Why I link to Wikipedia

Those who regularly read my blog will have noticed that I link to Wikipedia more often than to other more seemingly appropriate sources. This is not necessarily because Wikipedia is the best source to link to for the item in question but because Wikipedia:

  • usually provides a basic intro to/definition of the topic or term I am hyperlinking from
  • is likely to be permanent whereas other links can break over time
  • nearly always contains under External Links the alternative link I would have chosen!

This last point is the most critical one. Next time you follow a link on my blog and wonder why on earth I chose Wikipedia to link to because the article itself seems pretty minimal (and sometimes the articles are), take a look at the list of External Links. Chances are you will find something there of interest. If you don’t, well, it may just be that I couldn’t – or was too lazy to (hmmm) – find anything better!

Oh, and while we are talking about Wikpedia, I heard on Radio National (not a Wikipedia link this time!) this morning that the Australian branch of Wikimedia was going to meet today with about 170 representatives from Australian museums and galleries to talk about collaboration. I assume they’ll be more successful than the parent Wikimedia was with UK’s National Portrait Gallery. (Cheap shot I know, as that situation was not the result of collaborative talks!). Anyhow, it is interesting to see the trajectory of Wikipedia’s path to the point where the world’s major cultural institutions are now seriously interested in collaborating. (Listen to the Radio National Link – Liam Wyatt of Wikimedia gives an example or two of recent collaborations).

4 thoughts on “Why I link to Wikipedia

  1. Yes, I agree. It is a matter of money – and of priorities re money. Most of the institutions up here have bitten the bullet. We all started working on it in the mid to late 90s – separately but met jointly to discuss standards, policies etc. it was a fun time.

  2. I always link to Wikipedia – except when I can link to a publisher’s website that tells me more. I never link to retailers these days – best to get to an impartial source in my view.

  3. Yes, I tend to avoid retailers sites for that and other reasons. They can often be quite messy too and hard to get to the “real” info. Some publisher sites can be good as you say.

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