User:MartinPoulter/Sausages and Scholarship

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This was a 15-minute presentation given at the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) seminar on "Digital Policy: Connectivity, Creativity and Rights", University of Leicester, 18 November 2011.

Abstract[edit | edit source]

Sausages and scholarship
The role of "open" in digital literacy

People who enjoy sausages or legislation should not watch them being made. Is the same true of scholarship? Overlapping social movements, going under names like “Open Science” or “Free Knowledge”, say that scholarship is the opposite: that transparency is central to credibility. The most visible manifestation of this approach is Wikipedia and its sister projects, built by a volunteer force of roughly a hundred thousand, in a community whose actions, policies and platform are open.

The work of an encyclopedia such as Wikipedia is very different from, but complementary to, academic research or education. An up-to-date digital literacy requires an understanding of how these activities fit together. Error and systematic bias are present in Wikipedia, just as they are present in any serious publishing enterprise. The Wikimedia community and academic communities each have processes to weed out misleading or outdated information, but these only serve their purpose if they are understood by the reader. As modern life involves consuming ever increasing volumes of information, it is more important than ever for a broad populace to understand the process: to see the sausages being made before they eat them.

The good news is that, by working just a little more closely together, academic communities and wiki communities have new opportunities to promote this digital literacy to a mass audience at very low cost.

Slides[edit | edit source]

Nineteen slides shared in PDF format

Twitter reactions[edit | edit source]

timdavies Tim Davies

.@mlpoulter highlighting breadth of wikipedia project work in #digipol11 -deeper understanding of wikipedia model a key to digital literacy

timdavies Tim Davies

What's the best short guide to how Wikipedia works that all educators should read? #digipol11 Lots of gd resources here

josiefraser Josie Fraser

Evaluating Wikipedia article quality (pdf) #digipol11

daveowhite David White

Discussion around the merits of using Wikipedia as a way of tracking long running news stories mainstream media drop. #digipol11

timdavies Tim Davies

#digipol11 Suggestion in summing up that we collectively improve Wikipedia Digital Literacy article < good idea

josiefraser Josie Fraser

Agree! RT @timdavies: #digipol11 summing up suggestion - we collectively improve Wikipedia Digital Literacy article

PaulJReilly Paul Reilly

@mlpoulter Hi Martin, really enjoyed ur paper yday! would you be up for doing one of our dept research seminars next year (post April)? Paul