The Shifted Librarian had a bad experience at Wikipedia: a library link she added anonymously was quickly deleted by an admin with little explanation. Dire suspicions were evoked: Walt Crawford wondered whether this was evidence of an anti-library bias. Upon investigation, it turned out that Wikipedia already has an automated system for linking ISBNs to libraries and booksellers, rendering one-off links unnecessary.
One should not be overly sensitive when entering a new collaborative space, at least until you know how things work. But the sense that libraries and librarians are not well-represented at Wikipedia is, I think, bang on. And if, as Walt rightly says, the ISBN page is a “monstrosity” (but at least it puts the library links before the booksellers!), there’s scope for librarians to move in and improve it. Wikipedia ought to know about OpenURLs, for example, especially now that latent OpenURLs are coming into focus.
There’s a lot we could do for Wikipedia, and nothing to stop us from taking over. Invade! To this end, I’ve just created a Wikipedia project page for librarians interested in working on Wikipedia. As a first step, I’ve posed the question: what should the ISBN linking page look like?
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