Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wikipedia









Today, we take Wikipedia (WP) for granted and to many of us it has become a reflex. You don't know about something or someone mentioned in a news article? Look it up in WP! it's so easy.

It really is a great achievement for humanity and it must be recognized as such. Everybody with an Internet access can use this encyclopedia free of charge, and it is likely the most complete encyclopedia.

Its reputation has been criticized often for inaccuracies, but guess what: other encyclopedias also do have inaccuracies. In 2005, the magazine "Nature" organized a comparison of WP with Encyclopedia Britannica based on 42 articles. This is of course too few to be considered a representative sample, but it's worth what it's worth... Nature concluded that WP came close behind EB. At that time, WP was only 4 years old and its budget was small.

Since that time, WP has developed tools to detect suspicious edits and improving the quality of articles. One might have objections, but to me Wikipedia really is a fantastic thing.

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