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Wikipedia Sources: Managing sources in rapidly evolving global news articles on the English Wikipedia

Wikipedia Sources: Managing sources in rapidly evolving global news articles on the English Wikipedia

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Published by Heather Ford
An ethnographic study of how Wikipedians manage sources on the encyclopedia, including a case study of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution article on English Wikipedia
An ethnographic study of how Wikipedians manage sources on the encyclopedia, including a case study of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution article on English Wikipedia

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Published by: Heather Ford on Aug 09, 2012
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05/29/2013

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“WikipediaSources:Onthebooksandontheground”2012HeatherFord.Ushahidi
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WikipediaSources:
ManagingsourcesinrapidlyevolvingglobalnewsarticlesontheEnglishWikipedia
AnUshahidi/SwiftRiverReportbyHeatherFord,Ushahidi/SwiftRiverEthnographer,August,2012
 
“Wikipedia Sources: Managing sources in rapidly evolving global news articles on the English Wikipedia” by Heather Ford, Ushahidi is licensedunder aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License(go herehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc- sa/3.0/deed.en_USfor the full license).
 
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“WikipediaSources:Onthebooksandontheground”2012HeatherFord.Ushahidi
 
Tableofcontents
1.
 
Introduction32.
 
Acknowledgements53.
 
Executivesummary64.
 
Preface135.
 
Sourcesonthebooks156.
 
Sourcesontheground:TheCaseofthe2011EgyptianRevolutionWikipediaarticle227.
 
Conclusionsanddesignconsiderations498.
 
Bibliography57
 
 
“WikipediaSources:Onthebooksandontheground”2012HeatherFord.Ushahidi
3
 
Introduction
HowisaWikipediaarticledifferentfromanewsarticleaboutthe2011Egyptianrevolutionatdifferentpointsinthestory’sevolution?WhataretherolesofsocialmediaandotherInternetsourcesinrapidlyevolvingarticles?Andwhat,really,isWikipedia’sworkingperspectiveonsocialmediasources?ThisreporttellsthestoryofWikipediasourcesthroughaseriesofcasestudiesincludingthe
 2011EgyptianRevolution
Wikipediaarticle,highlightinghowsourceswerechosenandcategorized,whatwerethemostimportantvariablesusedindiscussingsources,andwhatthismightmeanforfuturetool-buildingandotherprojectsrelatedtosources.
Whatdowemeanbysources?
MyworkingdefinitionofsourcescomesfromWikipedia’sdefinitionbutwithoneimportantaddition.WhileWikipediareferstothecharacteristicsofsourcesintermsofthereferencescitedinarticles(includingcharacteristicsofa)thearticleorbooketc,b)thecreatorandthec)publisherofthework),Iaddthe
Wikipediaeditor 
asanimportantsourceoftheevolvingarticle.Wikipediaeditors,itturnsout,areimportantarbitersoftruthinrapidlyevolvingarticles,especiallysincefewsecondarysourcesareavailabletoprovideanalysis(orsummariesetc)oftheeventssoclosetoitsstart.AndalthoughmanyclaimthatWikipediansplayamere“janitorial”role,itisclearfromatleasttheexamplesdiscussedinthisreportthatamuchmorefundamentalroleisbeingplayedbyWikipedians,especiallyintheearlystageofanevent.
Whyaresourcesimportant?
Sources(boththereferenceandeditorvariety)areimportanttounderstandbecausetheymediatewhatweread,seeandhearonWikipedia.Wikipediaisbuiltonthethreefoundationalcontentpoliciesof“verifiability”,“nooriginalresearch”and“neutralpointofview”.Thismeansthat,accordingtopolicy,Wikipediansmayonlyaddinformationthatreflectswhatitcalls“reliablesources”.Furthermore,Wikipediansmustaddinformationinawaythatfairlyrepresentsallsignificantviewsofthosesources.Sourcesareusedfortwokeyreasons:thefirstistodeterminethenotabilityofanarticle’ssubject,thesecondistoverifyinformationcontainedwithinthearticle.IfwelookatbroadpatternsintheEnglishWikipedia’sarticlecontent,wecanseehowarticlestendtorepresenttheworldviewofWikipediaeditors(the“sources”thatIaddtothedefinitionprovidedbyWikipedia).MarkGraham,forexample,hasshownhowthe
 place
inwhichmosteditorslivecorrespondswiththeplacesthatarerepresentedonWikipedia.HehasfoundthatlargepartsofAfricaremain“invisible”asaresultofthesedifferences(Graham,2011).IfwelookatanotherdiagramcreatedbyGrahamandhiscolleaguesattheOxfordInternetInstitute(Graham,Stephens,Hale,&Kono,2012),wecanseehowthesepatternsarebroadlysimilartopatternsinthelocationsoftheworld’sacademicjournals,oneofthekey“types”ofknowledgethatWikipediansconsiderreliable.Consequently,thelocationofeditors(asonetypeofWikipedia“source”)isavariablethatmighthelpreadersunderstandthe“completeness”ofanarticle.Tryingtomapoutthesevariablesistouchedoninthisreport,butcouldalsobeexpandedinfutureresearch.

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Good diagram about the processes in breaking news and how it becomes Wiki.
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