December 3, 2020

Research Paper: “Situating Wikipedia as a Health Information Resource in Various Contexts: A Scoping Review”

The full text article linked to below was recently published by PLOS One.

Title

Situating Wikipedia as a Health Information Resource in Various Contexts: A Scoping Review

Authors

Denise A. Smith
McMaster University
Western University

Source

PLoS ONE 15(2): e0228786
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0228786

Abstract

Background

Wikipedia’s health content is the most frequently visited resource for health information on the internet. While the literature provides strong evidence for its high usage, a comprehensive literature review of Wikipedia’s role within the health context has not yet been reported.

Objective

To conduct a comprehensive review of peer-reviewed, published literature to learn what the existing body of literature says about Wikipedia as a health information resource and what publication trends exist, if any.

Methods

A comprehensive literature search in OVID Medline, OVID Embase, CINAHL, LISTA, Wilson’s Web, AMED, and Web of Science was performed. Through a two-stage screening process, records were excluded if: Wikipedia was not a major or exclusive focus of the article; Wikipedia was not discussed within the context of a health or medical topic; the article was not available in English, the article was irretrievable, or; the article was a letter, commentary, editorial, or popular media article.

Results

Conclusion

The literature positions Wikipedia as a prominent health information resource in various contexts for the public, patients, students, and practitioners seeking health information online. Wikipedia’s health content is accessed frequently, and its pages regularly rank highly in Google search results. While Wikipedia itself is well into its second decade, the academic discourse around Wikipedia within the context of health is still young and the academic literature is limited when attempts are made to understand Wikipedia as a health information resource. Possibilities for future research will be discussed.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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