Online strategies and new business models: the Wikimedia phenomenon

22 February, 2010

TechTalks, UOC

Today Julià Minguillón, Academic Director of the UNESCO Chair had a meeting with Kul Wadhwa, Managing director of Wikimedia Foundation once he finished his talk at UOC (you can see the summary here).

During the meeting they discussed about how to promote the use of Wikipedia among teachers and, of course, students. One of the main problems is that nowadays it seems that most HE institutions are adopting learning object repositories as a way of organizing learning resources, which is a top-down approach, while Wikipedia is built using a bottom-up approach, driven by the community.

Repositories and Wikipedia serve to different purposes, but teachers creating content are not able to easily “transfer” such content from institutional repositories to Wikipedia and viceversa. Wikipedia is based on hyperlinking, creating a network of contents (i.e. pages) linked to each other, while repositories rely on structured metadata descriptions which are usually created by librarians. The way repositories (and digital libraries) are used has nothing to do with the philosophy of Wikipedia, so there is an important gap we need to bridge between both worlds in order to avoid duplicated efforts.  New ways of organizing and searching for information in both Wikipedia and learning object repositories must be devised, as well as new user interfaces that exploit the possibilities of mobile devices. Wikipedia could be an important tool for making the deep web more visible.

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