Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to use selected discussions appearing on the talk pages of the Wikipedia entry on the Vietnam War to shed light on how the wider epistemological context of this online encyclopaedia affects the nature of debate about sources and subsequently how this knowledge could be used to improve information literacy instruction. Design/methodology/approach – My broad approach to the study of the Wikipedia talk pages on the Vietnam War is qualitative in nature and explores the debate over sources through a textual analysis. Findings – Although much of the debate over sources is conducted without acrimony, the level of analysis one finds in the talk pages is rather shallow while the attention of individual contributors is not overly concentrated. Originality/value – There have been few studies of individual Wikipedia entries and their talk pages, rather the focus of most of the literature has been on a broad overview of the entire encyclopaedia or a concentration on a set of entries for a particular topic area.
Journal of Documentation – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 11, 2015