Scholarly Authority in a Wikified World 2012-08-20


"Like most scholars, I was skeptical about Wikipedia when Jimmy Wales first launched the site back in 2001... My initial skepticism is now proof of how little I understood what Jimmy Wales grasped far better than I. Wikipedia exploded from an initial 20,000 articles in 18 languages during its first year to more than 19 million articles in 270 languages (3.8 million of them in English alone) written or edited by 82,000 active contributors. Whatever reservations one might still have about its overall quality, I don't believe there's much doubt that Wikipedia is the largest, most comprehensive, copiously detailed, stunningly useful encyclopedia in all of human history... Wikipedia is today the gateway through which millions of people now seek access to knowledge... Whatever the reference tools we consulted—dictionaries, almanacs, encyclopedias, books of quotations, finding aids, bibliographies—we did so because their contents had been carefully scrutinized by professionals with appropriate scholarly training. No longer. Wikipedia and its kin have changed all that, and those of us who inhabit the world of scholarship need to ponder the ongoing role of professional authority when traditional disciplines can no longer maintain the kind of intellectual monopolies that their members once took for granted... Perhaps most importantly, Wikipedia provides an online home for people interested in histories long marginalized by the traditional academy. The old boundary between antiquarianism and professional history collapses in an online universe where people who love a particular subject can compile and share endless historical resources for its study in ways never possible before... What is to be done? If you can't beat 'em, join 'em... "



08/16/2012, 06:08

From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.comment oa.wikipedia oa.history oa.humanities oa.ssh



Date tagged:

08/20/2012, 15:16

Date published:

02/03/2012, 16:05