From World Book to Wikipedia

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This  next posting is quite different from my previous posts. Since I failed to mention an introduction to my blog, I will provide a brief description in this post.  I started this blog as a requirement  for my English 7741 course at KSU.  In short the course is a technology course within the context of English and its uses in the classroom on the secondary level. 

I can’t remember the last time I have used an encyclopedia. When I think of encyclopedia I have this image of this whole World Book encyclopedia set my Aunt bought. I don’t know of any students deciding to pick up a reference book and complete research. Everything is just a click away with Wikipedia. Although many schools shun Wikipedia, I like to think it is a good starting point in narrowing down the topic(s) and even describing the concept or providing a definition for the entry. For this in-class assignment I had to choose an entry from a general encyclopedia and  evaluate the differences and similarities of that entry among Britannica, Wikipedia, and a general encyclopedia.

The entry word chosen was Ferenc Deak. Yeah I know you have never heard of him. Well he is a Hungarian statesman and Minister of Justice according to Wikipedia. In the general encyclopedia Deak had a short description containing pertinent information for the reader. An added touch to the entry was the name of the contributor as well. The contributor was Ivan Deak which is more than likely related to him. The information from the general encyclopedia could be bias.

 

On the other hand Wikipedia had headings and more information of the life of Deak such as Early Life, Political Life, Personal Life,). Within the entry are other links of topics in Wikipedia. This  could be very helpful to the user to learn more about Deak and the life he may have lived as well.  Lastly, Britannica was a bit different because it required a paid subscription to the site. Now you know, everyone on the Internet is looking for something inexpensive (cheap to be more exact). So I decided to Google the entry and found  that Britannica was in the top search results. Britannica still did not contain as much information on Deak as Wikipedia.

This Wikipedia assignment illustrates the benefits of collectively making a site public. I think Wikipedia is unique mainly in its feature to re-edit to include more or updated information on a subject. Also it does not use elaborate technical words to get the point across.

So I challenge you to do this assignment at home. Let me know your results. Were your results what you expected?  I will post later on a pop culture phenomenon. Stay tuned .

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