Web scientist at DERI awarded fellowship for Wikipedia research

25 Jul 2012

A PhD researcher based at NUI Galway’s web science research institute DERI has just been awarded a Zipf fellowship and a cash prize of US$10,000 for her research that is delving into how editors make decisions when deleting articles on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which is apparently the sixth most-visited site on the net today.

The US Council on Library and Information Resources has sponsored the cash prize that has been awarded to Jodi Schneider, a New Jersey native who is engaged in her PhD at DERI in Galway. As part of her research, she is investigating the decision factors and arguments used when deleting articles on Wikipedia, especially as articles on the site are mainly written collaboratively by internet volunteers.

Schneider’s work is aiming to support Wikipedia editors in determining what content belongs on the site. Her research proposes the streamlining of 70pc of debates on article deletion based on four factors: notability, sources, maintenance, and bias.

She said an average of 7,000 articles are deleted each week on Wikipedia, pointing to how the deletion of certain articles helps to remove irrelevant and factually incorrect content from the site.

“Significantly, around 500 of these deletions require community discussion. What interests me is how are these decisions made, and who makes them?” she said today.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic