There's a library in my Wikipedia!

Zola Maddison /

Max Klein, Wikipedian in Residence at OCLC Research, presents a compelling argument for both why and how libraries and librarians can integrate with Wikipedia in his webinar, Librarians are Wikipedians Too. According to Klein, Wikipedia is the sixth largest site currently on the Internet, with approximately 500,000,000 monthly page views. In addition, despite past critiques that the site was unreliable, users now rank “well-sourced” as its best quality. In essence, more and more people are turning to Wikipedia to answer their research questions. This, Klein asserts, is an opportunity for libraries to link their resources to Wikipedia to help patrons find a depth of resources and for librarians to become more engaged in the open access process.  As one attendee stated:

“The thought that Wikipedia can really work with the library is great versus the idea that Wikipedia is an element that everyone can use instead of the library.”

Klein outlined several ways that libraries can help Wikipedia—from direct editing to the site, to editathons and Wikipedia editing workshops like those hosted at New York Public Library. He also provided effective ways for librarians to contribute to Wikipedia, such as finding sources and offering expertise on the Reliable Sources Notice Board and Category:Unreferenced, and adding an OCLC number to directly link library holdings to a Wikipedia article.  

Klein’s presentation also covered “forensics”, or tools to understand how to dig deeper into Wikipedia and gain a better sense of where you and your library might want to focus your energy, such as:

  • Talk pages to see editing discussion on a page
  • Page ratings to see both quality and importance ratings
  • Stubs, or short articles needing expansion
  • View history to see all earlier versions of an article
  • User page to learn more about an editor or user
  • What links here to find all pages that links to an article
  • Page view statistics to find traffic history

"We’re only half done," concluded Klein, "Wikipedians want to hear more from librarians about how we can collaborate."

To learn more about how you can bring your library to Wikipedia, see Max’s slides, recommended reading, his webinar and other resources on the archive page.