Wikipedia: Good for Students, Good for the Google

November 14, 2019

There may be some help for over stressed PhD student.

The Internet Archive is making it even easier to check out online citations, beginning in the most logical place. The organization’s blog describes how it is “Weaving Books into the Web—Starting with Wikipedia.” Writer Brewster Kahle tells us:

“The Internet Archive has transformed 130,000 references to books in Wikipedia into live links to 50,000 digitized Internet Archive books in several Wikipedia language editions including English, Greek, and Arabic. And we are just getting started. By working with Wikipedia communities and scanning more books, both users and robots will link many more book references directly into Internet Archive books. In these cases, diving deeper into a subject will be a single click. … For example, the Wikipedia article on Martin Luther King, Jr. cites the book To Redeem the Soul of America, by Adam Fairclough. That citation now links directly to page 299 inside the digital version of the book provided by the Internet Archive. There are 66 cited and linked books on that article alone. Readers can see a couple of pages to preview the book and, if they want to read further, they can borrow the digital copy using Controlled Digital Lending in a way that’s analogous to how they borrow physical books from their local library.”

The Internet Archive hopes to bring four million more books online over the next few years. It costs about $20 per book, and anyone can help by sponsoring the digitization of specific books or simply donating to the organization. As the director of their Wayback Machine declares, “Together we can achieve universal access to all knowledge, one linked book, paper, web page, news article, music file, video and image at a time.”

Who benefits? Students and, of course, Google. There’s a reason many queries’ results pages point to the Wikipedia service.

Cynthia Murrell, November 14, 2019

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