As a recent “graduate” of the National Library of Medicine’s Wikipedia + Libraries training modules, I am compelled to share my experiences and encourage anyone who has ever used Wikipedia – yep, you! – to read on…
Although it needs no introduction, Wikipedia is the most-read work of crowd-sourced reference in history. Available in over 320 languages, it has developed into a community of Wikipedian editors and users with transparent policies, laws, and governance procedures to ensure its value and sustainability.
Although this resource is still often neglected in academic environments, the literature presents many examples of Wikipedia being successfully used as both developmental and educational tools for medical students including one at Kingston, Ontario’s Queen’s University and Bethesda, Maryland’s Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in 2020. However, more and more multidisciplinary evidence is emerging and supporting a space for exposure to and training techniques in Wikipedia.
Wikipedia + Libraries: NNLM
The 4-week Wikipedia + Libraries curriculum included objectives relative to its editorial process and guidelines, identifying and evaluating existing Wikipedia articles using its quality grading scheme, and practice reviewing and editing articles – all to support, inform, and validate the Wikipedian community. Also included were support and planning materials to execute a Wikipedia edit-a-thon suitable for students, faculty, and staff. Upon completion, participants are awarded 8 CE credits to support a health science license, credential, or certification.
Wikipedia and the NNLM: Open access resources and training platforms
The Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) offers robust and comprehensive training and information outlets to anyone interested in continuing education. Individuals need not hold the title of “librarian” or other health information professional to register for its many course offerings – and they are all free! In fact, both Wikipedia and the NNLM encourage committed and diverse editors from all cultural and educational backgrounds to ensure any user researching a topic can identify and trace information in order to feel confident utilizing the resource for their research endeavors.
We can help
ZSR is committed to supporting students, faculty, and staff when finding valid information for research projects and assignments. Whether users need primary sources found in peer-reviewed journals or help finding background information (secondary sources) through the use of Wikipedia, we can help. Schedule a Personal Research Session with a ZSR librarian today!