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Library Research Guides

Wikipedia at the University of Michigan

Resources about editing and using Wikipedia


This guide provides background information and basic tools for editing Wikipedia. We also introduce the Wikipedia Education Program and the Gallery, Libraries, Archives, Museums (GLAM) program initiated by Wikimedia Foundation. In the Literature About Wikipedia section, we've compiled literature on controvercial issues around Wikipedia.  This guide was originally authored by Science Librarian Ye Li, David Malicke, and Chris Leeder.

What is Wikipedia?


According to, Wikipedia is "a collaboratively editedmultilingualfree Internet encyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation." On our campus, students, faculty, and staff all use it to find general information and somtimes even do research using Wikipedia although not everyone understands the strengths and limitations of Wikipedia. Editing Wikipedia is not only a good approach to contribute to public good but also a start point to develop a full understanding on when and how to take advantage of Wikipedia in our daily life, study, and even research.


What Wikipedia 'is not'

Wikipeida is NOT:

  • A paper encyclopedia or a dictionary.
  • A publisher of original thought.
  • An indiscriminate collection of information.
  • A personal blog or social networking vehicle.
  • A means of promotion.
  • A repository of links, images, or media files.
  • A directory, manual, textbook, or scientific journal.
  • A democracy, bureaucracy, battleground or anarchy.
  • A crystal ball.

Five Pillars of Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia is an encyclopedia.
  • Wikipedia has a neutral point of view.
  • Wikipedia is free content that anyone can edit and distribute.
  • Wikipedians should interact in a respectful and civil manner.
  • Wikipedia does not have firm rules besides the five general principles presented here.

Read more on Wikipedia:Five Pillars

Interesting Statistics about Wikipedia

  • Launched in 2001
  • 5th most popular website in the world
  • 400 million unique visitors a month
  • 23 million articles
  • 4.1 million English artilces
  • 11.7 billion page requests per month
  • 280+ languages
  • 100, 000+ regularly active contributors

(Data summarized in December 2012)

Read more interesting statistics about Wikipedia here.

Participate in Editing Wikipedia

Student Organization


The University of Michigan is home to the first student Wikipedia club in the United States. Michigan Wikipedians was founded in 2010 and is open open to all students and faculty of the University of Michigan, as well as community members who are interested in Wikipedia. They meet every Monday at 8pm in North Quadrangle Language Resource Center, PC Classroom.

Learn more about student organizations at Wikipedia Student Organization Portal