An article in the NZ Herald about how MS Encarta basically killed off the Encycloped Britannica, and how Wikipedia has now killed off Encarta.
I liked this part at the end:
Wikipedia’s ability to respond instantly to developments is just one of the reasons it has transformed the world of reference works.
Another is its sheer scale.
I’ve just checked the main page and it is reporting that the English version currently has 2,822,233 articles.
It is now the place I go to check out any new TV series or film. And if you missed an episode – also there. Plus all the traditional articles.
Yet another is its linguistic diversity – 875,000 articles in German, 774,000 in French, 568,000 in Chinese, 585,000 in Polish etc.
There is no way a conventional, centrally edited, commercially financed operation could match this.
There are now 25 different language Wikipedias that have over 100,000 articles each.
I’m tired of listening to brain-dead dinner-party complaints about how “inaccurate” Wikipedia is.
I’m bored to death by endless accounts of slurs or libels suffered by a few famous individuals at the hands of Wikipedia vandals.
And if anyone ever claims again that the entries in Wikipedia are written by clueless amateurs, I will hit them with a list of experts who curate material in their specialisms. And remind them of Professor Peter Murray-Rust’s comment to a conference in Oxford: “The bit of Wikipedia that I wrote is correct.”
Of course Wikipedia has flaws, show me something that doesn’t.
Of course it suffers from vandalism and nutters who contribute stuff to it.
But instead of complaining about errors, academics ought to be in there fixing them.
Wikipedia is one of the greatest inventions we have. Isn’t it time we accepted it? Microsoft has.
It has opened knowledge up to the masses. No more Google searches on a topic as you search dozens of hits. My first port of call is always Wikipedia now.Tags: Wikipedia