In the flow - Washington and Wikipedia


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In recent presentations I have been referring to the University of Washington’s initiative to systematically put links to its digital collections in relevant Wikipedia entries. I use it as an example of putting library resources ‘in the flow’ of their users’s behavior. If Wikipedia is where many folks end up when they are looking for things, then it makes sense to have links there. Ann Lally and Carolyn Dunford describe the initiative in the current issue of D-Lib Magazine and discuss its impact.

Web 2.0 technologies offer librarians a great opportunity to enhance the authority of resources that students use on a daily basis, and to push their knowledge and expertise beyond the traditional boundaries of the library. We now consider Wikipedia an essential tool for getting our digital collections out to our users at the point of their information need. We view this as a very low cost way to enhance access to our collections, as well as an effective way to participate in the creation of resources that are used by millions around the world. We will continue to explore how we can take advantage of the opportunities that Web 2.0 technologies offer us when marketing our digital and physical collections. [Using Wikipedia to Extend Digital Collections]

They also point to an interesting report [pdf] from MIT Libraries which presents the findings of an investigation of information seeking behaviors of their students. Based on findings they note the following priorities for the Library:

  • Make discovery easier and more effective
  • Incorporate trusted networks in finding tools
  • Continue to put links to the Libraries’ services and resources where the users are>

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