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.

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