According to N.P.R., Wikipedia’s Public Policy Initiative has recruited professors from eight different universities (including Harvard and U.C. Berkeley) to incorporate Wikipedia into their courses on public policy. No, students will not be citing sources from Wikipedia. Rather, their research will be used to improve and expand Wikipedia’s entries concerning public policy.
Have you ever considered contributing to Wikipedia? If, during winter break, you find yourself getting sick of watching reruns of Entourage, perhaps you should consider becoming a Wikipedia collaborator. If you’ve done research for class this quarter, consider incorporating it into existing Wikipedia articles or even creating new entries. Or perhaps you’re an expert in pop-culture. Why not go through Wikipedia’s sprawling entry for Star Wars with a fine-tooth comb, looking for any inconsistencies?
As Virginia Heffernan of the New York Times notes, Wikipedia is “the world’s master catalogue raisonnée for new clumps of data.” Will you join those already collaborating on Wikipedia–the “legion” of “nameless authors” whom Heffernan calls “the Audubons, the Magellans, the Berensons of our time”?