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Wikipedia + Libraries: NNLM

Wikipedia is a go-to resource for health and medical information, not just for the general public but for health care providers as well. Over 50% of physicians and 94% of medical students use Wikipedia to find medical information on the Internet. (Heilman, 2015) It may be popular, but library staff want to know how reliable it is and how they can assess that reliability on behalf of their patrons. This course will help you build the knowledge and skills you need to confidently guide your patrons to authoritative medical and health information online.

This course is self-paced, delivered in Moodle over four weeks. It consists of 4 online modules which include activities such as discussion forums, readings and tutorials where you will gain insight into the value of Wikipedia as a viable reference and build the skills and knowledge needed to evaluate articles on Wikipedia for yourself or your patrons, with a specific focus on health and medical topics.

This course will cover

  • The inner workings of Wikipedia, how the online encyclopedia is built by volunteer editors, how libraries are involved, and why this matters for health and medical information
  • The Five Pillars, or fundamental principles of Wikipedia that guide editor participation, and Conflicts of Interest
  • Wikipedia health and medicine article standards (WP:MEDRS) and reference criteria in order to evaluate reliability and access additional authoritative information.
  • Getting started with editing Wikipedia references and links
  • WikiProject Medicine, an organization of volunteers dedicated to developing, maintaining, and promoting accurate medical information on Wikipedia.
  • The #CiteNLM Wikipedia edit-a-thon and the free resources, programming and training that NNLM offers to libraries

As a result of participating, you will be able to

  • Understand the history, organization, guidelines, and editorial processes of Wikipedia, and apply this knowledge to library work
  • Confidently evaluate the reliability of health and medical articles found in Wikipedia
  • Identify the reliable sources guidelines and article standards for health-related content
  • Edit citations and know where to go for editing help outside the boundaries of the course
  • Engage and empower your community members to build information literacy skills and to access authoritative information on health-related topics
Class Length: 
8 hours over four weeks.
Course Owner(s):
Margie Sheppard, MLS, Technology Coordinator - Kansas
Sharon Han, Associate Fellow
Jennifer Ortiz, Consumer Health Coordinator
Margie Sheppard, MLS, Technology Coordinator - Kansas
Liz Waltman, MLIS, Outreach, Education and Communications Coordinator
Continuing Education:

Upon successful completion of this class, each participant will receive 8 hours of continuing education credit awarded by the Medical Library Association. Certificates will be available upon completion of class assignments, including course evaluation. This course qualifies for CHIS Levels 1 and 2. 

CHIS Competencies
C3. Knowledge of Subject Matter and Resources
C4. Evaluation of Health Information
C6. Literacy and Health Literacy
C7. Technology and Health

This class is eligible for Consumer Health Information Specialization continuing education credit awarded by the Medical Library Association.

Past Classes

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Upcoming Classes

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