Using Wikipedia to Extend Digital Collections
Amyluv's bookmarks 2017-09-16
"In May 2006, the University of Washington Libraries Digital Initiatives unit began a project to integrate the UW Libraries Digital Collections into the information workflow of our students by inserting links into the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. The idea for this project grew out of our reading of OCLC's 2005 report Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources  which states that only 2% of college and university students begin searching for information at a library web site. It is, therefore, incumbent upon Librarians to look for new ways to reach out to our users where they begin their information search. The explosive growth of Wikipedia made it a prime candidate for our efforts at pushing information about the Libraries out to where users conduct their research. It should be noted here that our digital collections are already harvested and heavily used by people all over the world; in fact, Google and its affiliates are the top referrers of people to our collections. However, Wikipedia is fast becoming one of the top reference resources for many who are searching for information on a particular topic, and it is often one of the first references in a search results list. In fact, Wikipedia receives 54% of its traffic from Google . Furthermore, referring to Wikipedia as "one of the poster children for Web 2.0", the Pew Internet & American Life Project researchers have noted a sharp increase in the use of Wikipedia in contrast to the "sluggish growth" of Encarta . Peter Morville, an information architecture and findability consultant, offers us a possible explanation for this phenomenon in a recent blog post in which he discusses how the perceived authority of Wikipedia is derived from its information architecture, visual design, governance, branding, "and from widespread faith in intellectual honesty and the power of collective intelligence" . Morville argues that these structural and social aspects of Wikipedia make it more findable, and when combined with certain psychological aspects of decision making (anchoring bias and confirmation), boost Wikipedia's perceived authority . This article will describe the UW Libraries Digital Collections and the phenomenon known as Wikipedia. We will also describe the process of adding links to Wikipedia articles as well as the outcomes from the University of Washington Libraries project. Before we move on, however, we wish to note that it is not our intention to endorse or evaluate the content of Wikipedia articles. Rather, we acknowledge the increasing prominence of this resource in our patrons' workflows and wish to highlight our success with this project."