Monday, May 5, 2008

New Intelligence-related Wikipedia Articles (Wikipedia)

Wikipedia has become the de facto tertiary source of choice for many researchers. Like any tertiary source, some of Wikipedia's content has to be taken with a grain of salt, but, in many cases, the articles are well-written and researched and provide a useful place to start.

One of the things that has always bothered me, however, is the quantity of intelligence related articles. While I am generally able to find at least something of use on even the most obscure topic using Wikipedia, I have often been surprised at the number of intel topics that came up, well, not just short, but missing entirely.

In order to try to rectify that but, more importantly, to give students in my Intelligence Communications class an opportunity to become familiar with MediaWiki software (the same software used by Intellipedia) as well an opportunity to learn to operate in an environment with strict style guidelines and intense editing, I asked them to put together the articles below (in no particular order):

Eberstadt Report (aka First Hoover Commission)
Schlesinger Report
United States Intelligence Budget
1985: The Year Of The Spy
Analysis Of Competing Hypotheses
Intelligence Collection Plan
National Intelligence Strategy Of The United States Of America
US Commission On National Security/21st Century
US Intelligence Community Oversight
Target Centric Analysis
Failure In The Intelligence Cycle
Words Of Estimative Probability
Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report

I let them select the topic as long as it had not already been covered by another Wikipedian. I also had the great good fortune to have an experienced Wikipedian in our second year grad class to help out (Thanks again, Pat!).

All of the articles have already been noticed by the swarm of people that contribute their time to editing and adding to Wikipedia and some of the articles have already changed from their original format or content (if you are thinking of trying this with your classes, you can easily use Wikipedia's history function to see where a student's work ends and an editor's begins. You can also see how other Wikipedians view the work by clicking on the "Discussion" tab. Articles are often ranked by other Wikipedians using a standardized ranking scale).

All in all, I was very pleased with the work the students did. They had to climb a number of difficult learning curves and while, undoubtedly, the pages will change over time as new editors and writers add detail and nuance to the articles the students started, they have made a contribution of which they should be rightly proud.

Related Posts:
Non-State Actors In Sub-Saharan Africa: Likely Current And Future Roles
Jihadist Use Of YouTube, Second Life Over Next 12-24 Months
The Impact of Chronic And Infectious Diseases On US National Interests
A Wiki Is Like A Room...And Other Lessons Learned

No comments: