19.398 Wikipedia: comments & a call for participants

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 2005 07:53:29 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 398.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

   [1] From: Ingbert Floyd <ifloyd2_at_gmail.com> (39)
         Subject: Re: 19.392 Wikipedia

   [2] From: "Jochen L. Leidner" <jochen.leidner_at_ed.ac.uk> (35)
         Subject: call for participants: German native speakers wanted
                 for Wikipedia study

         Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 07:40:46 +0000
         From: Ingbert Floyd <ifloyd2_at_gmail.com>
         Subject: Re: 19.392 Wikipedia

> Isn't this:
> pretty much what any encyclopedia is good for?

True, but wikipedia covers so many more topics, especially many that
would never make it into most encyclopedias except those designed for
specialists (and often not even those), that it gives a
one-stop-shopping reference for anybody to check. And to check with
minimal effort. The user doesn't have to first figure out which
encyclopedia has the term, whether such an encyclopedia exists, etc.,
all of which takes a significant amount of time and effort which the
user might not have or be willing to spend.

I'm not saying it's the "Kat's Miau", but it is impressive in its
breadth of topics. And the usefullness of the information often does
surpass much of what would be found in a typical web search (through
Google, for example), which is one reason that it often ranks near the
top of Google searches on somewhat specialized topics. I try to judge
things based on (1) how well they work, and (2) whether a better
alternative (potentially) exists. In this case, if wikipedia is used
the way I specified, it works pretty well, and I am unaware of a
better alternative, whether actual or potential, though I'd be more
than interested to hear any ideas for a better alternative that
anybody has.


P.S.: If someone is tempted to reply that Google ranks on popularity
rather than quality, yes, that's true. However, popularity does seem
to work (to some extent), hence why Google is currently the most used
search engine. Nobody has been able to come up with a better way of
automatically judging content; natural language processing has yet to
work on that level.

Check out the unofficial GSLIS Wiki:
Tell me what you think, if you find it useful, or if you have any
ideas for how to organize it better.  And if you feel comfortable
doing so, I heartily encourage you to contribute content!
         Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 07:44:12 +0000
         From: "Jochen L. Leidner" <jochen.leidner_at_ed.ac.uk>
         Subject: call for participants: German native speakers 
wanted for Wikipedia study
Dear Humanist subscriber,
For a scientific online experiment, I'm looking for volunteer
participation from German native speakers. In this experiment, you'll
be presented with random entries from the online encyclopedia
Wikipedia (in German), and your task is to think of (and formulate)
questions that are answered in it. To participate, have a look at the
attached guide, go to
the Web Experiment portal
and select
          "Wikipedia-Studie zur Formulierung von Fragen und Antworten"
          [Wikipedia Study on Formulating Questions and Answers]
This effort is part of the project "SmartWeb: Mobile Broadband Access
to the Semantic Web" funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and
Research, which aims to improve the state of the art in automatic
question answering.
The task is open-ended, so you can decide whether to participate for
just 5 minutes or whether you donate half an hour or more to science.
There's two 15 Euro (10.19 Pounds Sterling, 18.10 US$) Amazon book
vouchers to be won in a price draw if you leave your email address,
to reimburse you for your precious time.
I'd appreciate if as many of you could participate and/or forward this to
other German native speakers. Thank you all very much in advance.
                  Jochen Leidner
Jochen L Leidner, MA MPhil (CSTIT)  http://www.iccs.inf.ed.ac.uk/~s0239229/
PhD candidate
School of Informatics
University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Research Associate
LSV - Speech Signal Processing Group
University of the Saarland, Saarbruecken, Germany
Received on Thu Nov 03 2005 - 03:08:27 EST

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