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Douglas Honors College

Getting Started in Wikipedia

What is Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is a global, collaborative, free, and online encyclopedia that is constantly being added to. Did you know that anyone can be an editor of Wikipedia? While Wikipedia isn’t a scholarly resource and by nature may not be credible, it can be a useful tool to discover information about a variety of topics. Your assignment is to contribute to Wikipedia and author content to include on a Wikipedia page. You’ll need to do the research to sufficiently backup your entry and cite it on the wiki.

Resources:

Writing for Wikipedia requires research and backing up statements with sources. Here are some library resources to get started with:

Wikipedia Tutorials and Guides

5 Pillars of Wikipedia

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia

Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers. Wikipedia is not a soapbox, an advertising platform, a vanity press, an experiment in anarchy or democracy, an indiscriminate collection of information, nor a web directory. It is not a dictionary, a newspaper, nor a collection of source documents, although some of its fellow Wikimedia projects are.

Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view

We strive for articles in an impartial tone that document and explain major points of view, giving due weight for their prominence. We avoid advocacy, and we characterize information and issues rather than debate them. In some areas there may be just one well-recognized point of view; in others, we describe multiple points of view, presenting each accurately and in context rather than as "the truth" or "the best view". All articles must strive for verifiable accuracy, citing reliable, authoritative sources, especially when the topic is controversial or is about a living person. Editors' personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong on Wikipedia.

 

Wikipedia is free content that anyone can use, edit, and distribute

Since all editors freely license their work to the public, no editor owns an article and any contributions can and may be mercilessly edited and redistributed. Respect copyright laws, and never plagiarize from any sources. Borrowing non-free media is sometimes allowed as fair use, but strive to find free alternatives first.

Wikipedia's editors should treat each other with respect and civility

Respect your fellow Wikipedians, even when you disagree. Apply Wikipedia etiquette, and do not engage in personal attacks. Seek consensus, avoid edit wars, and never disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point. Act in good faith, and assume good faith on the part of others. Be open and and welcoming to newcomers. Should conflicts arise, discuss them calmly on the appropriate talk pages, follow dispute resolution procedures, and consider that there are 6,475,660 other articles on the English Wikipedia to improve and discuss.

Wikipedia has no firm rules

Wikipedia has policies and guidelines, but they are not carved in stone; their content and interpretation can evolve over time. The principles and spirit matter more than literal wording, and sometimes improving Wikipedia requires making exceptions. Be bold, but not reckless, in updating articles. And do not agonize over making mistakes: (almost) every past version of a page is saved, so mistakes can be easily corrected.