Why We Read Wikipedia

Authors : Philipp Singer, Florian Lemmerich, Robert West, Leila Zia, Ellery Wulczyn, Markus Strohmaier, Jure Leskovec

Wikipedia is one of the most popular sites on the Web, with millions of users relying on it to satisfy a broad range of information needs every day. Although it is crucial to understand what exactly these needs are in order to be able to meet them, little is currently known about why users visit Wikipedia.

The goal of this paper is to fill this gap by combining a survey of Wikipedia readers with a log-based analysis of user activity.

Based on an initial series of user surveys, we build a taxonomy of Wikipedia use cases along several dimensions, capturing users’ motivations to visit Wikipedia, the depth of knowledge they are seeking, and their knowledge of the topic of interest prior to visiting Wikipedia.

Then, we quantify the prevalence of these use cases via a large-scale user survey conducted on live Wikipedia with almost 30,000 responses.

Our analyses highlight the variety of factors driving users to Wikipedia, such as current events, media coverage of a topic, personal curiosity, work or school assignments, or boredom.

Finally, we match survey responses to the respondents’ digital traces in Wikipedia’s server logs, enabling the discovery of behavioral patterns associated with specific use cases.

For instance, we observe long and fast-paced page sequences across topics for users who are bored or exploring randomly, whereas those using Wikipedia for work or school spend more time on individual articles focused on topics such as science.

Our findings advance our understanding of reader motivations and behavior on Wikipedia and can have implications for developers aiming to improve Wikipedia’s user experience, editors striving to cater to their readers’ needs, third-party services (such as search engines) providing access to Wikipedia content, and researchers aiming to build tools such as recommendation engines.

URL : Why We Read Wikipedia

Alternative location : https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.05379

Are Wikipedia Citations Important Evidence of the Impact of Scholarly Articles and Books?

Authors : Kayvan Koush, Mike Thelwall

Individual academics and research evaluators often need to assess the value of published research. Whilst citation counts are a recognised indicator of scholarly impact, alternative data is needed to provide evidence of other types of impact, including within education and wider society.

Wikipedia is a logical choice for both of these because the role of a general encyclopaedia is to be an understandable repository of facts about a diverse array of topics and hence it may cite research to support its claims.

To test whether Wikipedia could provide new evidence about the impact of scholarly research, this article counted citations to 302,328 articles and 18,735 monographs in English indexed by Scopus in the period 2005 to 2012.

The results show that citations from Wikipedia to articles are too rare for most research evaluation purposes, with only 5% of articles being cited in all fields. In contrast, a third of monographs have at least one citation from Wikipedia, with the most in the arts and humanities.

Hence, Wikipedia citations can provide extra impact evidence for academic monographs. Nevertheless, the results may be relatively easily manipulated and so Wikipedia is not recommended for evaluations affecting stakeholder interests.

URL : http://www.scit.wlv.ac.uk/~cm1993/papers/WikipediaCitations.pdf

Content analysis of Journal articles on Wiki in Science Direct Database

The study aims for analyzing the contents of articles on wiki that were published in the journals of science direct database, to find out the methods of research used, type of data analysis techniques used for wiki articles, most productive country contributing highest number of articles, highest contributing author, year wise publication, authors subject background etc.

Out of total 142 hits, from Science Direct database, the articles without having abstract and full text were excluded from the study and a total of 89 numbers of articles were analyzed. The study reveals that Majority of the articles on wiki are research articles and used Survey method. Again descriptive data analysis seemed to be the favored method used in majority of articles.

Germany and USA are the most productive country contributing majority of articles on wiki and majority of the authors contributing the articles on wiki are from Computer science background.

URL : http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/1331/

Wikipédia, une encyclopédie collaborative en quête de crédibilité : le référencement en questions

L’encyclopédie Wikipédia se caractérise par un mode d’élaboration ouvert et collaboratif. La singularité de son modèle éditorial amène à s’interroger sur la crédibilité que lui attribuent ses lecteurs ainsi que sur l’activité normative de la communauté wikipédienne pour la garantir. Une hypothèse serait ainsi que le référencement est un moyen de renforcer la crédibilité des informations encyclopédiques, ce qui pose la question de l’identification de la fonction de ce procédé rhétorique par le lecteur.

Pour appréhender les questions relatives à la valeur épistémique de l’information, un modèle de communication documentaire articulant autorité cognitive, confiance, crédibilité et référencement est proposé. Une enquête par questionnaire auprès de jeunes scolarisés (11-25 ans) montre que la confiance envers Wikipédia varie selon le niveau de scolarité.

Elle est influencée par la réputation académique, majoritairement négative, de l’encyclopédie. Par la suite, les effets d’un projet pédagogique dans lequel des lycéens deviennent des contributeurs à l’encyclopédie sont analysés. Une évolution positive de la confiance envers l’encyclopédie est relevée tant chez les professeurs que chez les élèves, ceux-ci prenant conscience de l’importance des règles communautaires et du référencement.

Enfin, les évolutions des règles relatives au référencement au sein de la Wikipédia en langue française et les débats que ces règles ont suscités entre 2002 et 2013 sont étudiés. L’approche anthropologique et historique adoptée met en évidence le rôle central attribué au référencement pour faire face aux problèmes de confiance épistémique rencontrés par la communauté wikipédienne. Elles révèlent également les tensions inhérentes à ce projet éditorial.

URL : https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-01257207

Wikiometrics: A Wikipedia Based Ranking System

We present a new concept – Wikiometrics – the derivation of metrics and indicators from Wikipedia. Wikipedia provides an accurate representation of the real world due to its size, structure, editing policy and popularity. We demonstrate an innovative mining methodology, where different elements of Wikipedia – content, structure, editorial actions and reader reviews – are used to rank items in a manner which is by no means inferior to rankings produced by experts or other methods. We test our proposed method by applying it to two real-world ranking problems: top world universities and academic journals. Our proposed ranking methods were compared to leading and widely accepted benchmarks, and were found to be extremely correlative but with the advantage of the data being publically available.

URL : http://arxiv.org/abs/1601.01058

The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration System: How Wikipedia’s reaction to popularity is causing its decline

Open collaboration systems like Wikipedia need to maintain a pool of volunteer contributors in order to remain relevant. Wikipedia was created through a tremendous number of contributions by millions of contributors. However, recent research has shown that the number of active contributors in Wikipedia has been declining steadily for years, and suggests that a sharp decline in the retention of newcomers is the cause.

This paper presents data that show that several changes the Wikipedia community made to manage quality and consistency in the face of a massive growth in participation have ironically crippled the very growth they were designed to manage. Specifically, the restrictiveness of the encyclopedia’s primary quality control mechanism and the algorithmic tools used to reject contributions are implicated as key causes of decreased newcomer retention.

Further, the community’s formal mechanisms for norm articulation are shown to have calcified against changes – especially changes proposed by newer editors.

URL : https://www-users.cs.umn.edu/~halfak/publications/The_Rise_and_Decline/halfaker13rise-preprint.pdf

Wikipedia: the difference between information acquisition and learning knowledge

This paper attempts to define Wikipedia in an information literacy context by providing an analysis of learning knowledge and Wikipedia’s structure. The distribution of learning in the digital information age is a core topic for scholarly communication. It is highly relevant to students, citizens and instructors in their roles as users of content and as creators of content.

Even though it appears to be far removed from traditional publishing in the print world, many students, citizens and instructors use digital information tools to share aspects of their works in a way that is defined as publishing. Understanding the difference between information acquisition and learning knowledge are essential in educational settings.

URL : http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4875