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  • Author: Yasmin Ally x
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The rapid rise of Wikipedia as an information source has placed the traditional role of librarians as information gatekeepers and guardians under scrutiny with much of the professional literature suggesting that librarians are polarized over the issue of whether Wikipedia is a useful reference tool. This qualitative study examines the perceptions and behaviours of National Library Board (NLB) of Singapore librarians with regards to information seeking and usage of Wikipedia. It finds that instead of polarized attitudes, most librarians, although cautious about using Wikipedia in their professional capacity, hold a range of generally positive attitudes towards the online encyclopaedia, believing that it has a valid role to play in the information seeking of patrons today. This is heartening because it suggests the existence within the librarian population of attitudes that can be tapped to engage constructively with Wikipedia. Three of these in particular are briefly discussed at the end of the article: Wikipedia's ability to appeal to the socalled “digital natives,” its role as a source of non-Western information, and its potential to enable a revitalization of the role of librarians as public intellectuals contributing to a democratic information commons.

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