In our computerized era people depend on technology; Almost every household, workplace and educational facility is equipped with computers and connected to the internet. Many people enjoy online research tools to find valuable information and use it for a different purposes. Many of those tools are free of charge.
Wikipedia is an example of online research tool that is free of charge. It is considered one of the largest collaborative sites that is used to share information. Its untraditional approach attracted many volunteers around the world. The biggest question is whether or not Wikipedia can be considered as a reliable source of information .
Wikipedia was launched as a counterpart to the free online encyclopedia Nupedia, which was created in 2000. Wikipedia grew very rapidly; as of 2012 Wikipedia is one of the largest data depositories in the world and ranks 6th in popularity.
Main idea is to attract people of any age, from any background or culture to share their knowledge with the world. One of the rules of Wikipedia is that neither the creator nor the editor legally owns the article and any one can modify it once an article has been uploaded.
Wikipedia is solely an online encyclopedia source. It has many other comparable sources whether its online, paperback, free or pay for access. Three of its well known competitors are MSN Encarta, InfoPlease, and Encyclopedia Britannica.
MSN Encarta is an online encyclopedia. It offers professionally checked information making it a reliable source. It also offers a wide variety of sortable content. The downfall with MSN Encarta is the $29.95 annual access fee that you will have to pay to use the source.
InfoPlease is also an online encyclopedia. It offers information from trusted sources such as Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia and Random House Unabridged Dictionary. A major bonus to this webpage is its free to use, no account or payment necessary. The downfall with it, however, is it offers substantially less information with each entry meaning you will not be given in depth information.
Encyclopedia Britannica may be the world’s most famous encyclopedia source. It is now available in paperback and online. They offer a wide range of trustworthy information. The downfalls with the paperback version are they can run you thousands of dollars for a set and since they’re hard copy, the information is limited. The online downfall is the annual access fee of $69.95.
As a self-proclaimed encyclopedia that anyone can edit the reliability of Wikipedia is a perennial question. The key issues surrounding the reliability question of Wikipedia are the lack of credentialed, certified experts reviewing the articles and the ability for anyone to change an article at any time.
In 2005 the British journal Nature conducted a study on the accuracy of Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica entries – with comparable resultsIn 2007, PC Pro magazine intentionally entered mistakes on Wikipedia and found them generally corrected within minutes – this was supported by the 2008 Magnus study with the majority of errors being corrected or flagged within 5 hours.
Although as accurate as traditional encyclopedia, Wikipedia suffers from a lack of stability and limited reliability. Despite the rapid responses to erroneous data, these responses are not instantaneous. This will result in instances of inaccurate information on Wikipedia. Wikipedia remains an excellent starting point for research, as citations are required for the posted information.
Rising out of the ashes of Nupedia, Wikipedia had an explosive start publishing 20,000+ articles during its inaugural year to its current holdings of over 21 million articles just over eleven years later.This rapid growth and associated volatility make predicting the future of Wikipedia an extremely challenging endeavour.
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has plans for the future of the site. Wikipedia will remain a global collaboration site for the storage and sharing of knowledge but will include collaborative tools (such as chat) to allow editors to work together through Wikipedia without relying on third party software
Until now the primary measure of success for Wikipedia has been the volume of articles and users. Wales has stated that the quality of information is now more important than the quantity so heis trying to implement a flagged revision system for information updates on Wikipedia. Anyone can still edit data, but the information is restricted from release until it has been vetted by a registered, reliable user.
Will this shift in focus prove beneficial or detrimental to Wikipedia? Is this a devolutionary step back towards the original Nupedia and its cumbersome methodology for article publication? Conceptually, verification of the revisions will help with the reliability concerns of Wikipedia but the inevitable delays to publication must not impact the generic user’s satisfaction with the service.
Wikipedia will change in the future to include more online collaboration tools embedded within the website. Additionally, the Wikipedia focus is shifting away from quantity and towards quality of information. Whether this is evolutionary or devolutionary will be determined by the users of the service in the future
Wikipedia was created as a collaborative information store house. Unlike other information sources that provide expertly written or verified articles, the premise of Wikipedia is to allow users to contribute and edit any information on the site regardless of their qualifications on the subject. This concept is a proven recipe as highlighted by Wikipedia’s overwhelming success.
However, this very premise of Wikipedia limits the reliability and stability of the information as any data can be edited at any time, by anyone without any vetting of the edited content. Wikipedia’s co-founder, Jimmy Wales, has resolved to rectify this weakness in future iterations of Wikipedia.Overall, Wikipedia is a successful venture providing information on virtually any subject.
By: Shawn Marley, Cameron Turcotte, Svetlana Plotnikov Professor : Darin McRae Information Technology and the Business Student
In our computerized era technology is essential part of our lives. Many people use research tools and databases to find information There are many information sources available free of charge.
One of the biggest collaborative sites Has an untraditional approach of sharing information Very popular around the globe
Was launched as a counterpart to the Nupedia By the end of the first year Wikipedia had 20,000 articles on its account As of today Wikipedia is the largest data depository in the world
Contains information on almost any subject There is no legal ownership to any of the articles People can add, remove or modify any posted article Some additions apply certain rules on adding and modifying information
MSN Encarta InfoPlease Encyclopedia Britannica
Constant source of discussion Key Concerns: Lack of credentialed, expert review Information is easily modified
Nature Study (2005) Similar error rates in Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica PC Pro Magazine Study (2007) Errors corrected within minutes Magnus (2008) Errors corrected or flagged within 5 hours
Lack of Stability Limited Reliability Excellent starting point for research
Explosive start Rapid Expansion Volatile commodity Prediction is a Challenge!
“We are moving into the next phase and thecommunity’s interest has turned from themetrics of how many articles as this becomesless and less meaningful to quality” Jimmy Wales Co-founder of Wikipedia
Current measure of success is volume “Quantity” vs “Quality” Flagged revision system
Benefit or Detriment? Verification will address reliability concern, but... Delays in publication may become a dissatisfier
Wikipedia will Change! Include collaborative tools Focus on quality over quantity
Created as: a collaborative information store house Premise: Any user can add or edit information Successful
Successful, but... Information reliability and stability concerns Will change in the future
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