Wikipedia Project: Setup


You are not editing Wikipedia yet, but you will near the near the end of this course. However, it's not too early to learn about the process. Please review this article on it:

And this article on Wikipedia stub articles:

Becoming a Wikipedia Editor

In this course, the main assignment involves identifying a Wikipedia article, searching for information sources that we can add to the article, collecting those sources in our reference manager (RM), and then editing the Wikipedia article in order to add our findings that summarize those sources in a way that makes sense for a Wikipedia article.

So far, we have covered the following topics that will help us with our project:

  1. Information sources and resources
  2. Bibliographic reference management
  3. Information retrieval: the web
  4. Information retrieval: databases
  5. Analyzing evaluating information sources

And for the remainder of the course, we will continue to cover specific library and web resources, how to use them, and how to incorporate them into our work flows. By the end of the semester, we will have collected enough material to edit the Wikipedia article that we have identified this week.


For this week, your task is to identify a Wikipedia article to edit. The Wikipedia article must be a stub article, which are articles that are "deemed too short to provide encyclopedic coverage of a subject." You will analyze the article for shortcomings, and collect sources that will address those shortcomings using the search skills and source knowledge you have and will acquire this semester. At the end of this semester, in the second part of this project, you will edit the Wikipedia article, and add any relevant text as well as the references to the sources that you collected.

For now, your job is to:

  • Create an account on Wikipedia (if you do not already have one).
  • Identify a Wikipedia stub article that you would like to analyze and edit later. See below on tips to do this.
  • Begin to analyze the stub article for informational shortcomings.
    • That is, stub articles are incomplete articles, and thus they are missing information to complete them. Your goal will be to complete these articles.
    • You can start thinking about what's missing from this articles with respect to the W questions: who, what, when, where, why, and of course, how.
    • But you can also think about these articles as narratives, as we discussed in the prior section.
  • Begin to collect and describe at least four sources over the course of the next four weeks.
    • Two sources will come from the library.
    • Two sources will come from the general web.

For this week, you will submit to the discussion board a post that describes your activities. Your post should respond to the following:

  1. Provide your Wikipedia account name and a link to your Wikipedia homepage.
    • For example, my account name is Cseanburns and my Wikipedia homepage is
    • You must edit your Wikipedia homepage and add some basic biographical information. Note: it's not necessary to identify yourself as a student or use your linkblue username for this assignment.
  2. Provide the title of the stub article that you would like to edit and a link to the page.
  3. State why you chose the stub article.

Identifying a stub

In the Information Retrieval: Web section, you might recall that I wrote the following:

...our queries are not divorced from the documents nor the corpus. When we construct queries, it's useful to think about the content (corpus) that we are searching.

This, along with the search techniques I covered in that section, offer a major clue on how to locate a Wikipedia stub article. Basically, the process requires knowing something about how stub articles are identified on Wikipedia. That is, it's helpful "to think about the content that we are searching." Specifically, Wikipedia editors take great care in labeling stub articles as stub articles, and you can see this on the Diskworld stub article I link to above. At the bottom of that article, you'll see the following text:

This computer magazine or journal-related article is a stub [emphasis added].

If we look at other stub articles, we'll see the same four words at the bottom of their pages. We can use this pattern to build a search query in Google (or other search engines). For example, we can figure that the phrase "article is a stub" probably appears consistently at the bottom of all stub articles. So let's include that in our search query within quotes so that the search engine treats it as required. Then we can add a keyword based on our own interests. For example, I'm interested in technology, and so I might add that as a query term. Finally, knowing that we're searching Wikipedia only, since this is a Wikipedia-based project, we can use the site: operator in our search query. Basically, I found the Diskworld article using the Google query below:

"article is a stub" technology

And then I simply browsed through the results until I identified an article I was interested in looking at more closely.