Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hoover Wikipedians

The archival community has been slow to embrace Wikipedia, whereas the Hoover Archives staff have been adding information about Hoover's archival collections to Wikipedia for more than two years. Usually a simple entry is made in the "External links" section, which refers readers to the Hoover Archives, such as the following example in Wikipedia's Firing Line entry: "The Firing Line collection (with a program list and RealVideo clips) from the Hoover Institution Archives." We've added a lot of these links, from the entry about Boris Pasternak to one about Chiang Kai-shek so as to connect Wikipedia users to our collections.

Adding such links makes sense. Wikipedia entries rise to the top of the results of most search engine queries, with Wikipedia referring a chunk of traffic to the Hoover website. In addition, college students are frequent users of Wikipedia, according to an article in First Monday, which says that a majority of students always or frequently consult it for course-related research, usually for background information about a topic and to get started with research. The article was based on a study of how college students seek information. To reach out to students, then, there's no better place for the Hoover Archive's presence than this go-to source for those commencing their research.

Excerpt from Wikipedia's Firing Line entry (