[Web4lib] Web4lib: Wikipedia

Tim Spalding tim at librarything.com
Wed Mar 17 13:39:54 EDT 2010

I think the focus on Britannica is unfortunately. Britannica is not,
actually, a very good encyclopedia. It's a shadow of what it was a
century ago, when the 11th edition came out.

The "action" has long shifted to secondary sources within various
field. For example, no student should be reading Britannica for
articles on ancient history if they have access to the Oxford
Classical Dictionary of the New Pauly. Those are scholarly tools, used
at ever level of the field. Britannica is for school children. :)


On Wed, Mar 17, 2010 at 12:54 PM, Chris (CE) <crippel at ckls.org> wrote:
> Dear Colleagues,
> I agree with everything Petter Naess says about Wikipedia.
> I would like to add some additional observations.
> 1. Knowing that Wikipedia is imperfect and that I might find an error I can
> correct increases my involvement and intensity in reading it compared to
> reading Encyclopedia Britannica. I suppose I am unusual in considering that
> this makes Wikipedia superior to Britannica.
> 2. I have read and, I believe, the reason Wikipedia appears at the top of
> Google rankings is because its articles link to each other. This is rewarded
> by Google's idiosyncratic ranking method.
> 3. A recent posting on ReadWriteWeb explains "Why Wikipedia Should Be
> Trusted As A Breaking News Source"
> http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/why_wikipedia_should_be_trusted_or_how_to_consume.php
> Based on my own, admittedly limited and unscientific, experience, I agree
> that Wikipedia is a great source for following big ongoing stories.
> 4. I also recently read that there are signs that its evolution as an
> organization may be undermining some of its essential characteristics. I
> can't find the recent article I read. Here is a November 2009 article making
> several discouraging points.
> http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1230790/Fears-future-Wikipedia-49-000-volunteers-leave-site.html
> The article I read did state several upbeat signs. The one I remember is
> that the Wikipedia Foundation did make its fundraising goal in 2009.
> I love Wikipedia.
> I will hate to watch it grow senile.
> Thanks,
> Chris Rippel
> Central Kansas Library System
> Great Bend, Kansas
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