Overwriting knowledge: analyzing the dynamics of Wikipedia articles

Authors: Nathalie Mederake

The popularity of open collaborative content generation such as Wikipedia, while expanding the amount of available information, also poses particular challenges as its user-generated content changes constantly. This paper proposes to study the development of Wikipedia entries and to systematically measure and evaluate this type of user-generated dynamics. The applied approach is able to identify phases of the constant process of content generation. It takes into account the interrelations between dynamics of user contributions and article-related real-world events. A data set spanning article versions and associated discussion pages over two years was analysed. This allowed identifying trigger pulses that drive the articles’ development both on qualitative and quantitative levels. For effective planning of online dictionaries that stress the involvement of users or intend to add collaborative components, it is crucial to consider such findings. The approach might also be transferrable to lexicography in terms of analysing the revisions of a collaborative dictionary entry as a signal indicative of lexical change. For that reason, I conclude with a discussion of the results and their relevance for expert lexicographic products.

Keywords: wiki; collaborative lexicography; content generation process

Reference: In Kosem, I., Jakubiček, M., Kallas, J., Krek, S. (eds.) Electronic lexicography in the 21st century: linking lexical data in the digital age. Proceedings of the eLex 2015 conference, 11-13 August 2015, Herstmonceux Castle, United Kingdom. Ljubljana/Brighton: Trojina, Institute for Applied Slovene Studies/Lexical Computing Ltd., pp. 327-341.


Published: 2015