The Wikipedia Library/Reference

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Wikipedia Library owl.svg The Wikipedia Library

Reference desk at the UNC edit-a-thon, April 2013.jpg

Reference desk
Get advice about researching subjects from experienced editors

How it works[edit]

Editors often need help with research, either how to locate appropriate sources or to get information to understand a specific topic they are researching. Reference desks crowdsource answering of these kinds of questions.

The Wikipedia Library wants to help editors help each other with research. A way to do that is to set up a reference desk page on your local Wikipedia. Editors ask research questions and other editors provide them with responses and sources.

Any project can set up their own reference desk (e.g. English Wikipedia). We think it helps to have a local coordinator to work with us (and set up a local library branch if one doesn't yet exist). Then we set up a reference desk for people to ask reference questions.

It's often helpful to create basic guidelines about what kinds of questions are appropriate (for example, no medical or legal questions) and to give some tips on ways to ask a question so it will result in more useful answers.

Because reference desks a crowdsourced, it then is necessary to actively invite and recruit reference experts to help answer questions. Local coordinators can play a role in that, as well as as marking questions as resolved and archiving them.

Contact a Wikipedia Library representative to set up a reference desk in your community