Friday, October 21, 2011

Wikipedia Loves Libraries, But…


 Do librarians love Wikipedia?  As part of the online encyclopedia’s “Wikipedia Loves Libraries” campaign, a “wiki-coordinated program of…editathons” are being held at libraries and archives in a number of North American cities throughout October.

In Manhattan, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has scheduled “Wikipedia! The Musical!” for Saturday, October 22 at noon. Described in the New York Times as “an event meant to improve Wikipedia’s musical-theater-related entries using the library’s special collections,” volunteer editors will have access to the library’s vast accumulation of information on the industry. 

As far as librarians are concerned, the response to Wikipedia seems mixed at best. The ease with which anyone can change entries and the reliability of claims made in the text are just two of the concerns raised on many forums. One New Jersey librarian has expressed a qualified acceptance of Wikipedia, calling it a “backup” resource from which one can start researching a subject, but one that she doesn’t “trust...100 percent.” What do you think? 

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