Why We're Online (Cont'd)

Published:June 8, 2009 by Brendan Wolfe

5_wikipedia-1

Artist Rob Matthews binds Wikipedia’s featured articles in “dysfunctional physical form” as a way “to question its use as an internet resource.” The picture speaks for itself, I guess, but let me play devil’s advocate. For one, how does this “question” Wikipedia’s use as an Internet resource? Presuming one finds such a book intimidating and perhaps prohibitively cumbersome—this strikes me as the first impression most folks will get from such a photograph—then Matthews’s project has confirmed Wiki’s usefulness, not questioned it

(Of course, maybe you only find such a book intimidating and prohibitively cumbersome because it’s one volume. Why not do what encyclopedias have been doing for generations and break it up into multiple volumes?)

On the other hand, usefulness can be described by more than just what is convenient. Is Wiki a useful and convenient source of accurate information or simply a useful and convenient source? And does binding Wiki actually confer upon it the authority of printed pages that we associate with more traditional—and more traditionally edited—encyclopedias?

I have less of an agenda here than you might think, so really I’m just asking.

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