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Verifiability, The Wikipedia Library, and the #1Lib1Ref campaign

Wikipedia has been criticised for its accuracy, even though it compares favourably to other credible reference sources, including Encyclopaedia Britannica. Because of the accuracy concerns, universities recommend against using Wikipedia for academic research, despite their preferred source—papers in academic journals—also having quality issues.

The criticism leveled at Wikipedia is questionable given that it’s accuracy is no worse than other sources, and the concerns are becoming increasingly unsustainable due to the considerable effort being put into improving the reliability of Wikipedia articles.

Wikipedia now has a verifiability policy, as discussed in the video above. Verifiability means that:

Readers must be able to check that any of the information within Wikipedia articles is not just made up. This means all material must be attributable to reliable, published sources. Additionally, quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be supported by inline citations.

Wikimedia Germany and the Simpleshow Foundation have produced a further video1 showing editors that they should use good sources of information when editing articles on Wikipedia.

The Wikipedia Library is supporting verifiability by helping Wikipedia editors access reliable sources to improve articles, and also helping knowledge professionals share their collections with the public.

A key initiative of The Wikipedia Library is the #1lib1ref (One Librarian, One Reference) campaign. In 2017, its second year, #1Lib1Ref runs from 15 January to 3 February. The goal is for every librarian worldwide to add one reliably sourced reference to Wikipedia using the step-by-step process provided.

The Wikipedia Library and IFLA have also published two opportunities papers showcasing the many successful collaborations between libraries and Wikipedia.

Article source: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).


  1. Video is licenced by CC BY-SA 4.0.
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Also published on Medium.

RealKM Magazine

RealKM Magazine brings managers and knowledge management (KM) practitioners the findings of high-value knowledge management research through concise, practically-oriented articles.

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