18 Apr 2013

Item-level linking between Wikipedia entries and IR content

We previously wrote about the popularity of Wikipedia and how libraries are beginning to embrace the idea of capitalising over this fact. Well, here is another clever digital-collections outreach exercise, which very effectively helps spread the news about, and encourages the usage of, carefully chosen open access institutional repository assets and related IR collections.

Ball State University Digital Media Repository decided to utilise Wikipedia as a gateway to increase the visibility of their collection on a global scale, and they did so with great effect. Rather than linking on a collection level, Ball State decided to drill down and connect selected Wikipedia entries to 40 individual repository items from their Hague Sheet Music Collection between July and September 2011. The consequence of item-level linking in this instance enables Wikipedia users to investigate further as they are now able to directly access a specific resource that is likely to be of relevance to them.

Linking to records from Wikipedia had a considerable effect on user traffic to the Ball State’s repository service. In the year before the link-up, those 40 assets had 1,824 pageviews. One year on and they had attracted a total of 12.956 views – a 610.31% increase. 9,824 of those pageviews originated from Wikipedia. 

Source: Wikipedia
A specific example that highlights the effectiveness of utilising Wikipedia as an entry point and digital outreach tool is a link to the digitised version of the sheet music for “It’s a Long Way To Tipperary” (see the first external link from the Wikipedia entry here).

Before linking from Wikipedia, the item received 4 pageviews, whereas 12 months afterwards it received 640 representing an increase of 15.900% in traffic. 582 of those views were sourced from Wikipedia.

As a side effect of linking from Wikipedia, overall traffic to the Hague Sheet Music Collection tripled between January 2011 and September 2012.

Such figures certainly provide food for thought as to how one’s own IR could potentially benefit from item-level linking from popular digital information services, such as Wikipedia.

Many thanks to Padraig Stack for pointing out this case study in the first place.

Szajewski, M, 2013. Using Wikipedia to Enhance the Visibility of Digitized Archival Assets. D-Lib Magazine, [Online]. Volume 19, Number 3/4, 6. Available at: http://www.dlib.org/dlib/march13/szajewski/03szajewski.html [Accessed 01 April 2013].

1 comment:

  1. An end of year report by a 'Wikipedian in residence' has just gone up on the British Library's 'Digital Scholarship' blog.

    As well as organising conferences and staff training the resident was involved in releasing content to Wikimedia which can then be used in Wikipedia articles (or for any number of other uses).

    One arresting example is the image seen here. If you scroll down the page you can see which articles on Wikipedia now include this image.

    Not only do the British Library get to increase the visibility of their collection, Wikimedia and others also contributed to cover the cost of digitisation.

    The full blog post can be read here.