Wikipedia ban

Here's a piece on wikipedia censuring.

Only an OK article. The article that inspired it is probably worse. I do think both are indicative of a culture that just doesn't get it.

I think in this case it might represent only superficial writing-- they know greater issues, but don't address them in the issue of space, time, or general interest. Well it is really selling it short.

Almost all mainstream discourse I've encountered goes like this: An octogenarian of a librarian complains how it is inaccurate and worthless because it isn't indexed using the Dewey decimal system or some worseless idea like that. The mainstream paper points out the obvious, that it is only an encyclopedia and that it isn't meant to be regarded as a primary source, and that dopey students have been quoting inaccurate information from Brittanica for years, and it has never been satisfactory. Then at the end they always slap on the enticing quote from some media savvy person who hints at the potential of collective knowledge with its recorded production, and the point gets cut off and goes unaddressed.

Here is a fact that every news writer should realize by now as their jobs quickly disintegrate: Wikipedia is better then Birttanica. It is more than a bound volume written by stodgy white men could ever be, because of all of the reasons we pound away it again and again in class.

I am sick of ignorant reactionaries. This isn't just a rant (maybe it is?), I do have a new point I wanted to make. I see a parable between old librarians and say photographers. I think some fears over a disintegrating research complex are valid; wikipedia has its faults, and as things get easier people get lazier. But come on, what a romantacized notion of what research used to be, qulaity work is still held to the same standards, perhaps even tougher ones as sources become more and more available. In some ways I think the internet is the destruction of the mysticism of the academic discovering unknown transcripts in a musty basement. Sources are becoming more accesible, and less monolithic. Wikipedia is only an encyclopedia. It's page on Einstein shouldn't be quoted in your dissertation. (But maybe its discussion page on it could be.......). It's footnotes would be way more useful than a traditional encyclopedia's.

I think a knowledgeable librarian is invaluable. I think a stodgy, ignorant librarian needs to retire.