« Fair Use Thumbnails | Main | A Dracula Handbook »

March 28, 2005

How Wiki Articles Evolve

I had a job talk last week at a university. It is a job that I would really REALLY like. There are three that I would really like that I'm being considered for. Anyway, the presentation went well... got help from Jeremy and Aaron and others with my powerpoint slides. I don't like powerpoint. But then again, I don't like having to talk about things in 20 minutes (if you want to see the slides, check out http://jasonnolan.net/talk.html now that I've removed most all reference to the university involved). One of the people interviewing me had missed the question section, and only attended my presentation. While I was discussing wikipedia and my interest in making an educationally specific wikipedia, we had quite a heated discussion over what counts as an encyclopedia. If you know me, you'll realize that I think that knowledge is socially constructed, as are the terms we use, et al. So for the notion of encyclopedia to morph is just normal to me. Not for this person. An encyclopedia is an encyclopedia, and because wikis do not have formal peer review before they are available to the public and are subject to error, they cannot ex officio be an encyclopedia. Leaving aside the notion of truth being transient, and revisions to encyclopedia in various versions, what came out of the discussion was the sense that by making the process of development transparent, what I was suggesting moved beyond the monolithic academic notions of truth to the presentation of a negotiation process of the construction of knowledge. This is nothing new, and has been discussed formally, but what I liked is how most of the people at the table really caught on to it. I could feel the excitement. As for the person who disagreed, I don't think the disagreement was that deep, and I could imagine that this prof is one that I'd love to collaborate with specifically due to her perspective and reticence in interacting with digital technology. I think I'd learn alot.

So, when I found this article, I thought of the experience and wanted to book mark it for use in class.

Slashdot | History Flow Shows How Wiki Articles Evolve

teslatug writes "IBM has released a preliminary alpha version of its History Flow Visualization Application that shows how collaboratively created documents evolve. The tool is written in Java and it's available for download along with plugins for MoinMoin and MediaWiki. They have some interesting screenshots of the Wikipedia articles on abortion, Brazil, and love."

Posted by jason at March 28, 2005 08:37 AM