Down the rabbit hole of knowledge
Quick facts about Wikipedia at 21 years old.
The Internet's favourite site for information
- The world’s biggest encyclopaedia turned 21 on the 15th of January 2022.
- English Wikipedia has 6.4m articles (full list of all 313 language Wikipedias)
- 500 million visitors per month
- 1.5 billion monthly unique devices per month.
- 18 billion page views per month.
- More reliable than you think
- Vandalism removed more quickly than you think (only 7% of edits are considered vandalism) and ~90% of harmful edits were reverted within 5 mins on average. Alkharashi, A. and Jose, J. (2018)
- Used in schools and universities to teach information literacy and help combat fake news.
- Lecturer Glaire Anderson describes how an experiment in using Wikipedia for learning became a highlight of the course.
- Guidelines around use of reliable sources, conflict of interest, verifiability, and neutral point of view.
- Articles ‘looked after’ (monitored and maintained) by editors from 2000+ WikiProjects and bots patrolling for predictable vandalism and copyright violation.
- Includes a quality and ratings scale
- 87.5% of students report using Wikipedia for their academic work and find it useful in an introductory or clarificatory role.
- Science Is shaped by Wikipedia study finds.
- Wikipedia in the British Medical Journal – “Enriching Wikipedia content is, potentially, a powerful way to improve health literacy”.
- Used by 90% of medical students and 50-75% of physicians.
- It is the place people turn to orientate themselves on a topic.
- Video: Wikipedia at the University of Edinburgh
- An introduction to Wikipedia at the University of Edinburgh. Created by University of Edinburgh students Clea Strathmann and Erin Boyle.
An introduction to Wikipedia at the University of Edinburgh - created by students Clea Strathmann and Erin Boyle.
- British people trust Wikipedia more than the BBC, Guardian, Telegraph and Times.
- Your Middle School Teacher was wrong about Wikipedia
- People love Wikipedia: the internet’s favourite website.
- Wikipedia comes of age – The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Students’ use of Wikipedia as an academic resource — Patterns of use and perceptions of usefulness
- Updating Wikipedia should be part of all doctor’s job.
- See the page on Bermuda Triangle to see why reference librarians recommend Wikipedia for pre-researching a topic.
- “Why I’m editing Wikipedia” – Excellent talk by Dr Jess Wade at the University of Edinburgh’s Women in STEM Connect event on addressing diversity in STEM online.
- Wikipedia war over Henry Dundas slavery role (Times) and WikiProject Black Lives Matter.
- “Wikipedia in Teaching and Learning” – 6 min video presentation on 9 practical approaches to engaging with Wikipedia in the curriculum which mentions our new Case Studies Booklet.
- “Teaching knowledge activism vs. passive consumption” article on Teaching Matters blog.
- Wikipedia in the British Medical Journal – “Enriching Wikipedia content is, potentially, a powerful way to improve #healthliteracy and it is possible to test the effects of seeding pages with evidence. This trial should be replicated, expanded and developed”.
- Stats about Wikipedia and Covid-19 and “Covid-19 is one of Wikipedia’s biggest challenges ever. Here’s how the site is handling it.” – in the Washington Post.
- “COVID-19 research in Wikipedia“ Colavizza, 2020 – Study investigates the surge of new scientific publications on COVID-19 (>20,000 new articles).
- “Sudden Attention Shifts on Wikipedia Following COVID-19 Mobility Restrictions“ by Horta Ribeiro et al. Study on how the pandemic, alongside the severe mobility restrictions that ensued, impacted information access on the world’s largest online encyclopaedia.
- Wikipedia and W.H.O. Join to Combat Covid-19 Misinformation
Did Media Literacy backfire?
“Too many students I met were being told that Wikipedia was untrustworthy and were, instead, being encouraged to do research. As a result, the message that many had taken home was to turn to Google and use whatever came up first. They heard that Google was trustworthy and Wikipedia was not.” (Boyd, 2017)
Don’t cite Wikipedia, write Wikipedia.
- Wikipedia does not want you to cite it. It considers itself a tertiary resource; an online encyclopedia built from articles which in turn are based on reliable, published, secondary sources.
- Wikipedia is relentlessly transparent. Everything on Wikipedia can be checked, challenged and corrected. Cite the sources Wikipedia uses, not Wikipedia itself.