Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, January 18, 2008

Calling on librarians to improve Wikipedia and Wikia

Mark Chillingworth, Wales urges librarians to help build better Wikipedia, Information World Review, January 17, 2008.  Excerpt:

Jimmy Wales, one of the founders of online encyclopaedia phenomenon Wikipedia, has called on librarians to become deeply involved in the web-based communities that surround his products....

Wales is looking to improve the quality of information available to Wikipedia users, and to extend the number of languages that Wikipedia can be read in.

To do this, he is calling on information professionals to form and join Wikipedia Academies, which are working with communities across the world teaching wiki editing skills. Wales hopes that they will create a generation of wiki editors who will drive up standards.

Academies in South Africa and Germany have already appeared.

“Librarians are not engaging with the Academies,” Wales complained.  “If libraries throughout the world formed regional groups and made an effort, they would be playing a positive role within Wikipedia.  The job of the librarian is about highlighting the weaknesses and strengths of information.”

Wales is also looking to harness the expertise of information professionals to improve web search results....