The Wikipedia Show

Lot’s of Wiki-related information in my RSS yesterday, so  I thought I would collect some of it here and connect the Wiki-dots. First out of the box:  Daryn Grossman at imagethe New Media & Technology Blog hosted by Proskauer Rose, LLP reports that the medical journal, RNA Biology, is making its authors publish article abstracts on Wikipedia. This Journal has developed new publishing guidelines that include a requirement that the author upload an abstract to Wikipedia once the article is accepted for publication in the Journal. Apparently, the Journal’s requirement is part of a larger RNA Wiki project intended to encourage RNA researchers to create and grow public information on the topic of RNA families. An obvious question is raised by Grossman: what happens when another Wikipedia user decides to edit the abstract? The project people believe that the nature of the content is unlikely to attract editing, but authors are cautioned to periodically check their entries for changes. Will inclusion of scholarly article abstracts increase Wikipedia’s credibility? With the editing ability intact, questions regarding true reliability remain.

Next, Legal Writing Prof Blog tipped me off to a new book by Professor Robert E. Cummings (related to e.e.?) of Columbus State University of Georgia on how to teach writing to the “Wikipedia” generation. Aptly entitled “Lazy Virtues: Teaching Writing in the Age of Wikipedia”, pre-orders are being taken and the book is due imminently. The book is a textbook for college professors and includes collaborative writing assignments. Blog entry author James Levy comments that Cummings does not “praise” or “condemn” Wikipedia use, but implicitly acknowledges its role in the modern research and writing process. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Last up, I stumbled onto the Wikimedia.org site yesterday and got a glimpse of all of the “wiki” projectsimage it maintains. These include the giant Wikipedia, of course, but there also is Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks (including Wikijunior), Wikisource, Wikimedia Commons, Wikispecies, Wikinews, Wikiversity, Wikimedia Incubator and Meta-Wiki. Lots of collaborative on-line information – these wiki sites which might not be your ending place in a research project, but definitely are worth a look. And wikis certainly offer a writer a chance to “get involved” in the process through collaboration and editing of entries.

The New Live Writer Writing About The New Live Writer

I just downloaded the new Windows Live Writer 2009 and this is my first post with it. I have been using Live Writer from the beginning – I like being able to manipulate my entries off-line in a program with more functionality than the on-line WP interface. I really have no complaints with the old version, but the new version seems slicker and offers more. Taken from the Windows Live Writer Team blog:

  • “Instant photo” border treatment
  • Insert multiple photos
  • Insert and upload Windows Live photo albums
  • Insert and publish video to YouTube
  • Spell checking in: Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, English (Australia), Estonian, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Turkish, and Ukrainian
  • Server-side tagging (support coming soon to WordPress.com and BlogEngine.NET)
  • Type-down filtering in the Open dialog
  • Improved blog account setup
  • Windows Live Spaces inline preview support
  • Support for bidirectional languages
  • Updated look and feel

There are also three new plug-ins: a Flickr uploader; an automatic DiggThis badge when you upload; and, an automatic Twitter notify.

The new version is in “release candidate” stage and the Live Writer team is soliciting feedback on any bugs prior to general release.

If you currently use Live Writer, this is a nice upgrade. If you don’t yet use Live Writer, I recommend you try it out.

FindingDulcinea: The Impossible Dream?

I wholeheartedly embrace the avalanche of free and available information on the web. However, I am the first to concede that researching on-line is fraught with the perils of inaccuracy and unreliability. Even for seasoned researchers, the process of finding authority and confirming its authenticity and reliability can be challenging at best and nightmarish at worst.

Enter FindingDulcinea: a librarian for the internet age. Unlike traditional engines, such as Google and Yahoo that rely on algorithms for matching results to search terms, FindingDulcinea uses good, old-fashioned human beings to map relevancy and accuracy – they currently have a staff of approximately 30 with an equal number of free-lancers. Although the site does not provide its own search engine, it offers three types of information: web guides, in English and Spanish, with search tips and vetted links in 16 categories; “Beyond the Headlines” with headlines and historical and context annotations accompanying top news stories; and “Netcetera,” offering blurbs featuring a variety of stories currently circulating on-line.

Each site included on FindingDulcinea is accompanied by an informative narrative that helps streamline the process of determining relevancy.  FindingDulcinea limits its site list to approximately 25,000 so that it can focus on its editorial content and organization.

You won’t want to end your search process with FindingDulcinea, but its a great place to start!

A Virtual Sticky Note on Your Computer Screen

Without the gummy residue. Lifehacker “marks” this little app, Sticky Screen, that replaces your start page with a simple sticky note reminder. Lifehacker explains that the typed note is stored in a browser cookie so there is no need for a log in. Plus, its my favorite price: free.

I am FAMOUS for sticking these little (mostly) yellow notes all over the edges of my screen and computer. Sticky Screen is a brilliant morphing of these little notes into our virtual reality.

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