[Web4lib] Wikipedia

Naess, Petter naessp at state.gov
Wed Mar 17 03:02:44 EDT 2010

Here's what I think: (Nicholson Baker
<http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21131>  put it into words for me....)


Wikipedia is just an incredible thing. It's fact-encirclingly huge, and
it's idiosyncratic, careful, messy, funny, shocking, and full of
simmering controversies-and it's free, and it's fast. In a few seconds
you can look up, for instance, "Diogenes of Sinope," or "turnip," or
"Crazy Eddie," or "Bagoas," or "quadratic formula," or "Bristol
Beaufighter," or "squeegee," or "Sanford B. Dole," and you'll have
knowledge you didn't have before. It's like some vast aerial city with
people walking briskly to and fro on catwalks, carrying picnic baskets
full of nutritious snacks.


More people use Wikipedia than Amazon or eBay-in fact it's up there in
the top-ten Alexa rankings with those moneyed funhouses MySpace,
Facebook, and YouTube. Why? Because it has 2.2 million articles, and
because it's very often the first hit in a Google search, and because it
just feels good to find something there-even, or especially, when the
article you find is maybe a little clumsily written. Any inelegance, or
typo, or relic of vandalism reminds you that this gigantic encyclopedia
isn't a commercial product. There are no banners for E*Trade or
Classmates.com, no side sprinklings of AdSense. 


It was constructed, in less than eight years, by strangers who disagreed
about all kinds of things but who were drawn to a shared, not-for-profit
purpose. They were drawn because for a work of reference Wikipedia
seemed unusually humble. It asked for help, and when it did, it used a
particularly affecting word: "stub." At the bottom of a short article
about something, it would say, "This article about X is a stub. You can
help Wikipedia by expanding it." And you'd think: That poor sad stub: I
will help. Not right now, because I'm writing a book, but someday, yes,
I will try to help.




-----Original Message-----
From: web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org
[mailto:web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org] On Behalf Of janette treanor
Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 3:11 AM
To: web4lib at webjunction.org
Subject: [Web4lib] Wikipedia


Morning All,


I am wondering what you think of Wikipedia? I would appreciate hearing



kind regards



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