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Submissions/Members of parliament - how they use and perceive Wikipedia : a case study from Sweden

From Wikimania 2013 • Hong Kong

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2013.

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Submission no.
Subject no.
C7 or B16
Title of the submission
Members of parliament - how they use and perceive Wikipedia : a case study from Sweden
Type of submission
Author of the submission
Einar Spetz and Teemu Leinonen
Country of origin
Sweden & Finland
Wikimedia Sverige (The Wikimedia chapter in Sweden), Aalto University, Helsinki Finland and Wikimedia Finland (The Wikimedia Chapter in Finland)
E-mail address
einarspetz and Teemu
Personal homepage or blog
Einar Spetz' blog and Teemu Leinonen / Flosse Posse blog

With the presentation we want to initiate discussion on Wikipedia's role in politics. In April 2013 we conducted a survey among the 349 members of parliament (MPs) of the Riksdag of Sweden (Parliament of Sweden). 96 MPs replied to the online questionnaire. The aim of the questionnaire was to map how the MPs perceive and use Wikipedia. We were precisely interested in to know what extent MPs use Wikipedia, do they consider Wikipedia to be reliable and how do they see personally an encyclopedia that anyone can edit. The study was initiated by the Swedish Wikimedia chapter, Wikimedia Sverige.

Detailed proposal

In April 2013 the 349 members of parliament (MPs) of the Riksdag of Sweden (Parliament of Sweden) were asked to fill out an online questionnaire concerning their relation to Wikipedia. 96 MPs from all the political parties represented in the parliament (8) replied to the questionnaire. In the presentation we will summarise the most important findings of the first study in the world mapping how parliamentarians use and perceive Wikipedia.

The Swedish parliament consists of 349 MPs who are elected by popular vote. The MPS serve four-years terms. Currently there are MPs from 8 political parties. The Parlament is the supreme decision-making body in Sweden and the MPs make decisions on laws, taxes and Government spending. The job naturally requires, alongside political skill, access to information that can facilitate environmental scanning and improve understanding of the current events. In Sweden, like in many countries, members of the Parliament do not stand alone. To their disposal they have information services including a special parliamentary research institute and the services of a parliamentary library.

The library provides a wide range of reference tools that MPs can acces easily through the parliamentary intranet. Their toolbox includes online encyclopedias as for instance Encyclopedia Britannica Online and its Swedish equivalent, the Nationalencyklopedin. Thus, accessing various commercial databases should not be a problem for Swedish MPs. From a Wikipedia point of view, the question is, whether Wikipedia can compete inside of the parliament.

The study focuses on the following:

  • to what extent MPs also use Wikipedia
  • whether MPs regard the free encyclopedia's content reliable
  • whether representatives from their own party find it reliable
  • whether representatives from other parties find it reliable
  • whether representatives have advised other members of parliament to use Wikipedia
  • what MPs opinion is, on that you yourself can write texts and edit Wikipedia
Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes
Language of presentation/talk
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Yes, slides will be available from the opening of Wikimania 2013
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