Aside from knowing about and referring to Wikipedia, I really had no clue what a wiki was until my first term reference course here at FIMS.  Even then, I was hesitant to use the class wiki because I was so unfamiliar with the concept.  One of the tasks for the course this week was to edit a Wikipedia page.  I was actually really surprised at how uncomfortable I was while completing this task – it made me really nervous to contribute to something that is so public.  As much as I, like Professor Neal, agreed with Lim’s statement that “educators and librarians need to provide better guidelines for using Wikipedia, rather than prohibiting Wikipedia use altogether” (Lim, 2009, p.2189), the ease of use of the Wikipedia site is downright frightening.   It really does prove to you that anyone with internet access and basic internet navigation skills can alter any Wikipedia entry they choose.  Scary.

Carol McGeehon gives a detailed outline of the manner in which her library system used a wiki.  The amount of material she described as being covered by the wiki was quite overwhelming.  It sounds a lot like the wiki is being used as sort of an intranet site for their library system.  I didn’t fully understand the “MyTiki” (McGeehon, 2010, p.10) feature she spoke of at the end of her piece, but I can see how it would be important to have some way to highlight the wiki information that is relevant to you.

Lim’s article took a look at university student Wikipedia use – a pretty relevant topic choice given today’s emphasis on Wikipedia’s credibility.  Even though I understand that Wikipedia is highly used, there are two points made by Lim in her article that surprised me:

1) “Wikipedia was used more frequently than library databases” (Lim, 2009, p.2199)

The fact that this point surprises me, might have more to do with the fact that I am in Library school, than anything else.  I think being in this program has biased me towards the use of published sources.

2) “one-third of the respondents tended to use Wikipedia for academic purposes” (Lim, 2009, p.2199)

This seems like an overwhelming number of students!  At this point in my academic career, I’m not likely to turn to something outside of the scholarly literature unless the instructor specifically tells me that I can.  In fact it felt a bit weird (and almost liberating) to be able to use sources outside of the standard library literature for Assignment 1.

References:

Lim, S.  (2009).  How and Why Do College Students Use Wikipedia?  Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(11), 2189-2202.  Retrieved from <http://web.ebscohost.com>.

McGeehon, C.  (2010).  A Wiki Way of Communication.  OLA Quarterly, 16(3), 7-10.  Retrieved from <http://data.memberclicks.com/site/ola/olaq_16no3.pdf>.

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