One thing that I have noticed on many Wikipedia pages is that you get references, and some external links, but not what I would call a useful bibliography. There are bibliography pages, but these are usually huge, comprehensive lists of works on broad topics.
What I appreciate about Wikipedia is that it is a great place to start when you are delving into a new topic. The links between Wikipedia pages within the text can be very helpful (albeit at times a bit too much of a distraction when your curiosity takes you a great distance from where you started). I would like for at least some Wikipedia pages to serve also as a beginning bibliography for the topic.
What constitutes a beginning bibliography is obviously not easy to define, but Wikipedia has never shied away from such difficulties. When I was in college we had a separate undergraduate library that had the basic books in each field. If you'd never thought about, say, anthropology, you could find the LC class number for that topic, go to the shelf, and you'd be looking at the books that most professors teaching an undergraduate course would consider "must reads" in the field. There was even a published list, called "Books for College Libraries" that listed the key books that college libraries of various sizes should have in their collections. This is now an online resource called "Resources for College Libraries" (behind a paywall) that has over 70,000 titles in 61 different subject areas. What this means is that doing something similar in Wikipedia is neither impossible nor radical.
I got to do a small experiment in this area yesterday at a local "Wikipedia edit-a-thon." I had brought with me some books that I thought would yield interesting explorations - one of which is a marvelous book called "Woman in Science" published in 1913. Although the author is listed as "H. J. Mozans" that turns out to be a pseudonym for John Augustine Zahm. Zahm does have a Wikipedia page, and it did list, within a paragraph, a number of books that he had written. Oddly enough, Woman in Science wasn't one of them. I added it, then decided that since he had written a handful of books that I would add a bibliography on his page. The Wikipedia bibliography format is, well, you know, like so many Wikipedia structures, something less than friendly. But I discovered something that I probably should have known.
I went to the Open Library page for the book, and near the bottom found the list of export formats.
Clicking on "Wikipedia Citation" I got this:
which can be pasted directly into Wikipedia. If you are using it for an inline citation, you need to surround this code with <ref></ref>, which will then create a number reference and will add this to the references at the bottom of the page.
Unfortunately, the Open Library code doesn't include a link to the full text, most likely because that isn't part of the Wikipedia format. To do that I added a link to the Internet Archive digitized version of the book after the citation. You can look on the Zahm page and see how that looks. (I'm still looking for a better way to format it so that the link to the full text stands out without looking ugly.)
There is another way to add bibliographic data to Wikipedia which is to click on the menu at the top of the edit window and select a citation type, which then gives you a form to fill out. But if you can find the item in the Open Library, you can avoid all of that typing.
Now that I have learned that it is easy to add bibliographic data to Wikipedia I'm interested in exploring ways that Wikipedia pages can be starting places for essential reading on topics. It naturally makes sense to point to any existing digital materials, but a next logical step would be to find a way to point to libraries for more recent (and in copyright) materials.