[EAS] Wikipedia

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Mon Nov 29 21:33:20 EST 2004

Subject:   Wikipedia

Dear Colleagues -


Pointed out by my colleague Liz Shaw, this is a very enjoyable
article about Wikipedia, a collaborative open-source encyclopedia.
The author is Robert McHenry, former Editor in Chief of the
Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Wikipedia has its roots in Internet attributes advocated
enthusiastically in the Internet's early days, those of "community"
and "information wants to be free." 

We're a little more sober now, but it is still important to think
about the attributes of open-source collaborations that in some
cases drive the result toward success, e.g. Linux, and in other
cases toward mediocrity, like Wikipedia according to Mr. McHenry. 

One of many reasons to think about these issues is the changing
nature of publishing, be it the very successful free unrefereed Los
Alamos preprint archives <http://xxx.lanl.gov/> in the professional
realm, or in the personal realm the phenomenon of blogging, though
blogging is also used professionally, e.g.

That, and much else, is being transformed (dissolved, smoothed,
rescaled, ...) by the Internet.

Let me mention that the operational context of Wikipedia is the Wiki
interactive Web server software (see <http://wiki.org/> and
<http://www.twiki.org/>) which has effective uses in design teams,
courses with collaborative aspects, informal resource compilation,
etc. Look into it and think about it. It may be the most useful
consequence of your reading this mailing.


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