Wikis in the news

Once we’re really rolling, a major focus of The Louverture Project will be to educate users about blogs and wikis: what they are, how to use them, and why they’re important. That’s why I like to post news about wikis alongside items of interest to the Haitian community. Following are links I’ve been collecting over the past couple of months that I just haven’t had time to post. This is an attempt to catch up. Most of these I came across in my normal newsreading, but if I’ve forgotten the original source of the link, I do apologize…

* Gadgetopia pointed us to this wonderful screencast (big Flash file) by Jon Udell which traces the life of a wiki article over a two-year period. It’s fascinating to watch the article’s evolution, especially the unsuccessful attempt to vandalize the page.

* Thomas at Smart Mobs links to a Washington Post article which notes the increasing use of emerging technologies — especially wikis — on college campuses. Seems that wikis can be a good way to collect and organize knowledge. As if we at TLP didn’t know that. 😉

* Slashdot reported that Google had offered to donate bandwidth and servers to Wikipedia. According to the Wikimedia Project page on the subject, this is not a done deal, and there are several other offers on the table as well. More at Dirson’s Blog.

* Wikipedia is not, apparently, invulnerable. According to Netcraft, the site was knocked off line for a short time last month due to a power outage.

* One thing that many agree Wikipedia does very well is documenting current events and breaking news. That strength led to the development of Wikinews, a free-content news source. The announcement spawned controversy, as critics questioned the site’s ability to present accurate, factual, and unbiased information as a matter of course. It’s a bit hard to read, but a log of an IRC chat about the site can be found here. Joi Ito noted the chat on his blog, and has a few notes as well.

* Dan Gillmor has some notes on Wikipedia, Wikinews, Google, etc.

* Boing Boing links us to an excellent refutation of Robert McHenry, a former Editor-In-Chief of Encyclopaedia Britannica who attacked Wikipedia in an online opinion piece. Author Aaron Krowne, in fact, does more than just demolish McHenry’s arguments; he does a good job of explaining to the beginner just what Wikipedia is and why it works as well as it does.

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