Putting Wikipedia to the Test: A Case Study

Pender, Michael P, Lasserre, Kaye, Kruesi, Lisa, Del Mar, Christopher and Anuradha, Satyamurthy (2008). Putting Wikipedia to the Test: A Case Study. In: The Special Libraries Association Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington, USA, (1-16). June 16, 2008.

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SLA_Abstract.pdf Structured abstract application/pdf 38.42KB 257
SLA_Paper.pdf SLA Paper application/pdf 73.52KB 1675
Author Pender, Michael P
Lasserre, Kaye
Kruesi, Lisa
Del Mar, Christopher
Anuradha, Satyamurthy
Title of paper Putting Wikipedia to the Test: A Case Study
Conference name The Special Libraries Association Annual Conference
Conference location Seattle, Washington, USA
Conference dates June 16, 2008
Publication Year 2008
Sub-type Fully published paper
Start page 1
End page 16
Total pages 16
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
BACKGROUND: As guiding students’ use of clinical information resources is an important role of the medical program, we wondered how well Wikipedia, given its popularity with students, compared with long-standing resources.

METHODS: Blinded to the information resources, medical academics compared conjunctivitis, multiple sclerosis and otitis media entries from Wikipedia against those from AccessMedicine, eMedicine and UpToDate, using a scale developed to rank their accuracy, coverage, concision, currency and suitability for medical students. Medical librarians assessed their accessibility and usability.

RESULTS: The entries in Wikipedia, in comparison with the other resources, were easy to access, navigate and well presented. Although reasonably concise and current, they failed to cover key aspects of two of the topics, and contained some factual errors. Wikipedia was thus judged unsuitable for medical students. AccessMedicine entries were judged the most suitable resources for medical students by two of the reviewers; the third was critical of the lack of emphasis on empirical data.

CONCLUSIONS: Wikipedia was found currently unsuitable for medical students in isolation from other medical information resources. Traditional information resources would be improved by having in-text referencing to strengthen the link to evidence. Perhaps experts should contribute more to Wikipedia to ensure it provides best information.

Subjects 0807 Library and Information Studies
Keyword Clinical Research
information literacy
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: University of Queensland Library Staff Publications and Presentations
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Created: Thu, 21 Jan 2010, 10:24:48 EST by Ms Hollie Thomas on behalf of The University of Queensland Library