Having An Impact Through Wikipedia
Posted by Brian Kelly on 2 July 2010
Re-Discovering Amplified Events
A recent tweet from Miquel Duran (a University professor, researcher in quantum chemistry, fostering communication of science 2.0 and university 2.0) alerted me to a blog post on The ‘Amplified Conference’.
As this is a particular area of interest to me I read the post and thought “yes, I agree” with its summary of the benefits of an amplified event :
- Amplification of the audiences’ voice: Audience members through the use of such social media technologies (such as Twitter) can create online discourse during the sessions in real-time
- Amplification of the speaker’s talk: Widespread and inexpensive video and audio-conferencing technologies
- Amplification across time: With low-cost technologies, presentations are often made available after the event, with use of podcasting or videocasting technologies
- Amplification of the speaker’s slides: With social media lightweight technologies, (such as Slideshare) entire presentations can simply be uploaded, shared, and embedded on other Web sites and commented upon
- Amplification of feedback to the speaker: Micro-blogging technologies (such as Twitter) are being used not only as for discourse and knowledge exchange among conference participants
- Amplification of collective memory: With the widespread availability of inexpensive digital cameras, photographs are often uploaded to popular photographic sharing services
- Amplification of the learning: With the Web resources and social media technologies, following links to resources and discourse about the points made by a speaker during a talk propagates the learning which takes place at an event.
- Amplification of the historical conference record: The ‘official’ digital resources such as slides, video and audio recordings which have been made by the conference organizers
I then thought that the words sounded familiar and, on rereading the Amplified Conference page on Wikipedia, I realised that I was reading words I had coined when I created the Wikipedia page in on 30 August 2008!
The blog post mentioned above linked to a previous post on Amplified Conferences in the Social Media World written by the author for Suite101.com. I found it interesting to compare the examples provided in the post with my Wikipedia article. I had written, for example,
Amplification of feedback to the speaker: Micro-blogging technologies, such as Twitter, are being used not only as a discussion channel for conference participants but also as a way of providing real-time feedback to a speaker during a talk. We are also now seeing dedicated microblogging technologies, such as Coveritlive and Scribblelive, being developed which aim to provide more sophisticated ‘back channels’ for use at conferences.
Amplification of a conference’s collective memory: The popularity of digital cameras and the photographic capabilities of many mobile phones is leading to many photographs being taken at conferences. With such photographs often being uploaded to popular photographic sharing services, such as Flickr, and such collections being made more easy to discovered through agreed use of tags, we are seeing amplification of the memories of an event though the sharing of such resources. The ability of such photographic resources to be ‘mashed up’ with, say, accompanying music, can similarly help to enrich such collective experiences.
The Suite101.com article had nicely summarised. It was perhaps surprising that the article hadn’t provided a link to the Wikipedia article which, I would assume, was a source resource – but this isn’t something which particularly concerns me. Indeed I did wonder that if Suite101.com has a policy that one shouldn’t cite Wikipedia entries (as may be the case in higher education) whether the author would be in a position to cite the resource? I have to admit that when I wrote the article I only cited Lorcan Dempsey’s original (brief) blog post and an article published by Paul Shabajee in the Times Higher Educational Supplement – the main body of the text was content I created in Wikipedia and had not published elsewhere (which perhaps I shouldn’t have done?).
Maximising Impact Using Wikipedia
Despite my uncertainty as to whether I should have first published an article described amplified conference which I could then cite (although I would then not have a neutral point of view!) discovering the reference to Amplified Conferences has made me appreciate the impact which an article in Wikipedia can have. Although I can’t find usage statistics for the page I suspect that the article will have been read my more people than have read my various peer-reviewed papers, blog posts, etc. (Can anyone suggest on ways in which this claim could be validated?)
I have previously suggested that Wikipedia should be used more widely across the higher education sector. Shouldn’t, where appropriate, the outputs of JISC-funded reports be included in Wikipedia articles? As an example consider the JISC-funded report on MODS: Metadata Object Description Schema [PDF]. This report, written in 2003, was commissioned by the JISC and is now hidden on the JISC Web site. meanwhile there is a brief entry on MODS in Wikipedia which, I would have thought, would have benefitted if the information provided if the JISC report had been included.
The JISC report does state that the copyright is held by JISC. This is a barrier to providing content in Wikipedia, which must be made available under a Creative Commons licence. But as JISC seek to be proactive in encouraging take-up of their deliverables under open access licences, I suspect this is not a fundamental barrier on allowing such content to be made available in a popular environment such as Wikipedia.
And with the growing interest in DBpedia (the Linked Data representation of Info boxes in Wikipedia entries) providing content in Wikipedia may also allow such content to be integrated in Linked Data applications.
Whilst I feel it would be inappropriate to mandate that the content of reports commissioned through public funding should be made available on Wikipedia, I do feel that this should be encouraged. What’s your view?
Twitter conversation from Topsy: [View]