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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Thursday, February 24, 2005
National digital encyclopedia  
I'm not dead, just internet-challenged. I don't have access at home and I don't have time for personal browsing at work, so haven't been posting (not to mention that it's been quiet over the holidays anyway).

Worth a mention is Te Ara, the new online digital encyclopedia of New Zealand. It's government-funded, which I guess raises some potential concerns that it could be used as a political tool (Russell Brown claims that the section on popular music reads like an advertisement for government promotion of the arts, but it's worth pointing out that the encyclopedia is only partially completed, and that (one hopes) that section will contain more scholarly material by the time it's officially launched). Certainly the section that is completed (on the different peoples who make up this nation) looks good (I found the histories of different iwi absolutely fascinating).

Rodney Hide gets credit for knowing what Wikipedia is (though I agree with Russell that Wikipedia and Te Ara serve different purposes), and you couldn't substitute the former for the latter. Rodney's commenters don't seem to sure of themselves, either: "a wikipedia"? Surely the Wikipedia, a wiki....Anyway, Russell linked to David Farrar's suggestion that the government fund updates to the NZ pages on Wikipedia. Which is an interesting idea, but I can't see it happening. (I can't see an official agency being involved with a site that can be edited by anyone who chooses). Would a politician really want to give official approval to something that could descend into partisan bickering (witness the Bush and Kerry pages) - especially when as a government agency it would be required to appear politically neutral.

Still, nice to see political bloggers debating an information issue, and providing some interesting viewpoints.