Wikipedia for Africanists

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Wikipedia for Africanists

Type: Article / Letter to editor
Title: Wikipedia for Africanists
Author: Muller, H.Damen, J.C.M.
Journal Title: African Research & Documentation
Issue: 124
Volume: 2014
Start Page: 3
End Page: 9
Pages: 7
Issue Date: 2014
Keywords: African Studies
Abstract: How can Africanists and information specialists in African research and documentation get the most out of Wikipedia, and how can they contribute to Wikipedia? This article argues that Wikipedia is useful both as a universally accessible - albeit not specifically academic - free reference tool and as a channel for outreach to disseminate sourced academic and non-academic information. The 'African Studies' article on the English-language Wikipedia provides some slightly dubious definitions but also gives a useful hyperlinked list of notable Africanists, institutions and degree courses. But not all the socalled 'notable' Africanists and institutions mentioned are in truth very notable (or are they: John Frank Clarke and Antumi Toasije?). One of the pitfalls of Wikipedia, namely its self-promotion, may be a factor here. At the same time, an information specialist of researcher using Wikipedia can obtain an overview within minutes, navigate to more information on the subject and can correct and provide additional information useful to colleagues and a general readership worldwide. This article considers how Wikipedia works and how it can meet some of the needs of African experts but also be of benefit to the general public.

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