New browser extension aims to make Wikipedia better

New app allows nurses to send texts, photos and videos from the OR to the families of children undergoing surgeryFor all of its critics, Wikipedia remains a trusted source for even the most knowledgeable people.  Last year, for instance, I wrote about a study that revealed how over 50% of doctors regularly use the site as a source for information.

There are also spin-outs from Wikipedia that focus on particular medical topics, such as Radiopaedia for radiologists.  The idea behind these kind of sites is to try and ensure that the information posted is even more trustworthy than that found on Wikipedia.

This motivation has spawned another new service, called Batea, which collects data from clinical reference URLs that are visited by medical students.  This data is then shared with WikiProject Medicine so that medical editors can gain insight into how best to ensure the medical content on Wikipedia remains relevant.

Searching for gold

The name is derived from the Spanish for a gold pan, and the project has been backed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  A trial version of the browser plug-in is currently available to students at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Texas, Houston.

UCSF, for instance, has what Trotter described as “a unique program where medical students edit Wikipedia for credit. They helped us tremendously in testing the alpha versions of the software.”

Wikipedia is undoubtedly a valuable resource for the medical community, with some 25,000 medical articles receiving over 200 million page views each month.  In pharmacology alone, the 8,000 articles on the site are read over 40 million times per month.

Suffice to say, the more people that use the service, the more data it will have to enhance the articles on Wikipedia.

“More complete and accurate Wikipedia medical articles mean millions of Americans benefit from a better health resource for years to come,” the team said.

You can access the extension yourself here


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