Wikipedia and libraries are in the same business. Both institutions want to make as much knowledge available to as many people as possible, free of charge. Despite these shared aims, the two groups have remained largely distant. Of course, there are librarians who are Wikimedians, and there are libraries that have worked with Wikipedia’s GLAM projects. There’s Wikipedia Loves Libraries. Wikipedians have developed tools and links to help integrate library resources, but these remain few and underused. Libraries contain vast stores of knowledge, and many want to meet Wikipedia halfway, somehow. How can Wikipedia better bridge the gap to that knowledge?
John Mark Ockerbloom (User:JohnMarkOckerbloom), a digital library architect and planner at the University of Pennsylvania, has devised a different platform, called “Forward to Libraries”. This service uses the Wikipedia article title as a subject or keyword search in the user’s library of choice, using the library’s online public access catalog, or OPAC. One can choose a library from a sub-page, or go directly to a library of choice by allowing browser cookies. Ockerbloom discussed his ideas in a blog post last week. Boing Boing contributor, fiction author and Wikipedian Cory Doctorow was impressed, calling the template “a fabulous proposal for creating research synergies between libraries and Wikipedia”. Ockerbloom’s new template is at Template:Library resources box. For an example of its use on a live page, see the “Further reading” section of Louisa May Alcott.
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On a related note…Here’s a video of a presentation from the Fall 2012 CNI Meeting that recently was made available online.
It’s titled, “Wikipedia and Libraries: What’s the Connection?” and features:
Senior Program Officer