Something Wiki’d This Way Comes

 Do you, gentle reader, remember the controversy in late 2005 when the journal Nature released a study comparing the accuracy  of scientific articles in Wikipedia to those in the Encyclopedia Britannica and found that Wikipedia stood up well next to the Britannica?(In LibraryLand, we never refer to an encyclopedia by its full name; it is the Britannica or the Americana. And don’t get us started on reference work abbreviations; i.e., DAB, OED, OOH, DLB. Or the even more mysterious sounding, almost cabalistic-inducing “Code” or “Statutes.” Where is Tom Hanks when you need him?) And how Britannica shot back its objections which were then countered by Nature in a veritable war of the nerds? If you do not, come here for a refresher. It even made the BBC News as well as more than one trade journal. These exchanges unleased a torrent of pro vs con writings on Wikipedia; what we like about these two representative articles are the great following comments sections where the diversity of opinion is so indicative of the Wikipedia question. Find out what Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, recently said about using Wikipedia in college. Guess what? In a recent press release, the Britannica has announced the formation of its own wiki which will run parellel to the main content of the encyclopedia. However, to differentiate the vetted encyclopedia articles from the publicly contributed ones, the term “Britannica Checked” will be employed. What goes around comes around.

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