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Flog of the Prokonsul

Internet fluency, digital governance and Wikipedia propaganda. You have been warned.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wikipedia ban for disruptive professor

Some interesting stuff to read:

Wikipedia ban for disruptive professor

Here’s why teachers who ban Wikipedia are misguided

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rebuttal against ban by librarians

From Wikipedia's Signpost.

Ban Wikipedia? No Way! - In response to one of the articles that we covered last week, a parent has expressed concern that librarians have banned Wikipedia in schools. The author is a self-proclaimed "Wikipedia junkie", and notes that printed works are not absolute truths. He suggests that the teachers and librarians could have their students improve Wikipedia instead.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On librarians and... (suprise) Wikipedia

I don't think many will be suprised when I say that the most interesting chapter in Courtney's book was for me the chapter on Wikis by Boeninger.

Interestingly, Boeninger doesn't focus on Wikipedia - something I would like to address here.

Librarians 2.0 should certainly be familiar with Wikipedia. It is, after all, the largest encyclopedia, coming up top in most Google searchers, and something their patrons will often turn to for information. They need to know whether its reliable or not; how to efficiently research on it; and also - how to tie Wikipedia with their profession, communities and individual libraries.

The librarian at Great Meadows Middle School in New Jersey has blocked access to Wikipedia from computer; she has put up signs all over the library that declare "Just say no to Wikipedia" (read news story here). Yet I believe that we should heed historian Roy Rosenberg who wrote that in the end - it is just an encyclopedia (read his article here). You should not end your research with one - and you should never trust one source to be perfect - but to expect people not to use the mostly correct, free and user friendly resource is akin telling people that printed press allows dissemination of errors and they should only trust hand written manuscripts. Wikipedia is as correct as Britannica (read Nature's study here), and should be no more banned than it.

Of course, it is important to know how to use those tools widely. Librarians should be aware that Wikipedia has has useful guides - ex. Researching with Wikipedia or project such as Wikipedia:WikiProject Librarians. I would expect librarians 2.0 to have a Wikipedia account, and contribute to Wikipedia articles on individual books (ex. Wikinomics), their libraries (ex. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh) - or concepts related to their job (ex. Library catalog). With such tool as Catalog 2.0, linking books in library catalogue to their Wikipedia's entries, blog reviews and such, and librarians monitoring the quality of that content - helped by the vast masses of good-willed amateurs - I am looking forward to library 2.0 experience.

Further reading:

Chad F. Boeninger, The Wonderful World of Wikis: Application for Librarise, in Nancy Courtney (ed.), Library 2.0 and beyond.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wikipedia fundraiser and digital divide

Recommended reading:

Turning the Digital Divide Into Digital Dividends

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Digital divide article on Wikipedia - what we need to do

Origin of the term, current usage, digital divide, e-democracy and e-governance, and criticism are acceptable - although they could benefit from expansion.

Overcoming the digital divide and global digital divide sections have some references, but need more, and need rewriting and expansion - they are very rough drafts.

Digital divide in education has not a single reference.

National interest and social benefit and challenges and social detriments sections are missing references, and besides, they are lists that could as well be somebody's original research, which has no place on Wikipedia. Unless they can be referenced to a single publication, they need to be broken and incorporated into existing sections.

All things considered, the article has made considerable progress since we begun working on it, but it still needs more work before it can be considered for a Good Article review. So don't hesitate to spend an hour of two of your service learning in improving this article. We can create an informative page that will benefit the world - and learn how wikis and Wikipedia operate. Tantek Celik, Technocrati's Chief Technologist, said recently that in five years "knowledge of wikis will be a required job skill". Treat this as an opportunity, not as an assignment. This is, after all, a big part of what service learning is about.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Digital divide: Zambia

Recently one of the members of Wikimedia Foundation board travelled to Zambia. I found a part of an interview with her, where she mentions her visit to a Zambian village, very interesting; and her photos - even more so.

If your school is a hut, and your dreams are a bicycle or a camera, you really are on the other side of the divide...


Friday, November 16, 2007

Wikipedia digital divide project update

Since my last update was on Nov 6, time for another one. Here's what happening with the digital divide article on Wikipedia:
* on Nov 8, an anonymous editor (IP traced to London) did a minor edit removing a superflous word. It's a good example of a very common type of contribution - minor style/grammar fixes. You don't have to do much work to edit Wikipedia - if you see a single tiny error, correcting it is quite easy and very helpful, too! Interestingly, the minor edits can be controversial too - although it is not vandalism, it was reverted few days later by Tedickey with the edit summary "rm spurious change" (the anon editor failed to provide his edit summary)
* on November 12 vandalism by IP traced to Osaka, Japan and on November 13 vandalism from IP (IU8-9-10 Regional Wan Consortium in Smethport, Pennsylvania) occurred and where promptly reverted by Technobadger.
* on November 14 an anonymous editor (from Santa Clara, California) added a paragraph on cooperation between US and Egypt (accidentally, one of biggest recipients of US foreign aid) aimed at reducing digital divide in Egypt
* Nov 15 -vandalism from Belfast, Northern Ireland, reverted by Technobadger and from New Jersey Higher Education Network reverted by a bot (piece of semi-automatic software designed to spot and revert obvious vandalism)
* Nov 16 - a minor edit by user Corky842 creating an internal link to a notable term
* Nov 17 - more vandalism reverted by a bot and a few edits by me

PS. Also, remember that our project is not limited to digital divide; if you want to contribute to other articles (such as on service learning) - go right ahead!