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Thoughts on Wikipedia

For researchers traversing the open web in search of this or that Wikipedia has become a pretty much standard stop, often number one of two result on a Google search of darn-near-anything. In an interesting piece today in Atlantic Magazine Rebecca Rosen says comparisons between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica are unfair because they take Wikipedia out of it’s historical legacy.  This legacy is one of “obsessive compilers” that Rosen traces back to Rome and Pliny the Elder’s Natural History.

At the University of Bergen (Norway) Jill Walker-Rettberg has been doing interesting work on Wikipedia for years.  Working forward from the common perception of the crowd-sourcing of Wikipedia writing Walker-Rettberg finds that most contributors to Wikipedia are young, caucasian men, and that editing is not always a cumulative process of improving, coming to consensus.  Her signature lecture on this is here, and she has worked forward from this (you’ll see other essays/lectures she’s written/given on her blog).

~ by pdoty on January 31, 2013.

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