[Web4lib] Web4lib: Wikipedia

Michael drweb at san.rr.com
Wed Mar 17 21:07:06 EDT 2010

Lars is always here to defend Wikipedia. I stand with those who say there's
no reason not to sign what you do, own up to your words, cites, and
articles. Until Wikipedia allows *me* or anyone to see who is writing that
item, I will not support Wikipedia. It's wrong to send students here for
information or facts, for the obvious reasons many state and believe weaken
this resource. I grant that it sometimes has "current" information, but so
does any Web search today with a decent engine like Google or Bing.

Lars' ranking argument again, means little, when you realize that the
ranking is based on anyone's idea of worth linking to. It really isn't a
quality measure, at all. It's a linking measure. Sergy and Brin believed in
most cases, they worked together - and mostly, that's true. But not with
Wikipedia. It's a flaw in the page ranking algorithm, in that in general,
numbers of sheer links will overwhelm any measure of "authority."  WHO is
linking to that link matters; the algorithm does not.

So, high in Google's rankings isn't 100% equal to quality or value, IMHO.
Most people think otherwise, and that's fine. I love Google, use it hundreds
of times daily, but I understand what's under the hood.

Teaching young people about Wikipedia's flaws and errors and why it needs to
be avoided or used with great caution is a wonderful information age
function for 21st Century librarians. I proud that most of them do just


Michael aka DrWeb
drweb2 at gmail.com
DrWeb2 at Twitter / http://drweb.typepad.com/

On Wed, Mar 17, 2010 at 3:54 PM, Lars Aronsson <lars at aronsson.se> wrote:

> Tim Spalding wrote:
>  If we're comparing old media to new, Wikipedia should be compared to a
>> whole
>> library of encyclopedic reference works.
> Exactly that comparison is being made millions of
> times each day -- by Google's ranking algorithm.
> Wikipedia often comes out on top. I don't know
> how that ranking works, it's probably a lot more
> complicated than the original "Page rank", but
> I know lots of people use it happily.
> Google is digitizing all printed books, and
> this includes all encyclopedic reference works.
> Google could easily adjust their ranking algorithm
> to prefer printed encyclopedias from any decade.
> I think they would do this, if they thought it
> would make users more happy.
> --
>  Lars Aronsson (lars at aronsson.se)
>  Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se
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