Submissions/Librarians in Israel and the Wikipedia Challenge

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

Librarians in Israel and the Wikipedia Challenge

This is an open submission for Wikimania 2011.

Review no.


I would like to discuss the fantastic potential of cooperation between Israeli librarians and wikipedians.

Wikipedia has never been very popular among Israeli librarians. Typically library patrons would be cautioned not to rely on its content.

This constant suspicion has different rationals:

  • While libraries stress authority of their sources, Wikipedia entries' authority cannot easily be determined
  • It is common knowledge among professionals that books are more reliable, conventional, well organized...
  • Google (and therefore Wikipedia as well?) can best represent the currently popular trends, where as printed material represent actual scholarly information
  • Had searching been that simple – where would it have placed our professional prestige?!

But as the song goes:

Birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

Library patrons "do it" as well: teenagers, under graduate students, professors, ordinary citizens everywhere you look - - - even librarians use the Wikipedia.

Well - - - let's admit it. Let's --- fall in love?

What good can librarians do?

  • Add bibliographic notes to existing Wikipedia articles
  • Proofread, update, keep maintenance of existing Wikipedia entries
  • Make use of different capabilities of our online catalogs in order to enrich Wikipedia information
  • Add fiction reading lists to Wikipedia entries when applicable
  • Offer Wikipedians reference services
  • Write Wikipedia entries, naturally


In order for these relationships to succeed Wikipedia needs to be attractive enough for the librarians to get involved.

  • Having the libraries credited by Wikipedia might be greatly appreciated
  • Different types of cooperation …

If we can envision it, we can do it.

How can we "do it"?

The speaker is the owner of the yahoogroups SAFRANYM group, with currently over 230 Israeli librarians, information specialists and educators. This has been an on going working group for eleven years now. With this experience and long time working relations - "let's do it".

The speaker also blogs (in Hebrew) on the subjects of libraries and Wikipedia, and has been helping to expand the Wikipedia way of life among her colleagues.

The speaker wishes to put across a call for building a working panel of librarians, information specialists and Wikipedians.

This paper is a call for information professionals at the libraries and wikipedians together to collaborate in strengthening the libraries within their communities and building together the free encyclopedia.

Interested Attendees

  1. Vibhijain 13:03, 4 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]