Vast Active Library and Information Science blog. From a recent library science graduate in Wellington, New Zealand. A focus on reference and current awareness tools and issues, especially free, web-based resources.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Part 3: bibliographic control  
Stephen mentioned some issues about using wikis (the second link is a reply to my first post on social software), including bibliographic control.

My first thought: someone could come up with a controlled vocabulary. My second thought: that would mean someone imposing their own ideas on the group, which defeats the whole point. My third thought: why not an open controlled vocabulary, then?

This is exciting me, even though I can't quite see where it would go. We know that open source software can work just as well as traditional, closed, IP-protected software. So why couldn't the same be true for open-source books? After all, there's already an open-source textbook in the works.

Another problem Stephen mentions: what if the whole group is misinformed? This is surely a possibility - but Wikipedia seems to work OK. It would seem to me that this problem is more likely in small groups, where one individual can exert greater influence on the majority, and where the liklihood of there being a true expert in the group is reduced. No way of empirically proving that, though. Hmmmm...thinking back to my psychology degree - there's a lot of social pressure on people to conform, and people will conform with others, even against the evidence of their senses. BUT, in a looser group, one that interacted online and not in person, and not directly (e.g. through asynchronous communication like email, rather than chat or VoIP), maybe that conformity would be reduced. People would be more likely to express opinions, meaning the quality of the debate would have to be raised...

One can hope, anyway.