many people to
correct mistakes
Big – much bigger than any printed
encyclopedia
International
What Wikipedia isn’t:
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Uniform
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Uniformly reviewed
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some articles get more attention than others
Finished
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(many) topics are incomplete, unclear, and
possibly wrong
(many other) topics are well explained,
illustrated, referenced
Wikipedia articles can always change
Complete
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There’s always something else to add!
What’s it good for, anyway?
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“Gateway source”
When you know nothing about a topic
Casual information needs
Topics:
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Current topics – events in the news
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Popular culture
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Computers, math and (some) science
 Anything
at all?
Wikipedia and Librarians
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Talk to your patrons
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Gateway source
Not uniformly reviewed
May be inaccurate
Check cataloging and descriptions
Just another source…
And your patrons will use it
Teaching and Wikipedia
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Wikipedia as a source
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Wikipedia and information literacy
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Easier to get to than traditional sources
Wikipedia on the Internet:
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Think about what you read: how is it produced?
Wikipedia as an easy answer:
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Good starting source, poor ending source
Other Net sources may copy Wikipedia: factchecking should mean going to outside print
sources
School policies: many possible variations
Article evaluation criteria
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Edit history
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Discussion page
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Do they exist? What do they reference? Are there in-text
citations?
Text style
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Article evaluated by a wikiproject? Arguments?
References
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how many edits, who, content
Wikified? Follows formatting conventions? Reads well?
Verifiable?
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Check in other sources
What can an info pro do?
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Edit
Add sources!
Categorize
Teach
Provide input …
How?
Create an account
 Dive in…
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–Start
with topics you love
–Participate in fact-check projects
–Tap into the community
–Be bold!
Questions?
Thoughts?
Phoebe Ayers
[email protected]
Slides and various handouts available at:
http://people.lib.ucdavis.edu/psa/FSUclass.html
This file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License :
Cc-by-sa; reuse permissible with attribution; distribute derivative works only under an identical license
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[[Wikipedia 101]] - UC Davis - University Library