WikiVoyage for Travellers

If you have some spare time, travel a lot, and would like to write, Wikipedia could have a venue for you. It has opened a new travel site – WikiVoyage

Wikipedia’s travel site’s official launch coming soon; what to expect and not expect (Skift, Jan 9) tells us that it is to be used by people planning their travel or on the road but not be a travel magazine, directory to sites, chat board and several other things.  There are more don’ts than dos.

Knol To Stay

Knol: Too soon for Google scrap heap by Stephen Shankland, Webware (Jan 26)
“Evidently trying to inject a little more life into its Knol project for sharing and storing bits of information, Google has begun a Knol for contest. ”
There are over 100,000 Knol entries – though that is a far cry from the millions in Wikipedia.
Maybe Knol could be used in some collaborative way – since there is also “The ability to add Google spreadsheets, gadgets, Picasa pictures, and YouTube videos into Knol pages. ”

Controls on Wikipedia Coming

Wikipedia May Restrict Public’s Ability to Change Entries By Noam Cohen, New York Times (Jan 23)

WikimediaFoundation seems ready to put in system to prevent unknown users from editing entries on Wikipedia.

“The new system, called Flagged Revisions, would mark a significant change in the anything-goes, anyone-can-edit-at-any-time ethos of Wikipedia, which in eight years of existence has become one of the top 10 sites on the Web and the de facto information source for the Internet-using public.”

Seems founder Jimmy Wales is very much in favour of it, but that the “volunteer community” has to agree first.

UBC Health Library Wiki

The University of British Columbia Health Library runs a wiki for health librarians to share their expertise on searching and resources. There are many topics and tools covered, and some entries on topics such as use of Web 2.0, social tagging. There are also profiles of several health librarians.
From the main page:
“Increasingly, health librarians are the acknowledged information retrieval experts in medicine in the digital age – but we need better ways to share this expertise with each other, which is the major reason why this wiki has come into being. Our objective is to build a health library wiki with an international perspective, but also to emphasize issues affecting our work and practice in Canada. ”

Google as a media company

Is Google a Media Company? By MIGUEL HELFT, New York Times (Aug 10)

The possibility of being a media company arises again with Google’s new Knol which people are using as a type of wiki to present content on topics. Entries seem to be ranking well in search results even at Yahoo.

Google has many applications for storing content – “Knol is not Google’s first foray into content hosting. The company has long owned Blogger, one of the most popular blogging services. It is digitizing millions of books, which it makes available through its search service. It owns the archives of Usenet, a popular collection of online discussion forums that predates the Web. Google also carries some news stories from The Associated Press in Google News, and it publishes stock market information through Google Finance. And of course, Google owns YouTube, one of the largest media sites on the Web.”

Google Knol Open to Spam

Google attacked over Knol’s spam potential by Charles Arthur, The Guardian (Aug 7)
What was Google thinking when it set up Knol? It seems open to abuse by spammers, especially since there are signs that Google gives Knol articles favourable ranking.
“There are a large number of issues with the [Knol] service ranging from accountability, authenticity to credibility and general SEO concerns. What they all stem from is that Google has in essence created a toolset that’s ripe for abuse, and given those with no scruples financial incentive to abuse it,” noted the Mashable blog, which added that its design is “so optimistic as to the potential depravity of human behavior that it borders on ignorance.”


Knol is open to everyone, Google Blog (Jul 23)
Wikipedia watch out. Google’s wiki-like Knol is open for business.
From the posting: “The key principle behind Knol is authorship. Every knol will have an author (or group of authors) who put their name behind their content. It’s their knol, their voice, their opinion. We expect that there will be multiple knols on the same subject, and we think that is good.”
Google Knol Home Page
Authors have names and credentials; they can moderate edits and suggestions, and collaborate with other authors; they can even control the licensing of content. Readers can comment, rate, and review a knol.
Most of the knols seem to be health related at present. There is no good way to browse by topic, and the collection is too small to make keyword search worthwhile. Knols seem to have a style sheet that establishes basic components such as a table of contents to the sections, but some knols look a lot better and are much easier to read than others.
The comments on an article can sometimes be the best part. These might be recommendations for improvement, new resources, additional information. Can see this in the know on poison ivy.
Knols have promise. The authorship and credentials are a definite advantage over Wikipedia’s systems. But how long will it take Google Knol to have the critical mass of a Wikipedia?
Also – Google opens reference tool