Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wikipedia may not be as dead as some thought

For some of you, the whole question of whether Wikipedia is alive or dead may be a moot point.

But if you're familiar with the on-line encyclopedia, you might be interested in Dan Gilmour's report about a study published recently in the journal Nature, comparing Wikipedia and the Encylopedia Britannica on the accuracy of their scientific postings.

Wikipedia, which is unique in that anyone can post an entry, or edit an existing one, has been under fire in recent weeks. (For a bit of background on some of the controversy, read this post from Bruno Giussani.)

But in recent days, it's been getting some good notices, like this one.

I use it often and I think it's a tremendous project. So long as people realize that there is no such thing as an absolute sure thing when it comes to sourcing information, we should use it, contribute to it, if appropriate, and enjoy the benefits of yet another open source project. (Like the Music Genome Project I wrote about last week.)


Paul said...

I just read in the Toronto Star about someone adding false information to a Wikipedia item. Do you know this story? I can't believe this doesn't happen more often. It's hard to take the information in this website as 100% fact as you and I are the ones who are creating it. It is a very cool concept though.

Dave said...

You're right. It is a problem. But the good thing that seems to happen is that someone usually notices, and the entry can always be amended and the old one restored. But the system certainly isn't perfect, and judging from the amount of viruses, worms, etc. that are floating around the Internet, it never will be, given the mind-set of some of the people using the Web.