Thursday, January 22, 2009

Encyclopedia Britanica Opens up a Public Restroom

Robert McHenry, a former Encyclopedia Editor-in-Chief once said this about Wikipedia.

"The user who visits Wikipedia to learn about some subject, to confirm some matter of fact, is rather in the position of a visitor to a public restroom. It may be obviously dirty, so that he knows to exercise great care, or it may seem fairly clean, so that he may be lulled into a false sense of security. What he certainly does not know is who has used the facilities before him..."

That makes today's news seem particularly funny... That's right, users can now make edits on Encyclopedia Britannica's articles.


Andrea H. said...

His comment is also false. I had to create and edit pages on wikipedia for my graduate level library class. It is not as easy as one would think. You must provide resources and justification for most thing you add or your page will be deleted in a matter of minutes. Also, most pages that seem relevant to wikipedia but seem questionable as to facts are clearly labeled as being unverified or as lacking substantiating references. I challenge anyone who thinks that wikipedia is just a jokers playground to try and make a page from scratch and deal with the wikipedia police.

Matthew Buckley said...

Agreed. And although I wasn't clear in my post, long time readers will know I'm a big fan of Wikipedia. It unfortunately becomes the butt of jokes, but those doing the joking have likely never made a serious effort of contributing to the project.