The Great Book of Knowledge, Part 2

Detail from the puzzle globe <a href=''>Wikipedia</a> logo.

Detail from the puzzle globe Wikipedia logo.


We used to need libraries to make the sum of human knowledge available to all. Today we have Wikipedia, where the sum of human knowledge can be shaped by all of us. But can we trust it? Philip Coulter suggests that the collective mind is perhaps the best mind we have.

Listen to The Great Book of Knowledge, Part 1

It features 30 million articles, in 287 languages. And it's written and edited -- for free -- by 77,000 contributors around the world.

What did we do before Wikipedia? Well, if you wanted to know something, you looked it up in a book. And if you didn't have the book yourself, you had to go to the library.

In the old days, books contained pretty much all the information there was. And they were written by "experts" -- and that usually didn't mean you.

But what if you knew something that the guy who wrote the book didn't know? Or what if they were wrong? Well, too bad.

And then, along came the computer, and after that, the wiki. And everything changed forever.

Participants in the program:

Pete Forsyth, Principal, WikiStrategies.

Jon Aronson, Professor of Communications, University of Southern California.

Kat Walsh, Wikipedian.

Sue Gardner, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation.

Marina Gorbis, Director, Institute for the Future.

Eugene Kim, IT consultant.

Reading List:

The Wikipedia Revolution: How A Bunch of Nobodies Created The World's Greatest Encyclopedia by Andrew Lih, published by Hyperion, 2009.

Lazy Virtues: Teaching Writing in the Age of Wikipedia by Robert E.Cummings, published by Vanderbilt University Press, 2009.

Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage
by Axel Bruns,
published by Peter Lang Gmbh, Internationaler Verlag Der W, 2008.

How Wikipedia Works: And How You Can Be a Part of It by Phoebe Ayers, published by No Starch Press, 2008 .

Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia by Joseph Michael Reagle, published by MIT Press, 2010.

A Brief History of Encyclopedias: From Pliny to Wikipedia
by Andrew Brown, published by Hesperus Press, 2011.

A Social History of Knowledge II: From the Encyclopaedia to Wikipedia by Peter Burke, published by Polity, 2012.

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