When I had first started the class of “Wikipedia and the Humanities” I viewed Wikipedia more as an easy-search, easy-access lexicon without thinking much about how the entire system behind it works. After a semester spent learning about the history and intricacies of Wikipedia, taking a closer look at the guidelines for writing and in the end of the course becoming a published author on Wikipedia myself, my opinions on the open web lexica have changed drastically.
Доверяй, но проверяй: The Trustworthiness and Usefulness of Wikipedia
in Different Languages as Seen at the Example of the
German/English article of Vladimir Nabokov
By Kerstin Schmedt & Hannah Thoma
An old Russian proverb goes Доверяй, но проверяй (doveryai, no proveryai) or as US President Ronald Reagan put it: “Trust, but verify”. Something that would be a perfectly valid advice to many of the modern students of this day and age, considering that they have grown accustomed to a constant availability of information. Gone are the days in which one needs to leaf trough heavy tomes in search for data, which has been replaced by typing a single keyword into a search engine of Wikipedia (WP for short). Depending on the language that the user has chosen they will encounter different structures, seldom will they find a page that is an exact copy of another. In the following we will use the German/English article – which will be shortened in the following as simple G and E respectively whenever possible – on author Vladimir Nabokov as example to form a comparison of the outlines to give the reader a short overview of the general differences. After which we will examine both Wikipedia pages, if they truly follow the Wikipedia guidelines in terms of editorial context. So in the end we can weigh which of them is the superior and therefore, offer the user the more trustworthy information.