Sunday, October 12, 2008

Know It All

The author stresses the accuracy of Wikipedia compared to that of Encyclopedia Britannica. It is very important for an encyclopedia to be accurate since it is very commonly used for research and other practices that rely on accuracy. Schiff also explains that Wikipedia is constantly being edited and many topics are subject to point of view and vandalism. The author also questions the credibility of various topics as they can be edited numerous times before the day is over by anyone from a Ph.D professor to a fifteen year old.

"Part of the problem is provenance. The bulk of Wikipedia’s content originates not in the stacks but on the Web, which offers up everything from breaking news, spin, and gossip to proof that the moon landings never took place. Glaring errors jostle quiet omissions. Wales, in his public speeches, cites the Google test: “If it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist.” This position poses another difficulty: on Wikipedia, the present takes precedent over the past. The (generally good) entry on St. Augustine is shorter than the one on Britney Spears."

I believe that this passage illustrates the effectiveness of supporting detail because it complains about the numerous sources on the internet that are based on the authors opinion and not on factual evidence. Therefore, as it points out, the article on Britney Spears is longer than that of the one on St. Augustine.

The design of Wikipedia is very nice and easy to use. The user can simply input the topic they are looking for into the search bar and it will provide the user with information pertaining to their topic and related searches if nothing is found. It is very easy to understand and use, and it has no limit to its size. Encyclopedia Britannica can be very confusing to use and very hard to find information on something without having to look up something else that is related. I prefer the layout of Wikipedia to that of Encyclopedia Britannica because it is easy to use and it can be easily updated.

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