Monday, February 12, 2007

Wikipedia Versus Traditional Encyclopedias.

The debate whether Traditional Encyclopedias like Britannica and the recent Encarta are more professional than the "Giant Killer" Wikipedia has been going on for sometime. Wikipedia occupies a place in the minds of the public very similar to Google. That of a revolutionary product which is going to change mankind's views of the world. Here's Wiki's take on itself . I've been following the Wikipedia growth for the past year including various news articles that appear all over the place and I have a few observations.

While it’s extremely impressive to say that Wikipedia is by the people and not by a couple of experts, that's not the point. What experts of a particular field have been replaced by are arm chair experts whose level of knowledge is from low grade sources like newspapers at worst and from Credible Encyclopedias at best. Thus while Wikipedia is a great source of information, the kind of credibility that is needed to really understand a subject is best left in the hands of experts.

So I'll continue to use Wikipedia because I can't afford any of the other encyclopedias but I've learnt that the majority of the content is "Cut, Copy and Paste" from various sources or in other words, experts. But the biggest edge Wikipedia has is on subjects like the following on Indian Street Cricket! And say a good movie like The Shawshank Redemption.

There are talks of Wiki starting a search engine to oppose the Goggle dominance. Talk about the Clash of Titans!


Sushil Subramanian said...

Ofcourse... but most people using online information do not intend to research on that particular subject. So I guess, wikipedia leads you to 95% of the answers you want. That is why Wikipedia is more like the 'common man's' encyclopedia, who is just trying to increase his awareness rather than do it accurately.
That is why wikipedia is special and its doing a good job. Think about it.