NIH and Wikimedia Foundation Collaborate to Improve Online Health Information
The National Institutes of Health and the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that operates the Wikipedia® online encyclopedia, are joining forces to make health and science information more accessible and reliable. This collaboration is the first of its kind for both organizations.
Akinso: The National Institutes of Health and the Wikimedia Foundation are joining forces to improve online health information.
Burklow: We wanted to place our information in places where people actually look for it and get it.
Akinso: John Burklow is the NIH associate Director for Communications and Public Liaison.
Burklow: Quite simply NIH provides reliable health information that's based on evidence and is of the highest quality and Wikipedia is the go to source for hundreds of millions of people around the world looking for information. It made perfect sense for our organizations to get to know each other better and learn how we can collaborate to reach more people with the best information available on their health and medical questions.
Akinso: NIH hosted Wikimedia staff and volunteers working in the sciences for an all day event. Participants learned about the philosophy and mechanics of Wikipedia and began what is hoped to be a long-term dialogue aimed at improving public knowledge about health, science and medicine. Adrianne Wadewitz is a teaching fellow at Indiana University and a member of Wikipedia's Academy team.
Wadewitz: We came to the NIH because Wikipedia doesn't just want to rely on people who voluntarily come to us just because they click on a button and edit. We actually want to go out into the world and say this is what's wonderful about Wikipedia and we want you to contribute. So this is the first time we've done one of these Academies inside the United States but they've already been done in Europe. And we've had a great response to them. You know you have to go into the world and say this is what's wonderful come help us, come help us bring knowledge to everyone on the planet.
Akinso: Wikipedia Academies are public outreach events, usually lasting one or two days aimed at engaging academics and other subject-matter experts who are not familiar with the wiki culture or online communities. Lennart Guldbrandsson, President of Wikimedia Sweden, says this collaboration provides a great opportunity for increasing the quality of all health related information on Wikipedia.
Guldbrandsson: We have several expectations of this. One of which is to raise the quality of Wikipedia. We hope to increase the number of scientist and web authors and also start a collaboration of content between the Wikipedia and the various Wikimedia projects and the NIH and its various branches.
Akinso: The Wikimedia Foundation is a nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia® online encyclopedia. To view the NIH page on Wikipedia, visit www.wikipedia.org. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: John Burklow, Adrianne Wadewitz, Lennart Guldbrandsson