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Wikipedia references now include book previews hosted by the Internet Archive

130,000 references have been digitized so far.
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Alexander Spatari via Getty Images

Wikipedia is an incredible resource, but the accuracy of claims published on its pages is sometimes called into question. To improve the site's credibility and usability, the Internet Archive is working to make references easier to follow by linking them to digital copies of books.

So far, 130,000 references have been linked to 50,000 digitized books that are hosted by the Archive. To see an example of the new digital referencing in action, you can head to the Wikipedia page for Martin Luther King, Jr. If you look at the reference for Adam Fairclough's book To Redeem the Soul of America: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference & Martin Luther King Jr at the bottom of the page, you'll see it's a clickable link. Clicking takes you to the Internet Archive's digital version of the book, open to the page from which the reference was taken.

When you open a digital book hosted by the Archive, you can see a few pages of preview to check the reference information. If you want to read more, you can borrow a digital copy of the book through the Controlled Digital Lending program.

The linking of references to digital books is done both by users and by robots, and has been performed in the English, Greek and Arabic versions of Wikipedia. The Internet Archive says it intends to continue working with Wikipedia communities to scan more books and link them to references. This isn't the first time the two sites have worked together, as the group previously helped fix 9 million broken links on the encyclopedia using its Wayback Machine archive.

"Together we can achieve Universal Access to All Knowledge," said Mark Graham, Director of the Wayback Machine project. "One linked book, paper, web page, news article, music file, video and image at a time."

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