Ranking of Wikipedia articles revisited: Fair ranking for reasonable quality?

Lewandowski, Dirk; Spree, Ulrike: Ranking of Wikipedia articles in search engines revisited Fair ranking for reasonable quality Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 62(2011)1, 117-132. DOI: 10.1002/asi.21423

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This paper aims to review the fiercely discussed question of whether the ranking of Wikipedia articles in search engines is justified by the quality of the articles. After an overview of current research on information quality in Wikipedia, a summary of the extended discussion on the quality of encyclopedic entries in general is given. On this basis, a heuristic method for evaluating Wikipedia entries is developed and applied to Wikipedia articles that scored highly in a search engine retrieval effectiveness test and compared with the relevance judgment of jurors. In all search engines tested, Wikipedia results are unanimously judged better by the jurors than other results on the corresponding results position. Relevance judgments often roughly correspond with the results from the heuristic evaluation. Cases in which high relevance judgments are not in accordance with the comparatively low score from the heuristic evaluation are interpreted as an indicator of a high degree of trust in Wikipedia. One of the systemic shortcomings of Wikipedia lies in its necessarily incoherent user model. A further tuning of the suggested criteria catalogue, for instance the different weighing of the supplied criteria, could serve as a starting point for a user model differentiated evaluation of Wikipedia articles. Approved methods of quality evaluation of reference works are applied to Wikipedia articles and integrated with the question of search engine evaluation.