Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wikipedia scanner

Judy Daniluk is our web/IT specialist and she sent me the following email this morning.



Did you hear this story on NPR this morning? I think it ought to be mentioned on our blog.

A grad student at the California Institute of Technology has developed a tool that can scan Wikipedia, partially trace the users that are modifying the articles, and show which user made which changes. It shows that in many cases the articles are being slanted by "interested parties." For example, negative information in an article about Wal-Mart was deleted by someone using a Wal-Mart corporate computer. The story cites other examples concerning Dow Chemical, Diebold, and Exxon-Mobil.

The changes are only traced as far as the IP address of a computer inside a particular company, so there's no proof that the changes are being made by company employees, but the implication is strong.

Wikipedia has never claimed to be an authoritative, unbiased source of information, but many people, not understanding the nature of the wiki format, tend to accept it that way. This new tool may help people realize that it is important to confirm their facts with other information sources .

The NPR story can be found at
The story in Wired magazine, which the NPR story references, can be found at


No comments:

Post a Comment