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Authority of knowledge: historians on Wikipedia in Higher Education

Doucet, Delphine, C. M. (2023) Authority of knowledge: historians on Wikipedia in Higher Education. In: LILAC, 19-21 April 2023, UNiversity of Cambridge. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

Authority of knowledge: historians on Wikipedia in higher education

This paper will present results from a qualitative research project which explored the relationship between history academics’ conceptions of knowledge and authority in their fields of research and their assessment of Wikipedia’s authority and credibility as a teaching resource. The author, herself a history lecturer, conducted in-depth interviews with eight historians from UK universities to investigate their views on the topic.
As universities move forward from the pandemic and engage more and more in the development of digital learning and teaching (JISC, 2022), Wikipedia appears ever more like an opportunity to enhance students’ digital skills and literacy and some institutions have embedded Wikipedia in their teaching (Ball, 2019; The University of Edinburgh, 2022). These initiative recognise the status of Wikipedia as the largest internet encyclopaedia and a well-established feature of people’s search for knowledge (Cummings, 2020a; Wikipedia, 2022b).As the site’s prominence grew, its relationship with academia remained fraught although it has evolved from suspicion and rejection to tolerance if not full acceptance (Jemielniak, 2019; Cummings, 2020a; Konieczny, 2021b). History seems to be a case in point. This is particularly poignant as historical articles in Wikipedia are amongst the most consulted (Samoilenko et al., 2018). Nevertheless, history lecturer’s attitudes to Wikipedia have not been explored in depth.
Through the interviews, historians reflected and explored their understanding of Wikipedia in relation to notions of authority in their fields of research. From this exploration, they considered whether Wikipedia could be used in teaching to benefit students. These interviews lead to fascinating conclusions on the tensions between a discipline such as history and potential use of Wikipedia as a tool for teaching.
This presentation will outline the results of the research. These can form the basis of further reflection on the ways in which the notion of authority can be discussed and made more explicit to students. This notion is all the more important since understanding authority is at the heart of stemming the rise of misinformation and disinformation in our societies (O’Connor & Weatherall, 2019).

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Uncontrolled Keywords: History, Wikipedia, Authority
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Delphine Doucet

Identifiers

Item ID: 16587
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/16587
Official URL: https://www.lilacconference.com/lilac-archive/lila...

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Delphine, C. M. Doucet: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4683-7231

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2023 10:59
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2023 12:15

Contributors

Author: Delphine, C. M. Doucet ORCID iD

University Divisions

Services > Library & Study Skills

Subjects

Education > Higher Education
Librarianship > Librarianship

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