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20.9.06

Wikidemia

WikipediaThe e-mail list of the American Musicological Society has been buzzing lately with commentary on the phenomenon of Wikipedia, the online, collaboratively written, and rather uneven encyclopedia. So far, the only academic position on Wikipedia has been to make clear to students that Internet sources, especially something so fluid and unregulated as a Wikipedia entry, are wholly unreliable. Imagine my surprise when the avatars of musicology began to admit that they had contributed, in whole or in part, to Wikipedia articles! Not only that, but the view has even been expressed that perhaps musicologists should actually join the dialogue rather than condemning it. Perhaps, this argument goes, Wikipedia or something like it is uncircumnavigable. In fact, another member wrote, the work of musicologists, often from the New Grove, is often plagiarized or at least paraphrased in the best Wikipedia articles on music. Musicologists should just roll up their sleeves and start editing.

Another colleague suggested that musicologists should not bother at all with Wikipedia but go directly to the next generation of collaborative online reference work, Citizendium. This still-forming project will begin as a copy of Wikipedia, but it will be "expert-managed," meaning that academics will be given preference in their areas of specialization (with editorial positions offered on basis of CVs submitted to the editorial board). I'll be following that one.

2 comments:

Larry Sanger said...

I would be happy to send you an invitation that you could pass along to the AMS list. That would be fantastic, really. Let me know!

Mark said...

With all of the noted faults of Wiki, I still find it a marvel of the great possibilities of the net. By the people! It's still loaded with perfectly thorough and correct infomation. I use it often to link my posts. Standard texts and sources also have their share of corrupt and biased info. It's a work in progress.