I will admit, I do not use Wikipedia very often. Within academia it is not seen as a valid source for information. However, day to day knowledge when I’m curious about something, I will use it to find out an artists history or where a food originated from. Thing 10 has made me think a little more about wikipedia and Wikimedia in general.

Warning: These are just some random half-baked thoughts that popped into my head while exploring the Wikimedia projects.

Academia has been criticized for being out of touch, shrouded in mystery, and the knowledge generated from within academia is inaccessible. Wikimedia, however, is working to openly share knowledge and collaboratively build knowledge. Looking through Wikimedia’s many projects, a few stood out to me.

Wikibooks is building a repository of textbooks. Interestingly, some professors and a handful of post-secondary institutions are looking for more online and freely accessible textbooks. I have yet to see anyone reference a Wikibook, but I think they are on to something here. Even if just for the general public to make very expensive textbooks more accessible.

Wikidata provides accessible data from all Wikimedia projects for anyone to explore and manipulate. This is fascinating to me. In relation to research this transparency and accessibility is really neat. There are ethical issues surrounding sharing most datasets from research. However, I’ve been arguing that being transparent in the research process and findings, assumptions and developments is key to breaking down the barriers to knowledge generation and sharing with the general public. It builds connections and makes knowledge more easily mobilized. One key thing that Wikimedia endorses, is that it can’t be behind a paywall.


2 Comments

Charlie · December 5, 2018 at 2:14 pm

You might be interested to read about the work our Wikimedian in residence, Ewan McAndrew, has been doing to integrate learning assessments with creating and improving wikipedia articles and wikidata. 🙂
https://thinking.is.ed.ac.uk/wir/

    Heather W. · December 5, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Yes, I meant to dig a little more into his work, when I have some time!

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