It's no coincidence that to write an article about the wikipedia, and explain a term that will soon be as much a part of our vocabulary as the term 'wikipedia' is, I am citing a link to the wikipedia itself!
If you are a teacher who uses google for your everyday searching on the Internet, then you must know that for most of the topics that we discuss in class or give our students assignments to "find out about" - a lot of our information today is picked up from this "wiki" that has put been together by thousands of unknown names and faces. We all - teachers and students - are relying on a mass of information put up by anyone and we never really stop to question the quality of this information. In a recent article I read on the issue of the indiscriminate use of the internet in the classroom - this is what I came across (I have not tried it but I am inclined to believe the stats) -
"Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, dominates all of these searches, appearing in the top ten every time.
- China - Wikipedia = #1
- acid rain - Wikipedia = #4
- Montreal - Wikipedia = #3
- Charles de Gaulle - Wikipedia = #1
- Virginia Woolf - Wikipedia = #1"
Anyway, as it turns out, the founders of the Wikipedia are also worried about this trend; and so we have a Citizendium in the works!
"Citizendium works much like Wikipedia in many ways. Both are considered wikis, which are collaborative web sites that represent the ongoing, collective work of many authors. (Similar to a blog in structure and logic, a wiki allows anyone to edit, delete, or modify content that has been placed on the site--including the work of previous authors--using only a browser interface.)"
But unlike the wikipedia, the Citizendium will require contributors to register their names and the project has tapped subject-matter experts to serve as content editors.
I'm sure this will herald even more reckless use of information from the Internet, the only difference will be that the recklessness with the new wiki will be less problematic as far as the quality and sanctity of the information is concerned.