On 10/23/06, Andreas Ramos <andreas@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
But there's a different problem with Wikipedia, and all of these systems for capturing knowlege. It creates a sense that we have knowledge. But there are many things that don't fit into Wikipedia, and we end up with "well, it's not in there, so it doesn't exist."
With all due respect, this comment strikes me as a non sequitor. The only people I can imagine assuming that any particular source contains all and only the truth concerning any topic whatsoever are religious fanatics who assume that their Book (be it Bible, or Koran, or Talmud, whatever) is inerrant and contains the sum of all knowledge. To anyone who assumes, as I do, that all human beings are fallible and all collections of knowledge at best approximations to larger, largely unknown wholes, the notion that if it doesn't appear in Wiki it doesn't exist is laughable.
From this perspective Wiki is simply a convenient place to begin a search, whose results can then be cross-checked with Google or some other search engine or, if one has the time, turning to printed material. Wiki may be the first word; it certainly isn't the last.
What has changed in the world is how easy services like Wiki, Google, etc., make it to find and cross-check basic information. If anything is surprising in an increasingly annoying way, it is the very large number of people who clutter bandwidth with questions asked before taking these obvious steps to see what's out there.
P.S. My wife's and my trust in Britannica has declined sharply since we examined the current Britannica entry on Yokohama, the city in which we live and about which we are the authors of the entry in the Grolier Encyclopedia of Urban Cultures. The entry is now at least twenty years old and, thus, hopelessly out of date and the acount of the city's founding is, historically speaking, incompetent, largely, it appears, the result of the author's failure to realize that certain terms, e.g., "Kanagawa," refer to different entities at different points in time.
-- John McCreery The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
US CITIZEN ABROAD? YOU'RE THE DECIDER! Register to Vote in '06 Elections www.VoteFromAbroad.org ------------------------------------------------------------------ To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off, digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html