Pew Internet and American Life Project has released a new report about Wikipedia users and I predict this will become a hot topic for library bloggers. One writer on Resource Shelf has posted some “ideas and concepts to consider”. The primary discussions centers around reasons why people choose to use Wikipedia. For example, the author ponders if users know that other free online encyclopedias exist and if users understand how articles are submitted to Wikipedia. As I blogged about previously, I think Wikipedia does have its place as a starting point particularly for popular culture queries. Citizendium is mentioned as another free encyclopedia so I decided to search for “hapa” a Hawaiian word to describe someone who is half caucasion. Citizendium does not have an entry but Wikipedia does. Not only does it have an entry but that entry has links to other relevant sites such as: Asian Nation, Cornell Hapa Student Association, and links to newspaper and magazine articles. While Wikipedia is not an ideal tool, especially in the eyes of “information professionals”, I completely understand why the public turns to Wikipedia. As I’ve stated before, I would not use Wikipedia as an authoritative source but as a starting point for some topics (particularly popular culture).
Wikipedia and Popular Culture