Some implications of "digital" for scholarly writing and publishing

Category: Wikipedia

What are Wikipedia categories for?

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“Partial view of Wikipedia’s category system from 2007. Arrows point from category to sub-category.”

I’ve written before about Wikipedia categories, using the example of a brand of toothpaste, and this post is an attempt to understand them a bit better. …

Should scholarly publishing be more like Wikipedia?

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Not a day passes without someone suggesting a way to reduce the inefficiency of the scholarly publication cycle. There is an interesting article in Scholarly Kitchen by Tim Vines, about Michael Eisen, the new Editor-in-Chief of eLife, suggesting ideas for the …

The Innocence of Wikipedians

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Perhaps it is the innocence of Jimmy Whale,  Wikipedia’s founder, or perhaps it is an innocence shared by all the Wikipedia editors. Either way, Wikipedia is surrounded by a sweet optimism that is at odds with the reality of the actual …

Will Wikipedia ever get their facts right?

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Editing Wikipedia appears to some (including me) to be an endless road – it goes on and on, and is never concluded. And that doesn’t mean it gets better – even when highly experienced Wikipedia editors are on the case. Here …

Histropedia – a new way to visualize history?

Reading Time: 3 minutesHistropedia is a site that enables you to create timelines from Wikipedia entries.  According to the two founders of Histropedia (a very klunky name, which makes me think of histrionics), it is “a new type of website that will transform the …

Brockhaus dies, and Wikipedia lives

Reading Time: 3 minutes(This post first appeared at in June 2013)

Bertelsmann’s announcement of the closure of Brockhaus encyclopedias (June 2013) is indeed the end of an era. The Brockhaus encyclopedia style was fundamentally different to that of Britannica. While of similar size, …

Can Wikipedia prevent paid editing?

Reading Time: 2 minutesWikipedia terms of use

Astute readers of Wikipedia, or even readers who are half asleep, cannot have failed to notice the prominent notice at the top of every Wikipedia article at present (March 3rd, 2014). Undisclosed paid editing is what Wikipedia is trying to stamp …

The difference a date makes

Reading Time: 3 minutesWe all know what confession means: the Catholic ritual by which sinners gain absolution for their sins, by confessing to a priest.  John Cornwell’s recent history of Confession, The Dark Box (Basic Books, 2014) contains three key dates, very helpfully extracted …

Wikipedia v. a tube of toothpaste

Reading Time: 3 minutesHere is a story about a brand of toothpaste and Wikipedia, and how the brand of toothpaste won.  It is a salutary lesson, not for the toothpaste, but for Wikipedia – except I don’t imagine anyone from Wikipedia has noticed.

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