Today I wanted to review an article in Wikipedia when I came across an appeal from Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales. What he is asking for is donations so that the non-profit organization Wikimedia Foundation can continue operating, with its staff of 35 people. The ending of the letter states the following:
“…Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet has free access to the sum of all human knowledge…”
This is quite an interesting quote, although partly irrelevant with the three major topics that this blog deals with. It leads back to what academic people think of wikipedia, as a reference, and the objections from the Web 2.0 community. There are people supporting the use of Wikipedia as the volume of articles is really huge, and, since many people can contribute to them, they do not lack quality and they are not subjective. If you add the people who work for Wikimedia Foundation and monitor these articles and the extremely fast updates (i.e. read today’s case about Brittany Murphy’s death) you have the ultimate source for information on the Internet.
Now, we have the scientists and academics’ point of view. For them Wikipedia is not valid for referencing, since knowledge there is not usually supported by any scientific methodology. Therefore, assignments with Wikipedia references come as a joke in the academic community (“the thing he did was even worse than referencing Wikipedia!”). Academics do not seem positive to change their attitude against this online encyclopedia soon.
Yes, I can still go on and write a tone about Wikipedia and the controversy about this, but I think that if there is even a chance that Wales’ afforementioned sentence can prove right, we should think about helping Wikipedia. After all:
1)They do not ask money for content (and there are plenty of cases where this happened with other websites).
2)They are far more cost-effective than buying and carrying any other encyclopedia.
3)Everyone can add to this – and by this I really mean everyone. User generated content for other users to read; and that’s Web 2.0 people..!