The Web Runs on Love, Not Greed

JS Kelly jskelly@jskelly.com
Fri, 4 Jan 2002 11:16:22 -0800 (PST)


On Fri, 4 Jan 2002, Russell Turpin wrote:

> Paul Prescod:
> >>If I wanted to learn about, let's say, Uzbekistan
> 
> JS Kelly:
> >ummm, an encyclopedia? the library? a good geography or history volume?
> 
> The CIA World Factbook [1] has long been one of my
> favorite geographic references. And for the past few
> years, it has been on the web.

OK, but it didn't start there. and you're also taking this out of context
-- the question originally was more like 'if not for the web, where would
i find info?' of course now that we have the web, we find info here too.
but lots of the info from traditional sources is better researched, better
written, more accurately fact-checked, better organized... why can't we
match that (at the least?)

> Seriously, the Web makes it so easy to find information
> on so many subjects that the traditional encyclopedia
> is obsolete.

maybe. but i wish some of the traditional encyclopedia's editors could
edit the web. there's also a lot of misinformation and missed
cross-indexing and other missed opportunities out there. which is not to
mention that a traditional encyclopedia already exists -- has existed for
a long time. the CIA factbook has existed for a long time. we should
already have more unique and only-possible-online things than we do have.

> I suspect the Wikipedia [2] is now as good as the smaller traditional
> encyclopedias and it has the advantage that it is always current. For
> deeper information, I can get more from a quick Google search than from
> the Britannica. Yeah, the Web may be a wasteland. But it's not hard to
> find the oases. 

i never said it was -- just meant to say there should be many, many more
of them than there are. we shouldn't be talking about oases [in the
desert], we should be talking about a lush and varied natural landscape.

in the last ten years (approximate time since when the net/web has gotten
to be more and more accessible to more people -- and hence more and
more popular) we really could have done *so much* more than what we have.

-jsk

> [1] http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/
> 
> [2] http://www.wikipedia.com

ps the wikipedia looks like a nice project -- thanks for passing on this
link. it's still skimpy... and still just an encyclopedia... but it's
nice.