Monday 31 December 2012

Measuring the Impact of Wikipedia for organisations (Part 1)

The following series of posts will be about analysing the impact and use of Wikipedia by organisations. For convenience I have used the example of the Natural History Museum (NHM), as it's the one I am most familiar with. Doing such studies on an unfamiliar organisation might prove difficult.

The linkypedia project set out to answer these kinds of questions.  A local installation of linkypedia,  with modifications, has been used to generate the statistics presented here. All links are from pages on Wikipedia to pages on the domain

Measuring Impact via Page Views
One (probably flawed) measure of an organisation's Wikipedia impact is the number of page views on Wikipedia pages that reference that organisation.

 The following data are total page view from December 2007 to December 2012 (and ignores the fact that these pages might not have had links for all of this time).
Wikipedia PageNumber of links to views Dec' 07 - Dec' 12
Cat 19,958,264
Charles Darwin 15,323,809
Dinosaur 10,740,744
Horse 10,692,007
Great Britain 9,669,059
Chocolate 9,243,390
Tomato 6,756,291
Tyrannosaurus 6,012,785
Cattle 5,868,187
Homeopathy 5,378,978
Taxonomy 5,303,333
Dodo 5,210,713
James Cook 4,977,016
Nature 4,874,884
Pangaea 4,827,257
Binomial nomenclature 4,514,425
Moose 4,432,025
Giant squid 4,209,529
Eggplant 3,910,621
Largest organisms 3,585,714

There's a pretty good correlation between this list and things the NHM is known for, I guess some people might be surprised that homoeopathy makes the list but the link is to a debate between Peter Fisher and Ben Goldacre held at the museum.

The graph below shows that of the 13,000+ articles linking to most are in the long tail of page views, and relatively few articles with links to the NHM have over 1,000,000 page views.
 Another way of measuring Wikipedia impact might be to see how many links to an organisation's website there are on pages that relate to the organisation's core activities. The following table shows the Wikipedia articles with the most links to the NHM's website.

Wikipedia PageNumber of links to views Dec' 07 - Dec' 12
Sematurinae 5,722
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 24,226
Chris Stringer 48,001
Natural History Museum 945,997
Nemapogon granella 5,996
Bumblebee 2,567,265
Systematic & Applied Acarology Society 96
Nemapogon 3,001
Systematic & Applied Acarology 209
Amastus 3,833
Tinea pellionella 23,723
Niditinea 1,805
Niditinea fuscella 3,045
Tinea trinotella 3,443
Tineola bisselliella 196,615
Monopis laevigella 6,212
Monopis obviella 2,359
Ectropis 6,279
Perizoma 6,880
Drepanogynis 1,492

Most of these are species or genera or months, so there is some obvious scope for improvements in other areas of study. (In fact there are a few thousand stub articles on lepidoptera that have little more than a link to a catalogue on the NHM website).  Chris Stringer is a member of NHM staff, and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year is owned jointly by the NHM and the BBC.

More results to follow.

Creative Commons Licence
Measuring the Impact of Wikipedia for organisations (Part 1) by Ed Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.