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Beyond Wikipedia: how good a reference source are medical wikis?

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Purpose ‐ – The purpose of this paper is to examine the case for using subject (medical) wikis as a reference tool.Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper summarises content of ganfyd and WikiMD, comparing their ethos and approach to information. It describes some other medical and health wikis in brief.Findings ‐ As their audience is somewhat more specialised, medical wikis, currently in their infancy, cover topics in more depth than Wikipedia but coverage remains patchy. They may be of particular use for those without access to expensive resources such as UpToDate requiring a short literature review or overview of a topic. Wikis at present are best used as a signpost to other resources with tighter editorial control.Research limitations/implications ‐ The assessment of the subject wikis is brief and the analysis of wikis as a reference tool is largely drawn from general literature, not medical.Practical implications ‐ This assessment provides exposure of subject wikis as a potential reference tool.Originality/value ‐ The paper highlights the existence of subject wikis as a potential more in-depth tool than Wikipedia.
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Keywords: Internet; Medical information systems

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2010

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