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Humanist Archives: Jan. 11, 2019, 6:29 a.m. Humanist 32.316 - thoughts on Wikipedia

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 316.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
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    [1]    From: Michelle Laughran 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.314: thoughts on Wikipedia (16)

    [2]    From: Keri Thomas 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.314: thoughts on Wikipedia (17)

    [3]    From: Miran Hladnik gmail 
           Subject: 32.309: thoughts on Wikipedia? (21)

    [4]    From: Stephen Gregg 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.314: thoughts on Wikipedia (35)

    [5]    From: Andre Pacheco 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.314: thoughts on Wikipedia (36)

        Date: 2019-01-10 18:09:55+00:00
        From: Michelle Laughran 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.314: thoughts on Wikipedia

"In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice,
there is."

In practice, no matter how people feel in theory about Wikipedia, most folks
introduce themselves to a new subject through such tertiary sources.  The
crucial issue is instead what does the researcher do next with that information?

Wikipedia has in fact developed interesting materials for teaching critical
thinking to students, among other skills... FMI, check out https://wikiedu.org/

Michelle A. Laughran, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
Saint Joseph's College of Maine

        Date: 2019-01-10 16:11:14+00:00
        From: Keri Thomas 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.314: thoughts on Wikipedia

Wikipedia is, arguably, one of the best curated websites online; we know that
students will go off and do online research and some of the websites they roll
into will be data silos at best, and just plain wrong at worst. Whilst it’s true
that anyone can edit a Wikipedia page those edits are pretty transparent.

With more and more cultural organisations employing staff to edit pages that
relate to archival content, Wikipedia is increasingly a great portal for

Just my ten pennyworth!

Best wishes,
Dr Keri Thomas

Sent from my iPhone.

        Date: 2019-01-10 11:07:58+00:00
        From: Miran Hladnik gmail 
        Subject: 32.309: thoughts on Wikipedia?

 > From: Miran Hladnik gmail 

Wikipedia and sister projects Wikisource, Wikibooks, Wikiversity,
Wikimedia Commons are my daily working environments in class, when
managing projects and when publishing. I have decided to live with the
wikis because they bring into reality the following civilisation
postulates: openness, cooperation, language diversity, international
comparability, envolvement of experts from other disciplines and
laiks; apart from that, they escape commercial and institutional
control, they stimulate self-reflection, mutual trust and
responsibility - as every move is trackable. These all are, I want to
believe, also the aims and goals of the humanities. It is rewarding
working with wikis, indeed. – miran hladnik

P. S. Here
eport) is more detailed report of my wiki endeavour.

        Date: 2019-01-10 10:58:59+00:00
        From: Stephen Gregg 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.314: thoughts on Wikipedia

I use to feel uncomfortable about the way in which I was pressured  to warn
students away from Wikipedia, while at the same time, I was using Wikipedia
all the time.

So I began to re-think my own approach to students' use of Wikipedia. I now
encourage them to know how and why Wikipedia works the way it does. I
suggest they check the edit history of the articles; that they check out
the 'five pillars' of Wikipedia; and that they become editors themselves.

Doing this on a module on literature and digital culture (in a UK
undergraduate English literature programme) students learned , for example,
how Wikipedia represents literary history or genre; or that the so-called
'neutral point of view' was not to be trusted even with such a simple
aspect as a plot summary.

I'd thoroughly recommend HASTAC (https://www.hastac.org/ ¦ search
'Wikipedia' and I'd particularly recommend the work of Adrianne Wadewitz)
and Thomas Leitch, Wikipedia U: knowledge, authority, and liberal
education in the digital age (Johns Hopkins, 2014).


Dr Stephen H. Gregg, FHEA
Programme Coordinator: English Literature
Making Books Research Centre

Bath Spa University

Twitter: @gregg_sh 
Blog: shgregg.com

T: +44 (0)1225 875482  M: +44 (0)7771 702912

        Date: 2019-01-10 09:29:53+00:00
        From: Andre Pacheco 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.314: thoughts on Wikipedia

This is indeed a fertile topic for debate. In my eyes, a non-neglectable
part of the discussion orbits around a generational issue. The majority of
scholars that witnessed the introduction of wikipedia amongst a potential
source of citations (visible through the citations used by their students)
were most likely 40+. These individuals were raised in a scholarly
environment dominated mainly by analog sources, taught to face "the
Internet" as an information source with distrust.

On the other hand, as I grew up (I'm late 20s), I have testified on various
levels how the best tools are very often the open source ones. I believe
that the results achieved by a collective group of people brought together
merely by a genuine interest (in this case a topic in Wikipedia) are often
no less inferior than an economical-driven business (a publisher). This is,
of course, a general statement and thus highly debatable, but it is the
same as to say that the best article in Wikipedia is not necessarily
inferior to the worst book published. Ultimately, it always depends on the

And bringing the author into question, another key point to bear in mind is
that a large number of Wikipedia articles are written by a small number of
authors, who are generally experts on a field with published "academic and
certified" works, such as papers and books. So, the same sentence written
by the same author in a paper is fine, but contestable if published on
Wikipedia? Sure, there is the question of trust here. But to what extent is
the scholar peer-review system (based on a pair of 3 expert eyes) more
trustworthy than the Wikipedia one (based on an open source of maybe-less
expert eyes)?

Lastly, another question: Wikipedia entries often have a variety of paper
citations. Is quoting an idea from Wikipedia invalid, but citing the
original paper where that idea originates from valid enough?

Overall, I agree with the use conditions Stuart Dunn argued. Know its
limitations, and use with care. It is, after all, the world's largest

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