Researching wikipedia - current approaches and new directions

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Abstract

Wikipedia (<http://www.wikipedia.org >), an international, multi-lingual and collaboratively produced free online encyclopedia, has experienced massive growth since its inception in 2001. The site has become the world's single largest encyclopedia as well as one of the world's most diverse online communities. Because of these factors, the site provides a unique view into the processes of collaborative work and the factors that go into producing encyclopedic content. To date, there has been no unified review of the current research that is taking place on and about Wikipedia, and indeed there have been few formal studies of the site, despite its growing importance. This project is a review of social science and information science studies of the site, focusing on research methods and categorizing the areas of the site that have been studied so far. Studies of Wikipedia have focused primarily on the social dynamics of contributors (such as how disputes are resolved and why contributors participate), and the content of Wikipedia (such as whether it is an accurate source), but due to the unique collaborative processes on Wikipedia these two areas are deeply intertwined.

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