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A list of key readings about Wikipedia.
Please sort and annotate in a user-friendly manner. For formatting, consider using automated reference wikification.

Papers

  • A widely cited and debated study which compared the accuracy of 42 entries each in the English Wikipedia and the Encyclopaedia Britannica, concluding that both had similar numbers of factual errors is described in the links below:
Jim Giles (15 December 2005). "Special Report: Internet encyclopaedias go head to head". Nature 438: pp. 900-901.
Supplementary information to accompany Nature news article “Internet encyclopaedias go head to head”. Nature (22 December 2005). Retrieved on 2011-10-28.
Response by Encyclopedia Britannica
Fatally Flawed: Refuting the recent study on encyclopedic accuracy by the journal Nature. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. (March 2006). Retrieved on 2011-10-28..
Nature's return salvo:
Nature's responses to Encyclopaedia Britannica (March 30, 2006). Retrieved on 2011-10-28.
A methodology for selecting 'controversial' articles is described, and it is estimated that about 1% of articles are controversial by their measure. "Debates rarely conclude on the basis of merit; typically they are ended by outside intervention [Administrative action], sheer exhaustion, or the evident numerical dominance of one group."

Books

  • John Broughton (2008). Wikipedia: the missing manual. O'Reilly Media, Inc. ISBN 0596515162.  A "how-to" manual that besides mechanics of use, includes sections on dispute resolution over both content (Chapter 10: Resolving content disputes) and personal attacks (Chapter 11: Handling incivility and personal attacks). This book is available on WP as the article Help: Wikipedia: The Missing Manual.
  • Dan Woods, Peter Thoeny (2007). “Chapter 4: Using and improving the 800-pound gorilla of wikis, Wikipedia”, Wikis for dummies. Wiley, pp. 81 ff. ISBN 0470043997.  A basic "how-to" manual for readers and first-time contributors.

Statistics and trends

  • Benjamin Mako Hill (February 6, 2011). Editor-to-Reader Ratios on Wikipedia. Copyrighteous. Retrieved on 2011-10-27. This article states that since 2008 the number of active editors has decreased 12%, while the proportion of readers that edit at least five times a month has dropped 42%.
  • Community health. Interviews/Summary of interviews. Wikimedia: Strategic planning (2009). Retrieved on 2011-10-27. A summary of opinion that the WP community is becoming more isolated and hostile to newcomers with time, and inventing its own jargon, creating a "tiny priesthood that can edit".

Media

Van Veelen, IJsbrand, Dir. "The Truth According To Wikipedia." Tegenlicht (Backlight), VPRO, April 7, 2008.

Commentary

  • Keen, Andrew (2007). The Cult of the Amateur. New York: Doubleday. 
  • Messer-Kruse, Timothy (February 12, 2012). The 'Undue Weight' of Truth on Wikipedia. Chronicle of Higher Education.: commentary on the use of scholarship in WP; see also the additional comments for more stories, commentary, and policies.
  • Nick Bilton (September 9, 2010). The Story Behind a Wikipedia Entry. BITS: Business, Innovation, Technology and Society. New York Times. Retrieved on 2011-10-29. An article discussing the insight provided by subpages in WP articles.
  • Naom Cohen (September 11, 2011). On Wikipedia, Echoes of 9/11 ‘Edit Wars’. Business Day Media and Advertising: Link by link. New York Times. Retrieved on 2011-10-29. An article discussing how fringe views are handled on Wikipedia using the example of the 9/11/2001 attacks on the World Trade Center .
  • Donna Shaw (February/March 2008). Wikipedia in the Newsroom. American Journalism Review. Retrieved on 2011-10-29. An article presenting reservations of what now appears to be becoming an "old-fashioned" view of WP as a news source.
  • Mike Melanson (March 15, 2010). Why Wikipedia Should Be Trusted As A Breaking News Source. ReadWriteWeb. Retrieved on 2011-10-29. A review of a panel discussion concerning (among other topics) the use of Wikipedia as a news source, and involving Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo, Moka Panteges of Wikimedia, Monica Guzman of seattlepi and Robert Mackey of the New York Times on the topic: "Process Journalism: Getting it First, While Getting it Right" .
  • Danny Groner (November 30th, 2009). A New York Times First? Wikipedia Cited as a News Source. MEDIAite. Retrieved on 2011-10-29. A light-weight discussion of the propriety of using WP as a news source for independently verifiable facts.
  • Adam R. Brown (April 8, 2010). "Wikipedia as a Data Source for Political Scientists: Accuracy and Completeness of Coverage". PS: Political Science & Politics 44: pp. 339-343. “Wikipedia is almost always accurate when a relevant article exists, but errors of omission are extremely frequent.”
Robert McHenry is Former Editor in Chief, the Encyclopædia Britannica, and author of How to Know (Booklocker.com, 2004).
McHenry says Wikipedia is based upon the belief that, despite a process in which "Anyone, irrespective of expertise in or even familiarity with the topic, can submit an article and it will be published", nonetheless articles will improve over time because:
"Some unspecified quasi-Darwinian process will assure that those writings and editings by contributors of greatest expertise will survive; articles will eventually reach a steady state that corresponds to the highest degree of accuracy."
McHenry provides a counterexample in which "Contrary to the faith, the article has, in fact, been edited into mediocrity." He concludes with a much-quoted remark:
"The user who visits Wikipedia to learn about some subject, to confirm some matter of fact, is rather in the position of a visitor to a public restroom. It may be obviously dirty, so that he knows to exercise great care, or it may seem fairly clean, so that he may be lulled into a false sense of security. What he certainly does not know is who has used the facilities before him."

Initiatives

  • The coverage of Italian companies on Wikipedia. Lundquist Research Series (May 2009). Retrieved on 2011-10-29. “Companies must engage with Wikipedia in order to improve their online profile.”
  • Wikipedia initiative. APS: Association for Psychological Science. Retrieved on 2011-10-29. “All APS members are encouraged to participate by adding new entries and enhancing existing ones with more complete and accurate information with references.”
  • Articles Containing "Wikipedia" — 36 articles. Retrieved on 2011-10-29. Follow-up on the initiative by APS.
  • Don’t like Wikipedia? Change it. American Psychological Association. Retrieved on 2011-10-29. “Using our combined knowledge to edit and update Wikipedia is a high-impact and immediate way to increase the presence of psychological science” Notice this initiative is by the APA, not the APS.
  • Wikipedia:WikiProject Psychology/APS-Wikipedia Initiative. Wikipedia. Retrieved on 2011-10-29.
  • Sage Ross (30 May 2011). Wikipedia and the psychologists. assorted blogging by Sage Ross. Retrieved on 2011-10-29. A report on the APS initiative by an "online facilitator" of the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Public Policy Initiative. Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved on 2011-10-29. “Professors at public policy programs in universities in the United States are participating in our initiative by asking their students to improve articles on the English-language Wikipedia as part of the curriculum.”
  • Zoe Corbyn (28 March 2011). Wikipedia wants more contributions from academics. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2011-10-29. “Wikipedia is surveying academics to find out why many seem reluctant to donate their expertise.”
  • Casper Grathwohl (January 7, 2011). Wikipedia Comes of Age. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved on 2011-10-29. “The key challenge for the scholarly community, in which I include academic publishers such as Oxford University Press, is to work actively with Wikipedia to strengthen its role in "pre-research." We need to build stronger links from its entries to more advanced resources that have been created and maintained by the academy.”
  • Declan Butler (December 16, 2008). "Publish in Wikipedia or perish: Journal to require authors to post in the free online encyclopaedia.". Nature. DOI:10.1038/news.2008.1312. Research Blogging. “Anyone submitting to a section of the journal RNA Biology will, in the future, be required to also submit a Wikipedia page that summarizes the work. The journal will then peer review the page before publishing it in Wikipedia.”
This policy is spelled out in the journal's guidelines to authors: A short guide to creating your first Wikipedia article. RNA Biology: Guidelines for Authors. Landes bioscience. Retrieved on 2011-11-02. “Keep in mind that Wikipedia articles are to be targeted at a level that an undergraduate could comprehend. Try to avoid jargon and do provide links to other Wikipedia articles at the first use of specific terms...”