If you haven’t already seen it mentioned in the news, there’s now a way to identify who is editing entries in Wikipedia–or at least the organisations from which the edits are being made.

WikiScanner, created by a Cal Tech computation and neural-systems graduate student, provides a searchable database that cross-references edits to Wikipedia pages with information on the owners of the IP addresses from which those edits originate.

So while Wikipedia usernames, adopted by anyone wishing to edit an article, may render the individual anonymous, they do not necessarily do the same for organisations that the anonymity offered by user names may not be so useful to conceal your identity–or at least that of your employer.

Using WikiScanner has revealed some interesting edits by organisations with a vested interest in particular articles–either adding positive material, or deleting criticism.

For example, someone at Diebold, the company that supplies voting machines in the United States, has deleted text indicating concerns of regarding the integrity of those machines, as well as information about the CEO’s fundraising activities for US President Bush. WikiScanner has also revealed that the staff of the Australian Prime Minister has edited articles that might be damaging to the Government (which is heading into an election). And the list goes on.