Monday, September 18, 2006

Getting Wiki-fied

It's late at night, and I've just finished reading Rosenzweig's article on the history of wikipedia. I'm a little too tired to post all of my thoughts on the article, but one thing that seemed clear to me was that my own opinion of Wikipedia are not really that unique. Another thing that caught my attention was how Rosenzweig compared the current concerns over Wikipedia's "objectivity" to the birth of the AHA, described in Novik's seminal work.

One issue that neither author brings up is the question of just what sort of objectivity is being discussed. For instance, in the beginning of Novik's book, objectivity is used as a yardstick to determine the extent to which an historical work is scientific. That is, connected with the values of late 19th Cent. science. However, those values were not static. More recently, historians like Lorraine Datson, also Peter Gallison have demonstrated that "objectivity" itself has a history, and that its usage by people aspiring to it has varied across historic contexts.

Don't get me wrong, it is not that I feel it takes away from Rosenzweig's article, it is just a thought that popped into my head. Otherwise, the article also impressed on me that there are a lot of issues surrounding wikiality.

Did you just ask what 'wikiality' is? It's a little bit of pop-trivia. I am a pretty big fan of the Colbert Report, and while reading the article, I suddenly remembered one of his monologues from over the summer. Stepehen discusses Wikipedia, and how through it we can create a reality that we can all agree on- the reality we just agreed on.

1 comment:

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