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Google Scholar Citations & Wikipedia Initiative

November 20, 2011

I started a temporary job this week, at the University of Cincinnati Classics Library. It was sudden, and is temporary, because it followed the unexpected death of David Ball, the longtime Circulation Supervisor there, and PhD of that department, whom I knew slightly during our overlap in the Blegen in 2000. He is and will continue to be much missed.

In my experience the first week of a new job one is either left alone and bored for long periods while training is being organized, or one is run off one’s feet.  Guess which last week was for me? There’s also some “work for hire” language in the temp agency paperwork that makes me uncomfortable, so I’ll be blogging exclusively on my own time, which has many other demands on it already, such as 3rd grade spelling homework.  Two quick notes, though:

Following swiftly on the heels of the Bing Scholar outreach into Arts and Humanities, Google has opened up its “Citations” program to all comers.  What this means is you can sign up to manage a page for yourself as a Google Scholar author, verify that scholarly works Google Scholar identifies as by you are actually by you, and link out to a web site (hmm, following on Chuck Jones’s post about the prevalence of full-text papers in Institutional Repositories and desirability of an index thereto, why not link to a place scholars can download .pdfs of your work?)  There are also the beginnings of citation metrics, a feature Microsoft Academic Search is also developing, both as a challenge to the most commonly used metrics in (subscription-based) Science Citation Index at Web of Science.

Here’s a link to my citations page, if you want to see what it looks like.  Obviously if your name is as uncommon as mine, you’re probably easily findable in Google Scholar anyway, but if you share a name with many scholars in many fields, Google Scholar Citations is a great way to make your work more easily findable amidst the mass of Karen Joneses out there.

On another topic, I sadly neglected to note who brought to my attention the American Sociological Association’s call for a Wikipedia Initiative among scholars in that field.  Hat tip to somebody, probably Chuck Jones or David Meadows!  The essay linked above can be boiled down to: Think Wikipedia stinks for sociology? Well, people are going to keep using it, so why not make it better?  Gabriel Bodard bruited the idea of a Classics Wikipedia Hack Day on Twitter a while back, but enthusiasm was somewhat limited.  I myself was a bit daunted when I set out to be a one-woman Wikipedia Classics Hacker, and wrote about some reasons why.  But I still think it would be valuable, and one might even argue that it’s necessary, for scholars to improve Wikipedia articles in their fields. I just can’t quite see yet how to make it happen, and I hope the Sociologists find a good way forward with this.

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One comment

  1. Phoebe, I have considered assigning upper-level undergraduates to evaluate and revise a Wikipedia article relevant to a class, but I’m not sure if it’s really the best assignment for their development.



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