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.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Corante defending Wikipedia  
From charges of anti-elitism. All good stuff, though I found this quote disappointing:

"Of course librarians, teachers, and academics don’t like the Wikipedia. It works without privelege, which is inimical to the way those professions operate."

Some librarians do like's all a matter of knowing when to use which source, and knowing when to double-check information.

I think this is dead on, though:

"Finally, acceptance will come about when people realize that head-to-head comparions with things like Brittanica are as stupid as comparing horseful and horseless carriages — the automobile was a different kind of thing than a surrey. Likewise, though the Wikipedia took the -pedia suffix to make the project comprehensible, it is valuable as a site of argumentation and as a near-real-time reference, functions a traditional encyclopedia isn’t even capable of. (Where, for example, is Brittanica’s reference to the Indian Ocean tsunami?)

The Wikipedia is an experiment in social openess, and it will stand or fall with the ability to manage that experiment. Whining like Sanger’s really only merits one answer: the Wikipedia makes no claim to expertise or authority other than use-value, and if you want to vote against it, don’t use it. Everyone else will make the same choice for themselves, and the aggregate decisions of the population will determine the outcome of the project.

And 5 years from now, when the Wikipedia is essential infrastructure, we’ll hardly remember what the fuss was about."