Professors Shore Up Wikipedia Entries on Public Policy

The Chronicle of Higher Education


Wikipedia, the user-written encyclopedia, has a shortage of public-policy articles, so it is getting help from nine universities to solve the problem. The Public Policy Initiative of the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit group that operates the online reference work, is running a pilot program during the 2010-11 academic year, asking public-policy professors to require active student participation on the site as a part of their courses.
Brian Carver, an assistant professor at the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Information, says he is involved because the site can add new information to the public domain. For instance, he encouraged a student to write an article about a portion of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act dealing with disclosures required by third-party service providers in Internet privacy cases, because he saw that the section of the act had been cited in Wikipedia but did not have a full entry devoted to it.
He said he is hopeful that his students’ contributions will improve the quality and accuracy of entries related to public-policy topics. 11/3/2010