UoL Library Blog

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Wikipedia and Libraries

Posted by sarahw9 on 17 October, 2008

The many uses of Wikipedia to libraries is explored in Putting the Library in Wikipedia by Lauren Pressley and Carolyn J. McCallum. They begin by pointing out that people look to Wikipedia before looking at any traditional library resources on any topic, and that traffic to library websites it dimishing.

Yes we need get our heads together to look at ways to use Wikipedia.  There is the information literacy angle; there have been attempts to integrate it into information literacy education (getting students to edit pages) but with limited success as students often don’t like to do something so public.  There is also the idea of editing the University of Leicester entry, creating one for the library, working to get our collections in there.  Some of the logistical issues (such as not being ‘selfpromoting’) are considered in this article. 

It is also a big change of direction for libraries and librarians – actually going out, editing / creating material for the whole world to see in the name of their library.  Very web 2.0 in fact. 

Have I just got myself another job to do?!

5 Responses to “Wikipedia and Libraries”

  1. ajcann said

    Absolutely. Participate.

  2. gazjjohnson said

    I confess I turn first to Wiki myself, rather than go find a book – quick, easy and if I need to know something in greater detail more accurately then I go off to journals/books etc. And since I edit Wiki pages myself, I’m helping raise the standard of info…erm very very very very^10 slightly.

    I certainly teach students about using wiki as ONE of their resources, alongside anything I do on critical appraisal of information. I mean, just because it’s in a book doesn’t make it any more accurate…

  3. ajcann said

    It’s depressing that my kids are coming home from school with the “you can’t believe anything on Wikipedia” meme (even though it’s the second place they go for homework (after MSN Messenger).

  4. sarahw9 said

    Saying you never use Wikipedia is a bit like saying you never use google – no one will believe you anyway. The Wikipedia issue gets to the core of what the internet is ‘about’ and for that matter how knowledge is spread/developed too. The problems or peer review / authority are just highlighted now everyone can do it and can see it.

    Shouldn’t we be enabling students to use Wikipedia intelligently? Leaving it out of our training sessions is bizarre really (OK not you Gaz). Got to admit though was relieved to hear that AJC’s kids know you shouldn’t take it all at face value. Its a bit like reading the news – you know you shouldn’t believe half of it, but you end up taking it in anyway.

  5. gazjjohnson said

    Wonder if anyone’s using Google’s oddly named “knols” (or is is “kobolds”?)

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