Submissions/Wikipedia as a research environment

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2014 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this August.

Submission no. 6024
Title of the submission

Wikipedia as a research environment - making it better Outline:

  1. Most people reach Wikipedia because they are searching for something
  2. if all the material in libraries were digitally accessible/online, Wikipedia would not serve a purpose
  3. Wikipedia is popular because libraries either do not exist, difficult to get to, and not easy to search
  4. More people are searching for information than being here to provide information
  5. Based on the analogy of an ant-colony - foragers are key to maintaining the colony
  6. The assistance for seekers at the reference desk, resource exchange is weak
  7. Providing seekers with access to reliable sources is a critical mission that should be taken up by WMF and considered as important as developing the software
  8. Seekers should be rewarded with knowledge from reliable sources and they pay back by digesting content and enhancing Wikipedia content
  9. Dealing with payments for library access, scanning book pages, journal articles and transferring content while avoiding the problems of copyright and dealing with this across countries could involve use of the Chapters
  10. I would also like to highlight the fact that this is more of an issue in the "Global South" where there are fewer public toilets and public libraries than non-governmental organizations per capita (!)
  11. A small analysis of (IP) editors in India - what a lack of reliable access results in for Wikipedia
  12. Argue that missions for the "Global South" need to challenge existing state and make use of more "in-kind" (library support) aid
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)

Discussion / presentation

Author of the submission

Shyamal L.

E-mail address



Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog

Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

Wikipedia has gradually evolved from a free-for-all knowledge-sharing site towards one that is increasingly similar to traditional research and scholarship with a growing need for reliable and relatively complex citation standards. It has also begun to aim to reach into traditional knowledge production and memory institutions - largely driven by volunteers and to a very limited extent, country-specific chapters. I forward the idea that libraries, more than any other institutions, need to be linked into the system in more fundamental ways. Access to libraries (whether defined in a traditional sense or otherwise) are too important in achieving the very basic policies of WP:OR, WP:RS and given that the "Global South" is infamous for having a neglible spend on public libraries, it becomes critical that Wikipedia as a system works towards improving the situation of access. Self-organized and rather disparate help systems like, the Wikipedia:Reference_desk(s) and some of the more active WikiProjects work thanks to unsung heroes but a sustainable system cannot rely on heroics. Enhancing research support will not only go a long way to improving content but will also act as a magnet and a nucleus for more scholarly contribution. I would like to discuss some suggestions and approaches to unifying the disparate and hard to find research entry points and to enhance the research experience for seekers of knowledge (and to increase the probability of them turning into providers/synthesizers via Wikipedia).

  • Open Scholarship
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 Minutes

30 mins

Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

Yes but only if I receive a scholarship.

Slides or further information (optional)

To be added later.

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