The Future of Wikipedia

David Parry bio photo By David Parry


One of the conversations that has been floating around the web lately, was mentioned yesterday on The Chroncile. Apparently the financial future of Wikipedia is less than guaranteed. While I think this is probably a case of Wikipedia trying to raise its giving profile, I am drawn to the end quote in the Chronicle article.

Paul McNamara of Network World assesses the situation bluntly: “When you think about the impact that Wikipedia has had upon our society — not all of it good, certainly — it’s astounding that the organization tasked with keeping it afloat has to resort to bake sales and begging.” –Brock Read

It seems to me that Wikipedia is a tremendous social resource, and that academia might want to become more invested in its well being. On a simple level this might mean Universities could donate money to help keep it afloat, why not is would be much more cost effective than paying for a subscription to Britannica Online. On a more radical level it might mean that Universities become invested in the content of Wikipedia. That is what if professors took time to update, manage, watch and contribute to Wikipedia, becoming a public intellectual, and at my most radical, what if you could put this on your CV and/or tenure review?