Friday, October 20, 2006

A Rival to Wikipedia?

It looks as if a rival to Wikipedia is in the works. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education for October 18, 2006, Larry Sanger, a disaffected co-founder of Wikipedia, has "announced the creation of the Citizendium, an online, interactive encyclopedia that will be open to public contributors but guided by academic editors." Sanger wants academics to have more control over the site than currently exists on Wikipedia, where anyone can edit an article. Citizendium will soon start a six-week pilot project to determine its operating procedures.

The new open-source encyclopedia will be like Wikipedia in that anyone will be able to contribute an article; it will differ from Wikipedia in having scholars editing these contributions. Only a scholar-editor will be able to authorize modifications to articles and to approve the inclusion of new articles. The plan is for Citizendium to "import the entire collection of Wikipedia articles, delete entries deemed unnecessary, and let contributors and editors mold the remaining material." Mr. Sanger's goal, however, is for the site to become more trustworthy than Wikipedia through the participation of scholars. Time will tell whether two open-source encyclopedias can be sustained over the long haul.


Betsy McKenzie said...

Fascinating post, Marie! Thanks for the heads up.

Betsy McKenzie said...

See in case you want to apply to be one of their expert editors. They also have an introductory essay with their mission and plans.