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|Technology - General|
|Friday, 27 July 2012 04:47|
Not long ago, in the interview that Alan Lazalde did Ivan Martinez , coordinator of the Wikimedia Mexico, a reader commented that Wikipedia ceased to believe in when he learned that anyone could edit it. Lazalde shot back with a brilliant argument: "I stopped believing in Encarta when I learned that only one could edit it." Whatever the answer, the sentence shows the reader of the concern (and criticism) more consistent about this encyclopedia: the rigor with which it is made.
One of the great defenses to the project is that through the hypertext, you can justify each item of Wikipedia with direct links to the source. Thus, each entry can be enriched by adding more and more supported, especially when we talk about current affairs articles. A Wikipedia entry is not made out of nothing: you have to go through a process that includes a clearly written, and above all, a bibliography to support what is published.
In that sense, it is very interesting to know which sites are more references in Wikipedia. Webempires developed a very useful computer graphics to see which are the 50 most used sources. Worth a look.
Beyond allocating see Wikipedia sources, the information allows us to make a few important insights on how to build the encyclopedia and the role of other actors in the creation of collective knowledge:
1. The hierarchy of the book
According to figures Webempires, books.google.com is the site that provides more references to Wikipedia. This means essentially that a good percentage of the sources are books. The interesting thing is that it shows that in terms of social construction, the book is still regarded with a specific weight because it is assumed that the information contained in this format is more reliable. The book maintains its aura of reliability as a source, probably a legacy of physical format encyclopedias. Remember that many of the criticisms leveled at Wikipedia points to the reputation of its sources, in choosing to cite books as a backup, you try to turn this argument. With Wikipedia, the hierarchy (and the status quo) of the book, far from weakening, is reaffirmed.
2. The pages are killed, no information
One of the peculiar phenomena of the web is its expiration. Many sites will disappear with time. This represents a serious problem when it comes to an encyclopedia that is based on linking to the original sources. Fortunately, many of the leagues that disappear can be replaced by sites like web.archive.org. This project serves as a Noah's Ark of the information, resulting in a secure data, and consequently for Wikipedia. No wonder that within a couple of years, become the number one source.
3. Journalism as a builder of knowledge
Journalism has always been blamed on a more or less fleeting. Certain news end up being forgotten, as if they never happened. However, with Wikipedia, the newspapers are as constructors of knowledge. At the time, are a source for current events, in the long run, that information transcends and remains. Only the top 10 are sites like the BBC (twice), The New York Times and The Guardian. This represents a double-edged sword: if the media coverage is biased by certain interests, it is likely that this perspective is seen not only in setting the daily agenda, but also in the writing of history itself .
4. The social content, even distant
Social networks like Facebook (21) or Twitter (42) is not yet able to position the degree of importance of online journals as sources of Wikipedia. There may be several reasons to explain it, but I think it is due to a reluctance to use generated content in social networks by a perceived lack of reliability. Although these services have repeatedly shown their informational value (especially when), tend to awaken a doubt (reasonable) about its veracity. In terms of rigor, is valued more as a source that comes from some institutions.
5. YouTube and the triumph of the image
If the social content is so little valued, why YouTube is the fourth site sources? Very simple: because the visual evidence, but also is capable of being manipulated, is considered more transparent. The visual (in this case, video) has a specific value on the statement. If on one hand the institutional (the publishing industry, media, governments) have an important weight as a source, the content itself is worth winning when it comes to something that is easy to check. In this reasoning, the video quality regardless of professional or amateur, achieved reliability.
I think that, in addition to the observations, the study of Wikipedia sources helps us understand how the process of building collective knowledge (me, for example, I have drawn much attention the lack of academic journals). I think these thoughts can help us refine what we think a bit about the encyclopedia. On the subject of discussion between Lazalde and the reader with which I opened, I would suggest a small corollary: not only who edits the content, is who comes.