New Research Report: “Analyzing Accessibility of Wikipedia Projects Around the World”
The following report was recently released by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
Analyzing Accessibility of Wikipedia Projects Around the World
Rebekah Heacock Jones
via Harvard DASH Repository
This study, conducted by the Internet Monitor project at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, analyzes the scope of government-sponsored censorship of Wikimedia sites around the world. The study finds that, as of June 2016, China was likely censoring the Chinese language Wikipedia project, and Thailand and Uzbekistan were likely interfering intermittently with specific language projects of Wikipedia as well.
[Our emphasis] However, considering the widespread use of filtering technologies and the vast coverage of Wikipedia, our study finds that, as of June 2016, there was relatively little censorship of Wikipedia globally. In fact, our study finds there was less censorship in June 2016 than before Wikipedia’s transition to HTTPS-only content delivery in June 2015. HTTPS prevents censors from seeing which page a user is viewing, which means censors must choose between blocking the entire site and allowing access to all articles. This finding suggests that the shift to HTTPS has been a good one in terms of ensuring accessibility to knowledge.
The study identifies and documents the blocking of Wikipedia content using two complementary data collection and analysis strategies: a client-side system that collects data from the perspective of users around the globe and a server-side tool to analyze traffic coming in to Wikipedia servers. Both client- and server-side methods detected events that we consider likely related to censorship, in addition to a large number of suspicious events that remain unexplained. The report features results of our data analysis and insights into the state of access to Wikipedia content in 15 select countries.
Direct to Full Text Report (74 pages; PDF)
Filed under: Data Files, News, Open Access, Patrons and Users
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.