Wikipedia is the world's most popular reference source. Many users begin their research on Wikipedia. Increasingly, it is used by those seeking information directly; Wikipedia's highly ranked pages come up at the top of general web searches. Libraries working with Wikipedia not only help build the largest encyclopedia in human history by adding high quality references, but they bring readers back into the library to explore their collections. For Wikipedia, access to high quality published sources enhances the encyclopedia's mission, improves our reliability, and improves the impact of vital tertiary scholarship.
The mutual benefit of this approach is that our best editors gain access to the best available sources, while libraries help serve their mission of sharing knowledge while learning how to harness the power of Wikipedia. The aim is to build and strengthen connections between universities, the source of creating new knowledge, and Wikipedia, the broadest platform for disseminating it—to generate good will between librarians (our research heroes) and Wikipedia editors (our public knowledge superstars).
Libraries working with a Wikipedian as a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar, granting full, remote access to its collections, reference support and in-library access to collections, will benefit in the following ways:
- Increased source usage
- Ensures that library resources are appropriately embedded in Wikipedia, which will give those important resources more visibility.
- Wikipedia Visiting Scholars lead readers from Wikipedia to the best available resources, and back to their own library for further research, increasing usage of library's materials.
- Librarians will be able to more effectively leverage the scholarship they do now in creating LibGuides and other lists and bibliographies by working with the visiting editor to ensure important, core resources are appropriately represented in Wikipedia.
- Library users will be able to see their library's resources in use — to support cited articles, and, in the case of E-switch, to provide full-text access to articles cited on Wikipedia.
- Demonstrated impact
- Wikipedia Visiting Scholars will note the number of articles they enhance with access to library resources, and the number of new citations they are able to correct or add, with help of the library collections. Libraries can cite those figures to prove that they are helping researchers use a popular source to gain access to authoritative information.
- Eswitch should be able to tell libraries how many times their articles are being accessed via the API, another indication of usage and value to the library, to the publishers of those articles, and to the users.
- Public promotion
- Wikipedia Visiting Scholars partnerships will be promoted within the Wikipedia community and shared with the library's institution, and shared public media.
- Wikipedia Visiting Scholars will blog and otherwise share their experiences, and can highlight participating libraries role in providing a valuable contribution to Wikipedia's mission and purpose.
- Libraries can point to their participation and contributions and talk about how this heightened exposure and visibility is helping them to be more relevant to an online audience