The Wheel of Wikipedia Collaborating at Boston University Libraries

The Wheel of Wikipedia Collaborating at Boston University Libraries

Rachel Dwyer (Boston University, USA) and Laura Jenemann (Boston University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-2515-2.ch011
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


Librarians at Boston University Libraries cultivated their curiosity and enthusiasm for Wikipedia into a community for campus-wide collaboration at Boston University (BU). The librarians' first experiences learning to edit Wikipedia at local events inspired them to later host their own events at BU Libraries. These events led to the libraries' instrumental support for implementing the Wikipedia Student Program at BU through a collaborative undertaking between faculty and librarians. As a result of building these new collaborations, the libraries became a point of contact for faculty and students interested in Wikipedia, found a new medium with which to explore shared pedagogical goals between the libraries and different departments, and gained visibility by being formally acknowledged in the publications and awards of colleagues at BU who are leading Wikipedia initiatives.
Chapter Preview

Literature Review

While there is a significant amount of literature on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects, we will touch briefly on literature specifically applicable to effective collaborations in academic libraries. The 2018 publication of the edited book, Leveraging Wikipedia: Connecting Communities of Knowledge (Proffitt, 2018) marks an important moment in the history of libraries: libraries had embraced Wikipedia, a crowd-sourced born-digital reference work, to such an extent that the collaboration had resulted in an edited book published from the American Library Association specifically on the topic of libraries and Wikipedia as a form of collaboration. No longer forbidden fruit, Wikipedia was now recognized as a valuable information tool, sharing “common interest around a culture that valued reference skills, information literacy, and access to information” (Orlowitz, 2020).

From the earliest days of the Wikipedia Education Program, librarians have been involved in supporting Wikipedia in higher education (Davis, 2018). This may be partially because librarians found that their profession shared values with Wikipedia on issues of free and open access to information, and both Wikipedia and the library were destination points for information-seekers (Soito, 2017).

Key Terms in this Chapter

ACRL Framework: 2015 standard used by librarians in higher education institutions to guide teaching and learning goals, objectives, and activities. The term is short for the American Library Association’s The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

Wikipedia: Free online multilingual encyclopedia consisting of millions of pages.

First or Native Language: Primary language(s) or mother tongue(s) used by speakers.

Edit-a-Thon: Also spelled as editathon. An event where Wikipedia editors, or those who write in Wikipedia, edit together on a shared topic, such as Art+Feminism topics related to issues of diversifying representation and the arts.

Crowdsourcing: Enlisting contributions of knowledge or content from the general public and especially from an online community.

General Education Curriculum: Series of courses across various disciplines required for all or most undergraduate majors in colleges and universities.

Dashboard: Wiki Education’s tool for assigning and tracking courses participating in the Wikipedia Student Program.

English Language Learners (ELLs): A heterogenous group of multilingual students who are developing their skills in speaking or writing English in addition to their primary languages ( National Council of Teachers of English, 2008 , p.2).

Wiki Education Foundation: Also known as Wiki Education or WikiEdu. A spin-off foundation from the Wikimedia Foundation that connects U.S. and Canadian higher education institutions to Wikipedia through Wikipedia Student Program assignments.

Wikipedian: One who edits, rather than simply reads, Wikipedia (Wikipedia, 2022 AU62: The in-text citation "Wikipedia, 2022" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: