Category Archives: Wikis


Wiki ‘Edit-a-Thon’ at Brown U. Will Add Entries for Women in Science

When she was growing up, Maia Weinstock’s role model was the astronaut Sally Ride. But she really didn’t have any other female role models in science.

Ms. Weinstock, a news director at an educational Web site for children called BrainPOP, says that wasn’t because there weren’t other worthy women. She just didn’t know who they were until she began looking for them. Once she did, she realized—among other things—that women’s contributions to science were severely underrepresented in Wikipedia’s pag…


Michigan Student Is First ‘Wikipedian in Residence’ at a Presidential Library

There was a time when professors, scholars, and even one of Wikipedia’s founders, Jimmy Wales, said the user-edited online encyclopedia should not be used in academe. But in recent years, academics seem to be looking more favorably on the popular reference tool.

The newest indication: The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, is now the first  presidential library in the United States to have a “Wikipedian in residence” on its staff.

Michael Barera, a m…


Georgia Tech Wipes Class Wikis From Web

The Georgia Institute of Technology has stripped, at least for now, more than 10 years of class work from its collaborative-learning Web sites, known as Swikis.

Following a student’s complaint to the university that his name was listed on the Web site of a public course, Georgia Tech officials decided on Monday to remove all Swikis other than ones from the current semester, said Mark Guzdial, a professor in the School of Interactive Computing, who is a co-creator of the Swikis.

He reported the d…


What Wikipedia Deletes, and Why

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, famously allows anyone to write or revise its entries, and the history of each item is open for anyone to review. Except for material that leaders of the effort consider too “dangerous” to leave online.

The fine print of its stated practices notes that in some cases, material is completely spiked from the record. Or, as the policy reads: “a revision with libelous content, criminal threats or copyright infringements may be removed afterwards.”

These total redac…


Talking About a Digital Public Library of America

In October 2010, Robert Darnton, the historian and university librarian at Harvard, talked to Wired Campus about the possibility of building what was then being described as a National Digital Library. Since then, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, with money from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, has stepped into the role of coordinating plans for what’s now being designated a Digital Public Library of America.

The planning has a public component as well: The Berkman Center has set …


Electronic Literature Directory Gets a Redesign

An updated version of an electronic-literature compendium is out, with the goal of creating a more interactive community.

Since 1998 the Electronic Literature Directory has compiled lists of works that are digitally born: for example, electronic poetry, or a text or even a game with a multimedia element. Electronic literature, or hypertext fiction, came to national attention in the 1990s; some called it revolutionary, others merely a passing trend.

The directory, supported by a grant from the Na…


Wiki Project Sets Out to Document the World’s Public Art

If every episode of every television show deserves to be on Wikipedia, so does every piece of public art. Or at least Jennifer Geigel Mikulay thinks so, which is why she helped start a project to promote the documentation of public art around the world on Wikipedia.

Ms. Mikulay, an assistant professor and public scholar of visual culture at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, started the project, Wikipedia Saves Public Art, with Richard McCoy, an assistant conservator of objects a…


Wikipedia Pushes for Users to Add Videos

Wikipedia is advocating for users to add videos to its online encyclopedia, which could give academics a new forum in which to share their multimedia work.

Three nonprofit groups — Miro, Mozilla Drumbeat, and the Open Video Alliance — began a campaign this month with support from the Wikimedia Foundation encouraging users to upload videos onto the Web site. Wikipedia asks that videos be short, under 100MB, and comply with the encyclopedia’s rules.

Ben Moskowitz, general director of the Open Vide…


Students at McGill U. Band Together to Promote Wikipedia

Students have long turned to Wikipedia for answers — often to the frustration of professors, who complain that the user-written encylopedia is not always accurate. But students at McGill University have taken their love of the free resource guide to a new level by starting a Wikipedia club on the campus.

The university’s student government granted interim status to Students Supporting Wikipedia last month, making it a bona fide student organization. It might be the first officially sanctioned Wi…


A Wikipedia Administrator Tells the Web Site’s Story

By now, if you’re even moderately interested in Wikipedia, you’ve probably had the chance to read any number of lengthy articles on the Web site’s meteoric rise. So why bother with a whole book on the topic? In the case of Andrew Lih’s new tome, The Wikipedia Revolution, the answer is simple: The author is a longtime site administrator, and he has enough pull in the community to get Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia’s founder, to write a foreword. So, for all intents and purposes, this is Wikipedia: The Au…