Knowledge Sharing on Wikimedia Embassies

Fichman, Pnina and Hara, Noriko . Knowledge Sharing on Wikimedia Embassies., 2013 In: Global Wikipedia. Scarecrow Press. (In Press) [Book chapter]

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English abstract

Introduction With the proliferation of the social web, online knowledge sharing across cultural boundaries has become a norm. For example, the English Wikipedia attracts users from all over the world, and much of Wikipedia is written in languages other than English. Intercultural collaboration occurs daily on Wikipedia with users from all over the world making valued contributions. Online intercultural collaboration on Wikipedia is intriguing but under-studied, as the majority of research on Wikipedia is based on the English site with few exceptions. Existing cross-cultural research on Wikipedia includes comparative accounts of Wikipedia in multiple languages (e.g., Callahan and Herring 2011; Hara, Shachaf, and Hew 2010; Pfeil, Zaphiris, and Ang 2006; Stvilia, Al-Faraj, and Yi 2009) and case studies of Wikipedia in languages other than English (e.g., Han-Teng 2009; Shachaf and Hara 2010). More scholarly attention is needed in order to understand the ways in which the social web can mediate, facilitate, or hinder intercultural collaboration and how this, in turn, can influence knowledge sharing. The chapter aims to address this gap by identifying the style of interaction that characterizes global knowledge sharing behaviors on Wikipedia as well as the topics that are posted by users from various countries on Wikimedia Embassies, which assist in cross-lingual projects. More broadly, the research we present here emphasizes a socio-technical understanding of Wikipedia, and is particularly informed by Social Informatics (Kling 2007). Social Informatics is, “the interdisciplinary study of the design, uses, and consequences of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) that takes into account their interaction with institutional and cultural contexts” (Kling, Sawyer, and Rosenbaum 2005, 6). As such, it illustrates the ways in which technology facilitates, mediates intercultural collaboration in an international context, and seeks to answer the question: How do users with diverse national and linguistic backgrounds engage in global, boundary-spanning activities online? The study also delineates how the technological infrastructure is appropriated for local and global use, and how activities on Wikimedia Embassies can enhance our understanding of Wikipedia at the local and global level Wikimedia Embassies offer useful insights into how cultural and institutional contexts interact with each other and how such contexts influence online knowledge sharing.

Item type: Book chapter
Keywords: inter cultural collaboration, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, knowledge sharing
Subjects: A. Theoretical and general aspects of libraries and information. > AB. Information theory and library theory.
B. Information use and sociology of information > BA. Use and impact of information.
B. Information use and sociology of information > BC. Information in society.
B. Information use and sociology of information > BG. Information dissemination and diffusion.
H. Information sources, supports, channels.
L. Information technology and library technology > LZ. None of these, but in this section.
Depositing user: Amanda Ferrara
Date deposited: 21 Oct 2013 01:57
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:28
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10760/20334

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