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Online: trust but verify

March 28 2006

Hardly anyone would argue with the assertion that the Internet, if not wholly, then at least very substantially affected our lives and our world. And this effect is not always beneficial effect. Among the main advantages of the Internet environment, especially, stands out freedom of communication and virtually unlimited access to the database. However, these benefits from time to time are being questioned as to the quality of these same data and control communications are not always given adequate attention. This eventually leads to a decrease in standards of literacy and the catastrophic amount of artifacts and errors in the global network, which is easier to close his eyes.

In this regard, the focus is not the first time is a popular electronic encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Its uniqueness lies in particular democracy. Organization of articles based on the principle of "free content" and more like a compilation of open blogs , writing that can keep anyone who cares about this or that article.

At the same time to make a correction, it is not required neither special registration or filling in any form or by any special knowledge of web editors. User "to" enough to make the necessary amendments and save the page - update paper will be automatically added to the database. The only condition - the user must rely on facts, ie, adhere exclusively neutral point of view. Otherwise, the article will be removed by the administrator of the resource Wikipedia.

Thus, the encyclopedia is constantly expanding, and in early March in the online encyclopedia was incorporated million articles in English, which is certainly not gone unnoticed. Such a strike rate of replenishment of entries a positive signal to the founders of the Smart project. Especially when you consider that the project was launched just five years ago - in January 2001.

To date, according to the administration of Wikipedia, in the design, there are over 3 million articles from more than 100 languages. Opportunity to leave a "footprint" in the history of the world encyclopedia used by about 800 000 people (with the Russian language version of Wikipedia, which now contains over 50,000 articles, employs approximately 10,000 people). On average, it turns out that every day is made about a hundred edits.

Wikipedia has been repeatedly recognized by one of the highest quality projects and highlighted the accolades for the completeness of the factual material in various fields.

However, not everyone thinks innovative administration Wikipedia (it still exists) to the organization of entries, to say the ideal.

Their views on this subject was of a reputable guide Encyclopedia Britannica, published in the traditional "paper" format.

Differences between Britannica and Wikipedia were largely latent until until last December in the journal Nature is not an article in which, with reference to the results of the study stated: The number of allowable errors in both encyclopedias about the same.Britannica, which works exclusively with the experts and operates with reliable information, still can not believe it. Last week the magazine, which was accused of bias, it was proposed to give up objectionable results.

However, the wording Nature continues to insist on qualifications of the study and how the world like the old proverb: Trust but verify. Specialists, in turn, are also advised when referring to any dictionary or reference material does not perceive them as ultimate truth, and compare data from different sources. Rely on search engines or type yandex google - also means relying on chance.

Meanwhile, a dispute between the two encyclopedias can be viewed in a broader context, if we turn to the question: can we do now trust the internet, censorship or editorial correction which is often lacking?


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