Sunday, December 25, 2005Wikipedia roundup
Wikipedia alternative aims to be 'PBS of the Web' (C|Net):
Digital Universe is "a new online information service launching in early 2006 aims to build on the model of free online encyclopedia Wikipedia by inviting acknowledged experts in a range of subjects to review material contributed by the general public."
Jimmy Wales says "don't cite Wikipedia" (or, indeed, other encyclopedias). (Ars Technica). "Wikipedia and other encyclopedias should be solid enough to give good, solid background information to inform your studies for a deeper level. And really, it's more reliable to read Wikipedia for background than to read random Web pages on the Internet", says Wales.
Chris Anderson asks "why are people so uncomfortable with Wikipedia?", and suggests the reason is that Wikipedia works on the probabalistic level, meaning it scales much better than (say) Britannica, but may not work so well on the level of an individual post. (The Long Tail).
Meantime, research by Nature suggests that Wikipedia has slightly more errors per article than Britannica. Somewhat disturbingly "the exercise revealed numerous errors in both encyclopaedias, but among 42 entries tested, the difference in accuracy was not particularly great: the average science entry in Wikipedia contained around four inaccuracies; Britannica, about three."
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