How is Wikipedia Discussed?

Published 09 Jun 2017

This article considers two questions.

1. How is Wikipedia discussed?
2. What they convey to us as teachers?

Trinity western University librarian Bill Badke once made a note like this. What to do with Wikipedia? To start the debate we can use this as a tool. But questions like who use Wikipedia as a reliable source when doing an academic work and who view Wikipedia as a new tool of digital information remains.

As a matter of fact Wikipedia is a source of information resource for millions of users. This can inspire a debate among library practitioners. Wikipedia follow some traditional values such as its non-profit, it makes information widely and accessible, and it inspires collaboration and debate. There are some other things that information literacy practitioners see indigestible. They allege that Wikipedia privileges verifiability above truth. They stamp Wikipedia with the latest web slang label EPIC FAIL.

In 2007, the pew internet & American life project survey stated that more than 36 percent of online American adults consult Wikipedia. It also claims that the cluster of sites that are focused on educational and reference material, Wikipedia is by far the most popular site. It drives nearly six times more traffic than the next-closest site. We don’t have a room to suspect that this statements decrease the Wikipedia traffic or it divert the Canadian approach to Wikipedia.
Some questions need solid answers. What would be the evolution of our information literacy work? Answer to this question depends on the comments from information literacy practitioners.

Let’s have a look through an information literacy eye. Basically teachers who provide information literacy work communicate their views through teaching. While we go through Wikipedia-related postings made to the information literacy instruction discussion list (ILI-L) reveals a variety of views about Wikipedia. The approach of the candidates who participated in the discussion is highly varied. They mostly discuss if the issue Wikipedia is good or evil.

Delegates of ILI-L allege that Wikipedia has been casted not merely as unreliable and not merely as lacking trust worthy editorial processes. They consider library resources best. These disputes are couched in adversarial terms.

To make it clear lets go through some ILI-L postings

1. I was trained to see Wikipedia as pretty much pure evil
2. Wikipedia has blurred the boundaries of good and bad information

This posting tells us that Wikipedia itself is neither good nor bad but neutral. We also can see some competing points throughout the discussions. But majority disagree with them.

To feed a conceptual understanding of information such as how it is organized, described, found, understood and used will affect our efforts to expose a good versus evil point. While considering today’s swath of information resources no one can’t make a critical decision that Wikipedia is bad. Unfortunately or unintentionally we encourage patrons to classify information resources of good and evil. To make such an evaluation we need to take a risk. While analyzing these discussions we would come to a point that our professions is altering or adjusting its perception of the role the social web plays in our institutions.

While analyzing some articles that were published in the literatures of librarianship, education and computer science about the relationship between web2.0/the social web and information literacy, we came to a point that the library literature social web applications were viewed mainly as marketing tool for libraries. But in educational literature we saw examples of social web tools being used to teach research skills. Library patrons were viewed mainly as consumers of information rather than as people engaged meaningfully in learning.

ILI-L discussions reveal a changing mind-set in the profession of teaching about the relationship between the social web and information literacy. In response to Badke´s Wikipedia article 49 messages were posted alone in March 2009. In all these messages Wikipedia is criticized and critiqued.

Throughout the discussion we can see that librarians situate themselves in a teaching role. They don’t consider Wikipedia as a mean of teaching information. This shift can enable librarians to consider information resources as a traditional collections management perspective. But the discussions speak most about the changing role of educators within an increasingly complex information landscape. .

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