In this issue of Books & Bytes, we're happy to announce some new partnerships, branches, coordinators, and news. October and November have seen more non-English branches launching signups, the creation of a new Norwegian branch, and an exciting series of Open Access Week events. We also announce our #1Lib1Ref campaign for the Wikipedia 15 celebrations, and cover an interesting presentation about citations on Wikipedia.
We'd also like to take this opportunity to highlight the Global Wikipedia Library on Meta. This portal showcases the projects and accomplishments of each of our language branches. New and growing branches also have their own Meta planning pages to coordinate and track their progress, for example: meta:The Wikipedia Library/Norwegian. If you're interested in helping to start a branch on another language Wikipedia, please get in touch! wikipedialibrarywikimedia.org
New volunteer coordinators
We want to welcome eight new awesome members to our Coordinators team!
We always need volunteers to help coordinate account distribution or perform other tasks. This role takes only 1–2 hours of work a week, and brings with it the satisfaction of connecting writers and researchers with the resources they need (and the occasional barnstar from happy recipients!). If you have benefited from a TWL account or are interested in helping out, sign up here.
On 4 December, Geoffrey Bilder of CrossRef and Dario Taraborelli of the Wikimedia Foundation hosted a presentation on scholarly citations in Wikipedia. CrossRef assigns digital object identifiers (DOI) to scholarly articles. Wikipedia is now the fifth largest referrer of citations to the scholarly literature – Bilder discussed the implications of this for Wikimedia and academia. Crossref also maintains an intriguing livestream of DOI citations added to Wikipedias (see link below). Taraborelli talked about the possibility of extracting and storing all source data from Wikimedia via Wikidata, to create a human-curated citation repository.
Librarians have nuanced opinions about Wikipedia. In the early days of the project, many in the library world were openly critical of the crowdsourced approach to knowledge creation. This was for a variety of reasons, but a major factor was the lack of focus on the reliability and authority of the information presented in Wikipedia articles. As Wikipedia evolved in the mid-2000s, the emphasis on reliability and good sourcing increased. However, some librarians still choose not to engage with Wikipedia, and urge their patrons not to use it in their research.
Part of the Wikipedia Library's mandate is to build relationships with librarians and professionals in the information world. One very easy way for librarians to contribute to Wikipedia is by adding references. Librarians are specifically trained to locate and organize the best available sources of information on a topic. They know where to look, and how to look. So TWL is issuing a challenge to librarians worldwide:
add one reference to any Wikipedia article!
We're calling this global, crowdsourced campaign #1Lib1Ref, and you can read all about it on Meta.
A librarian might ask: "Sure, I can contribute to Wikipedia. But why should I?" A simple answer would be that library patrons, especially the younger generations, are already using Wikipedia, and that librarians should be more familiar with how it works. Editing is the fastest way to get a deeper understanding of the inner mechanisms of the project. A second, often-overlooked reason is that Wikipedia can be a publicly available bridge between the Internet and the resources in brick-and-mortar libraries. Items used as references in Wikipedia articles have much higher discoverability than they would otherwise, and the more the reading public becomes aware of them, the higher the chances are that people will want to access them at the institution. Many libraries have unique collections of excellent resources; Wikipedia can be an avenue to let the world know about them.
If you are a librarian, please join the project! If you have librarians in your social or professional circles, let them know about the initiative. The Meta project page is still under development; please join us there to improve the instructions and strategy, and sign up as a coordinator. The #1Lib1Ref drive is scheduled for January 15–23 in the new year (coinciding with Wikipedia's 15th birthday!) We hope to use social media heavily to get the word out about the project. If even a small percentage of the world's hundreds of thousands of librarians participate, Wikipedia will be a more reliable source to the public.
Strategy and planning: Q3 goals
This is what we're planning for January through March in 2016. Note that these are a draft and won't be finalized until the end of December. We'd love to hear your thoughts on our direction and focus. Click through to see the second slide with 3 more goals.