Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wikipedia Research

I dont know how i didnt come across these earlier ... The page on Researching using Wikipedia or the page on Criticism of Wikipedia. Quite interesting reading, both of them. Some of these thoughts are quite what i have written about earlier. Lets face it ... Who would use only a single source when they are researching something, and more importantly, when their grades depended on it? So, in an environment in which wikipedia operates, it would be important to also use other sources for information. From this perspective, wikipedia could simply be an aggregator, which aggregates information from disparate sources in a single place, while at the same time, carrying the opinions of the number of people interested in the subject.

To this extent, like i have said before, wikipedia would be a good starting point, not necessarily the cornerstone of the research. Taking this one step further ... if we were to have a wiki setup within an organization. Would this have a reliability score higher than that of wikipedia? I would think so ... there is much more at stake within the organization (your boss could be reading your article, especially around appraisal time), but then this shouldnt make it so different, because i would assume the same consideration for reputation would be on the minds of the folks who are contributing on wikipedia, too.

Keeping this in mind, for an organization which is looking at deploying an internal wiki application, i would look at using a corporate wiki as a task-management tool, a tool which can be used for managing operations in a multi-author, collaborative model, and progress from there based on the learnings from this deployment. One could, however, argue that this is too restrictive a view on the entire idea of web 2.0 tools, but in a corporate environment where it might be a challenge to demo the value of these tools to managers, this could be the right way to demonstrate value, in the context of something managers understand from their day-to-day work.

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