Ramblings, citations and "brainwaves" of a college librarian in Toronto. 475 square feet refers to the size of my home, not the size of my office or library.

Wikipedia Placement in Academic Libraries

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Pamela Bolan compiled this information.

As requested, I am forwarding to you the Word document I distributed at the Librarian's meeting, listing some of the many other institutions who have decided to include Wikipedia in their listing of Library's Quick Reference Tools.

To recap, some of the reasons in favour of keeping this resource include the fact that it is:

* incredibly current (articles can show up within hours of a major world event taking place)
* on average, quite accurate (as is evidenced by the Nature study noted in Alana's report)
* what people will use anyway (the 17th most popular site on the internet), so we should take this opportunity to educate our users about it's strengths and weaknesses (to put it into the correct context)
* a resource with an amazing breadth of coverage (covers 1000s of topics not even touched upon in Britannica)
* a resource with a depth of coverage that is often better than Britannica's
* included in numerous other institutions' Library Quick Reference Page sites (see attached list)
* multi-lingual (includes articles in more than 200 languages)
* gaining more and more acceptance with librarians (was included in Reference & User Services Quarterly's 7th annual Best Free Web Sites list and when 'tested' by three librarians in a recent Library Journal article ("I want my Wikipedia"), the conclusion was: "While there are still many reasons to proceed with caution when using a resource that takes pride in limited professional management, many encouraging signs suggest that (at least for now) Wikipedia may be granted the librarian's seal of approval".
* it is our reponsibility to educate not only our students, but also our faculty, who may not have as sophisticated a view of the role of new information technologies and the entire wiki phenomenon as we do as information professionals



For each of the following institutions, the URL for the library’s Quick Reference Tools page is included (note: sometimes the page is referred to as Ready Reference Tools, Virtual Reference Shelf, Online Reference Resources, etc.), as well as any annotation information that accompanied the Wikipedia listing.

While the following list presents more than 40 other institutions that include Wikipedia in their Quick Reference Tools page, it does not represent a comprehensive listing.


Cape Breton University

“A free content, multilingual encyclopedia written collaboratively by contributors around the world. The site is a Wiki - anybody can edit and add to an article. Offers quick understanding on controversial issues. Strong in current affairs.”


Kwantlen University College

No annotation


Lambton College

No annotation


McGill University

"Allows for general public authorship and editing of any page," i.e. not peer-reviewed, but gaining more acceptance”


Mount Royal College

No annotation


Ryerson University

“Wikipedia is a multilingual online encyclopedia consisting of over 470,000 articles in English created by more than 16,000 contributors. This is a good source to use for very recent topics.”


Trent University

“Multilingual online encyclopedia.”


University College of the Frasier Valley

No annotation


University of Lethbridge

Note that anyone can edit information”


University of Toronto

“This is a free-content encyclopedia with over 2,000,000 articles in around 200 languages (over 800,000 in English). Anyone can contribute and edit articles. Safeguards are in place to manage accuracy, but it is always good to check other sources to confirm. It is a good source of current topics.”


Vancouver Community College

No annotation



Appalachian State University

“Wikipedia is a free content encyclopedia that is being written collaboratively by contributors from all around the world."


Brighampton University

“Wikipedia's content is created by its users. Pages are always subject to editing, so no article is ever finished. In addition to standard "encyclopedic" knowledge, Wikipedia includes information more often associated with almanacs and gazetteers, as well as coverage of current events.”


California State Polytechnic University

“A free-content encyclopedia that anyone can edit!”


California State University

“A free online encyclopedia which anyone can edit.”


Howard University

No annotation


Humboldt State University

“Online Encyclopedia offering 810,000 articles that is created and edited by volunteers contributors. Browse by broad category such as Culture, Geography, History, Life, Mathematics, Science, Society, Technology, or search for specific topics.”


MIT’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

No annotation


Northeastern State University

No annotation


Pennsylvania College of Technology

An open-content encyclopedia in many languages. In this English edition, started in January 2001, there are 1,260,494 articles. Learn how to edit pages, experiment in the sandbox, and visit the Community Portal to find out how you can edit any article right now.


Pennsylvania State University

No annotation


Purdue University

“largest free online encyclopedia”


Rutgers University

“A wiki-based free content multilingual encyclopedia with supporting almanac-like and gazetteer-like information.”


State University of New York

No annotation


Texas Tech University

No annotation


Tufts University

“This encyclopedia cum dictionary with articles in many languages grows with contributions of its readers. It can be searched or browsed by subjects such as Health, Medicine and Public Health, which contain links to yet other articles and web encylopedias.

University of California

This free encyclopedia contains entries and contributions by volunteers that are not referreed and should be verified. Most contain extensive information with references in a short essay format.


University of Iowa

The collective wisdom of the Internet. A great place to start but fact should be checked carefully. In spite of some well publicized hoaxes a study by Naturedetermined that the Wikipedia was more or less as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica when it came to scientific topics.


University of Michigan

“Begun on January 15, 2001, Wikipedia uses collaborative software to offer this free-content encyclopedia. As defined by the website, "free" means free to add, free to edit, and free to copy and redistribute. Wikipedia is a multilingual open-content online encyclopedia, continually evolving through collaborative development. It is managed and operated by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. In March 2004, it contained over 220,000 articles in English and more than 300,000 in other languages.”


University of Minnesota

“Web-based, self-referential, multi-language, free-content encyclopedia written collaboratively by volunteers. Contains approximately 1.6 million articles.”


University of Missourri

No annotation


University of Nebraska

No annotation


University of North Carolina

“A free content, growing multilingual encyclopedia written collaboratively by contributors around the world. Started in January 2001. Entries can be written and edited by anyone; no one can guarantee the validity of Wikipedia entries. Many entries contain bibliographies with citations to scholarly sources.”


University of North Texas

“A Web-based, free-content encyclopedia written collaboratively by volunteers. The contents can be submitted by anyone regardless of subject specialty or knowledge; therefore, some entries may not be scholarly or accurate. Wikipedia has editions in roughly 200 different languages (about 100 of which are active) and contains entries both on traditional encyclopedic topics and on almanac, gazetteer, and current events topics.”


University of Tennessee

encyclopedia collaborative, nearly 3 million entries in 10 languages”


University of Texas

“This is an experimental open-content encyclopedia produced by volunteers and is not peer reviewed. Contains more than 300,000 articles.”


University of Virginia

"Wikipedia is a Web-based, multi-language, free-content encyclopedia written collaboratively by volunteers and sponsored by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation.”


Wake Forest University School of Medicine

No annotation



University of Bath

“A large free-content encyclopedia that anyone can edit. It is produced by the Wikimedia Foundation, whose goals are to develop/maintain open content, wiki-based projects & to provide full public access to those projects, free of charge. Variable coverage. Accuracy can not be guaranteed.”


University of Cantebury

“Wikipedia is a free collaborative encyclopedia. As anyone can edit any article, it is possible for biased, out of date, or incorrect information to be posted on it. However, because there are so many other people reading the articles and monitoring contributions, incorrect information tends to be corrected quickly. Some articles contain references. Wikipedia may provide a useful starting point for learning about a particular topic, but for the purposes of academic study, information from it should be used in conjuction with standard peer-reviewed sources.”


University of Melbourne

No annotation


University of Sheffield

No annotation


University of Technology Sydney

“the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.”


University of Wales

No annotation


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