Actualizing Infotopia: Wikipedia & Libraries
Wikipedia is broken. Still, you can’t deny that it is your first port of call when satisfying your curiosities. But you can BE denied when clicking on a Wikipedia citation in search of more information. Pay walls and copyright force you into the welcoming arms of commercial interests. Doesn’t this strike you as perverse? Libraries were established to provide communities a way of gaining free access to information, but today they are digitally disconnected from readers.
We can make information both globally accessible and convenient by bridging information islands like Wikipedia and libraries. We are infusing millions of Wikipedia articles with data which will seamlessly link information seekers to truly free knowledge. This dream is made possible by the latest Wikimedia Foundation initiative, Wikidata, and library linked data technologies. As bleeding edge adopters we can teach you how to catch the latest wave of the “open access” enlightenment.
Additional Supporting Materials
- What are some concrete examples of successfully linking Wikipedia to library services in scaled ways? What scale precisely are we talking about anyway? Who else has managed to partner with Wikipedia to integrate their data? Is this a poorly disguised effort to give the site more credibility? Can Wikipedia really ever shake its reputation for being unreliable?
- Given the calcified and unfriendly attitudes to corporate interests at Wikipedia, how can a company edit Wikipedia with ethical intentions? What levels of control can be expected for firms looking to make large changes on the encyclopedia? Who decides what's ethical, and what governing body makes the decisions? How hard will it be for companies to work with them?
- What exactly are the new technologies coming from Wikimedia Foundation and library networks? Does Wikidata have a chance at adoption given the mixed success of other Wikimedia initiatives? As non-profit entities can they really deliver quality code? And why won't they just accept some VC money already?
- Even if I don't participate in improving Wikipedia, how will I benefit from interlinking between Wikipedia and libraries? Wikipedia is already complete enough as is, so why is this a priority?
- Where do libraries fit into the online age? Can their previous authority and mindshare still carry weight? Don't Google and Amazon supplant libraries now? Shouldn't libraries accept their fate and bow out gracefully?
Alice Sneary OCLC Online Computer Library Center
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