Wikipedia and Academic Libraries: A Global Project

 

Project Information

Wikipedia is the largest open repository of information in the world. Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has become an unparalleled resource, and the de facto research starting point, for researchers of all types. When academic librarians* engage with Wikipedia, they educate users about how and why Wikipedia works, add resources and expand Wikipedia’s usability and content, and promote libraries as the center of knowledge sharing and building.

This edited volume is a collection of chapters authored by academic library workers and faculty, Library and Information Science faculty, and disciplinary faculty from around the globe that highlight their engagement with Wikimedia-related projects and activities.

This edited volume is, by design, being developed as an Open Access publication, and the editors will work to obtain Creative Commons licenses (CC BY) for all published chapters. In doing so, the editors align their work to the mission of the Wikimedia Foundation by continuing to “empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally.”

Wikipedia Is Finally Asking Big Tech to Pay Up | WIRED

“FROM THE START, Google and Wikipedia have been in a kind of unspoken partnership: Wikipedia produces the information Google serves up in response to user queries, and Google builds up Wikipedia’s reputation as a source of trustworthy information….

The two have grown in tandem over the past 20 years, each becoming its own household word. But whereas one mushroomed into a trillion-dollar company, the other has remained a midsize nonprofit, depending on the generosity of individual users, grant-giving foundations, and the Silicon Valley giants themselves to stay afloat. Now Wikipedia is seeking to rebalance its relationships with Google and other big tech firms like Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, whose platforms and virtual assistants lean on Wikipedia as a cost-free virtual crib sheet….

Today, the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates the Wikipedia project in more than 300 languages as well as other wiki-projects, is announcing the launch of a commercial product, Wikimedia Enterprise. The new service is designed for the sale and efficient delivery of Wikipedia’s content directly to these online behemoths (and eventually, to smaller companies too)….

The free, albeit clunky option will still be available to all users, including commercial ones. This means that Wikimedia Enterprise’s principal competition, in the words of Lisa Seitz-Gruwell, the foundation’s chief revenue officer, is Wikipedia itself….

But the formatting problems with the free version offer an obvious opportunity to create a product worth paying for, one tailored to the requirements of each company. For example, Enterprise will deliver the real-time changes and comprehensive data dumps in a compatible format. There will also be a level of customer service typical of business arrangements but unprecedented for the volunteer-directed project….

By offering more useful data, Enterprise will help ensure that commercial operators display the latest, most accurate version of articles and crack down on vandalism quicker. A contractual relationship will also more formally recognize that these companies are extracting value from a volunteer project, and therefore must “contribute back to the commons,” Seitz-Gruwell says. …”

Wikipedia citations in Wikidata – Diff

From Google’s English:  “The Wikipedia Citations dataset currently includes approximately 30 million citations from Wikipedia pages to a variety of sources, including 4 million scientific publications. Increasing the connection with external data services and providing structured data to one of the key elements of Wikipedia articles has two significant advantages: first, better identification of relevant encyclopedic articles related to academic studies; furthermore, the strengthening of Wikipedia as a social authority and political hub, which would allow policy makers to gauge the importance of an article, a person, a research group and an institution by looking at how many Wikipedia articles cite them.

These are the motivations behind the “Wikipedia Citations in Wikidata” project , supported by a grant from the WikiCite Initiative. From January 2021 until the end of April, the team of Silvio Peroni (co-founder and director of OpenCitations), Giovanni Colavizza, Marilena Daquino, Gabriele Pisciotta and Simone Persiani of the University of Bologna (Department of Classical and Italian Philology) worked on the development of a codebase to enrich Wikidata with citations to academic publications that are currently referenced in English in Wikipedia . This codebase is divided into four software modules in Python and integrates new components (a classifier to distinguish citations based on the cited source and a search module to equip citations with identifiers from Crossref or other APIs). In doing so, Wikipedia Citations extends previous work that focused only on citations that already have identifiers….”

Ouvrir la Science – Deuxième Plan national pour la science ouverte

From Google’s English:  “The National Open Science Plan announced in 2018 by the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal, has enabled France to adopt a coherent and dynamic policy in the field of open science, coordinated by the Committee for Open Science, which brings together the ministry, research and higher education institutions and the scientific community. After three years of implementation, the progress made is notable. The rate of French scientific publications in open access rose from 41% to 56%. The National Open Science Fund was created, it launched two calls for projects in favor of open scientific publication and it supported structuring international initiatives. The National Research Agency and other funding agencies now require open access to publications and the drafting of data management plans for the projects they fund. The function of ministerial research data administrator has been created and a network is being deployed in the establishments. About twenty universities and research organizations have adopted an open science policy. Several guides and recommendations for putting open science into practice have been published. About twenty universities and research organizations have adopted an open science policy. Several guides and recommendations for putting open science into practice have been published. About twenty universities and research organizations have adopted an open science policy. Several guides and recommendations for putting open science into practice have been published.

The steps already taken and the evolution of the international context invite us to extend, renew and strengthen our commitments by adopting a second National Plan for Open Science, the effects of which will be deployed until 2024. With this new plan, France is continuing the ambitious trajectory initiated by the law for a digital republic of 2016 and confirmed by the research programming law of 2020, which includes open science in the missions of researchers and teacher-researchers.

This second National Plan extends its scope to source codes resulting from research, it structures actions in favor of the opening or sharing of data through the creation of the Research Data Gouv platform, it multiplies the levers of transformation in order to generalize open science practices and it presents disciplinary and thematic variations. It is firmly in line with a European ambition and proposes, within the framework of the French Presidency of the European Union, to act to take effective account of open science practices in individual and collective research evaluations. It is about initiating a process of sustainable transformation in order to make open science a common and shared practice…”

Developing a scalable framework for partnerships between health agencies and the Wikimedia ecosystem

Abstract:  In this era of information overload and misinformation, it is a challenge to rapidly translate evidence-based health information to the public. Wikipedia is a prominent global source of health information with high traffic, multilingual coverage, and acceptable quality control practices. Viewership data following the Ebola crisis and during the COVID-19 pandemic reveals that a significant number of web users located health guidance through Wikipedia and related projects, including its media repository Wikimedia Commons and structured data complement, Wikidata.

The basic idea discussed in this paper is to increase and expedite health institutions’ global reach to the general public, by developing a specific strategy to maximize the availability of focused content into Wikimedia’s public digital knowledge archives. It was conceptualized from the experiences of leading health organizations such as Cochrane, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other United Nations Organizations, Cancer Research UK, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Each has customized strategies to integrate content in Wikipedia and evaluate responses.

We propose the development of an interactive guide on the Wikipedia and Wikidata platforms to support health agencies, health professionals and communicators in quickly distributing key messages during crisis situations. The guide aims to cover basic features of Wikipedia, including adding key health messages to Wikipedia articles, citing expert sources to facilitate fact-checking, staging text for translation into multiple languages; automating metrics reporting; sharing non-text media; anticipating offline reuse of Wikipedia content in apps or virtual assistants; structuring data for querying and reuse through Wikidata, and profiling other flagship projects from major health organizations.

In the first phase, we propose the development of a curriculum for the guide using information from prior case studies. In the second phase, the guide would be tested on select health-related topics as new case studies. In its third phase, the guide would be finalized and disseminated.

Wikipedia: The Most Reliable Source on the Internet? | PCMag

“[Q] Which brings us to Wikipedia. Many of us consult it, slightly wary of its bias, depth, and accuracy. But, as you’ll be sharing in your speech at Intellisys, the content actually ends up being surprisingly reliable. How does that happen?

[A] The answer to “should you believe Wikipedia?” isn’t simple. In my book I argue that the content of a popular Wikipedia page is actually the most reliable form of information ever created. Think about it—a peer-reviewed journal article is reviewed by three experts (who may or may not actually check every detail), and then is set in stone. The contents of a popular Wikipedia page might be reviewed by thousands of people. If something changes, it is updated. Those people have varying levels of expertise, but if they support their work with reliable citations, the results are solid. On the other hand, a less popular Wikipedia page might not be reliable at all….”

Read, Hot & Digitized: Visualizing Wikipedia’s Gender Gap | TexLibris

“However, Wikipedia has a long-standing problem of gender imbalance both in terms of article content and editor demographics. Only 18% of content across Wikimedia platforms are about women. The gaps on content covering non-binary and transgender individuals are even starker: less than 1% of editors identify as trans, and less than 1% of biographies cover trans or nonbinary individuals. When gender is combined with other factors, such as race, nationality, or ethnicity, the numbers get even lower. This gender inequity has long been covered in the scholarly literature via editor surveys and analysis of article content (Hill and Shaw, 2013; Graells-Garrido, Lalmas, and Menczer, 2015; Bear and Collier, 2016; Wagner, Graells-Garrido, Garcia, and Menczer, 2016; Ford and Wajcman, 2017). To visualize these inequalities in nearly real time, the Humaniki tool was developed….”

Wikiexperiments: Nourishing open science and open education with new recordings – Diff

“Adding multimedia files to Wikipedia articles has never become a common practice as adding images, although there are topics that would clearly benefit more from having video and audio files. Many articles on scientific phenomena involving physical and chemical changes can not be properly explained through the staticity of images and require dynamicity that can be provided with videos. Furthermore, digital learning in education is increasing and it has especially gained momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic when many educational systems switched to online learning. The latter underlines the importance of educational resources in digital form.

In order to address the foregoing issues, Shared Knowledge in collaboration with Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje started a project known as Wikiexperiments with the goal of recording and uploading free high-definition videos of scientific experiments for the purposes of illustrating important scientific concepts and phenomena across the Wikimedia projects. After a year-long break, the project that began in September 2015 continued with new recordings produced throughout 2020 that brought the total number of physics and chemistry experiments recorded so far up to 90….”

Meta-Research: Citation needed? Wikipedia and the COVID-19 pandemic | bioRxiv

Abstract:  With the COVID-19 pandemic’s outbreak at the beginning of 2020, millions across the world flocked to Wikipedia to read about the virus. Our study offers an in-depth analysis of the scientific backbone supporting Wikipedia’s COVID-19 articles. Using references as a readout, we asked which sources informed Wikipedia’s growing pool of COVID-19-related articles during the pandemic’s first wave (January-May 2020). We found that coronavirus-related articles referenced trusted media sources and cited high-quality academic research. Moreover, despite a surge in preprints, Wikipedia’s COVID-19 articles had a clear preference for open-access studies published in respected journals and made little use of non-peer-reviewed research uploaded independently to academic servers. Building a timeline of COVID-19 articles on Wikipedia from 2001-2020 revealed a nuanced trade-off between quality and timeliness, with a growth in COVID-19 article creation and citations, from both academic research and popular media. It further revealed how preexisting articles on key topics related to the virus created a framework on Wikipedia for integrating new knowledge. This “scientific infrastructure” helped provide context, and regulated the influx of new information into Wikipedia. Lastly, we constructed a network of DOI-Wikipedia articles, which showed the landscape of pandemic-related knowledge on Wikipedia and revealed how citations create a web of scientific knowledge to support coverage of scientific topics like COVID-19 vaccine development. Understanding how scientific research interacts with the digital knowledge-sphere during the pandemic provides insight into how Wikipedia can facilitate access to science. It also sheds light on how Wikipedia successfully fended of disinformation on the COVID-19 and may provide insight into how its unique model may be deployed in other contexts.

Wikimedia Foundation CEO Katherine Maher to Step Down in April 2021 – Wikimedia Foundation

“Katherine Maher, the Chief Executive Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation, the global nonprofit that operates Wikipedia, will be leaving the organization in April.

Under her leadership, Wikipedia attained its highest public trust in the institution’s history. Since becoming CEO in 2016, Katherine defined an expansive strategic direction for Wikimedia’s next decade, significantly expanded Wikipedia’s presence in emerging markets, increased the diversity and number of editors, significantly grew readership and contributors across Wikipedia and its sister free knowledge projects, and solidified the financial position and future of the Wikimedia movement….”

Boston Public Library makes historical images available for use in Wikipedia | Boston Public Library

“In celebration of Wikipedia’s 20th anniversary on January 15th, Boston Public Library has uploaded more than 8,000 historical photographs from its archival collections to Wikimedia Commons. These images include some of the library’s most important photographic collections, and contribute to the single largest batch of uploads ever contributed to Wikimedia Commons. By uploading these public domain images, BPL is making them available so that they can be freely used to enhance Wikipedia articles, re-printed in publications, or incorporated in student projects and papers. …”

Wikipedia celebrates 20 years of free, trusted information for the world – Wikimedia Foundation

“Wikipedia, the world’s largest free online encyclopedia, turns 20 years old on 15 January. This birthday commemorates two decades of global efforts to support free knowledge, open collaboration, and trust on the internet. In a time when disinformation and polarization challenge our trust in information and institutions, Wikipedia is more relevant than ever. Wikipedia celebrates its past and looks ahead to how it will meet the challenges of tomorrow to grow into a more resilient, equitable knowledge resource….”

What if the Web Looked More Like Wikipedia? | Time

“More intriguing than Wikipedia itself was, and remains, the idea at its core: that the Internet can be a place not just for communication and entertainment, but collaboration and truth-seeking. It has rightfully been hailed many times as the pinnacle achievement of the philosophy of the “open web,” which has many definitions, but to me simply means: you can do almost anything here, together, without corporate influence. Today, it’s the open web’s last stand—Apple, Google and Amazon’s decision to ban right-wing darling social media app Parler from their respective platforms and services was absolutely the right choice, but also made abundantly clear that the days of hoping for a truly open web have long since passed….”