Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Printing Wikipedia

I admit it: I use Wikipedia as a starting point for research. If I need to know an estimated population for Peru, it's a quick and easy source. If I need to confirm that population (including how current it is), I'll likely turn to the CIA's World Factbook (also available in print). Why? Because Wikipedia is crowd-sourced, I have no idea how reliable or accurate the data is.

Enter PediaPress, a group with plans to print Wikipedia in part to assuage librarians' fears. Said one librarian when told of the project, "[A] lot of people — including many librarians — are skeptical of Wikipedia as a reliable research tool. But...seeing the encyclopedia in print might change some of those attitudes."

While this may be true, librarians are not often judges, so for now, don't rely on the print version of Wikipedia for your legal arguments. Instead, just spend time marveling at how much content Wikipedia houses: "One thousand volumes, 1,200 pages each — more than one million pages in all — about 80 meters of shelf space."