In a bid to improve accuracy, U of T students give Wikipedia’s dental and oral health content a checkup

Numerous students use Wikipedia as a supply of details several occasions a week, if not each and every day. But what happens when that information and facts lacks accuracy and good citations?

It is a challenge the Wikipedia Collaboration of Dental Schools (WCODS) aims to address in the dentistry discipline.

Linnaea Halpert, a University of Toronto student who is graduating in June with her health practitioner of dental surgery diploma, is the president of the School of Dentistry’s WCODS club. The club was began a few several years back with the guidance of Associate Professor Hashim Nainar and Helen He, the head of the College of Dentistry’s library.

“Wikipedia is the very first level of entry for patient and college student issues,” says Halpert. “WCODS is a community of dental students and dentists who keep an eye on dental and oral health-similar content on Wikipedia and continue to keep the info up to day.”

WCODS was started out by Dr. Nour Geres at Dundee University in the U.K. and now has chapters all all over the environment, which includes the 1 at U of T. At the commencing of each and every yr, every single chapter is assigned a matter of concentrate with specific Wikipedia articles or blog posts to work on to ensure that there is no overlap in enhancing initiatives among unique chapters. Considering the fact that Wikipedia makes use of open up collaboration, one particular of the difficulties is that enhancing work can be undone. Halpert claims each individual chapter therefore monitors the webpages after they have been up-to-date to make sure precision. 

Halpert grew to become intrigued in WCODS when she was functioning at Princess Margaret Healthcare facility along with another person who went to dental faculty in the U.K. 

“I know I have been advised that Wikipedia is not a credible supply and we should not use it, but I also know it’s a website a lot of of my classmates go to for a final-minute look at,” she states. “So, I thought if so numerous of us are applying it in any case, why not check out to make it as fantastic as it perhaps can be.”

She notes that Wikipedia is also utilized by patients and other dentists, making it even more critical that absolutely everyone is accessing the similar correct information.

The WCODS club prior to the pandemic. From left to proper: Bronte Murcar-Evans, Linnaea Halpert, Noah Gasner and Joshua Tordjman (photograph by Adam Tepperman)

Halpert states WCODS is also an opportunity for learners at the School of Dentistry to sign up for a group of learners and dentists all over the planet.

“Joining the WCODS club presents pupils good networking chances, the opportunity to bridge the hole concerning dentists and clients, and lets them to attain dentistry awareness and literature appraisal skills,” she says. “Being a aspect of WCODS also assists learners in their pre-clinical decades as a way to increase written content on the net so that when the client sits in their chair, they can assist further more bridge that understanding hole.”

Halpert encourages all pupils and college to get concerned in the club. 

“We would enjoy to have a lot more faculty customers involved so we can even more develop the scope of the subjects we edit and make far more exact.”