WikiDashboard from PARC

Since it has become a popular destination for students, Wikipedia has had a special place in the hearts of faculty, and by that I don’t mean a nice and sunny place. It’s often argued that because it is freely editable by anyone and everyone, the overall quality of the articles is suspect. Perhaps this assertion is true, but it’s not one that has been shown conclusively to be true. And there are those that argue the exact opposite is in fact true.

Researchers at PARC have given us all a tool that might help us come to a better conclusion by providing what they call “social transparency” with respect to Wikipedia articles and their editors. Check out their really interesting work on the issue:


They’ve also included a quick start if you’re not exactly sure how it works.

2 Comments so far

  1. Clay on February 2nd, 2009

    Hey Jimmy, I have to agree with you. I definitely believe that a good deal of the resistance is generated by the newness of the knowledge paradigm we’re dealing with in Wikipedia. At this point, we’re still at the early adopter stage with this set of tools in higher education. And you know what they say about pioneers: “They often end up with arrows in their backs.”

  2. Huck on February 28th, 2009

    Hey, Clay – I may be an academic who goes against the grain, but I’ve always found Wikipedia to be a pretty darn good and accurate resource. Sure, it doesn’t have the benefit of verifiable academic peer review, but I’ve always found entries that I’ve looked into that are relevant to my own academic field to be quite solid. I think most academics don’t like it because it represents a loss of control over information over which the “guild” of Ph.D.s claims proprietorship. I think that claim is bunk and is rife with self-important elitism. The fact is that academics can just as readily edit Wikipedia as anyone else, so why would they complain when they can always throw their expertise into the ring. Frankly, I think it’s great that Wikipedia decentralizes knowledge away from the academy. On another completely unrelated note, I heard that the McGoverns are leaving for Bush-land. I wish you all well, but we’ll miss you here. Brush up on your Spanish. Peace, mi amigo.