big impact- work the Wiki way
There’s growing group of “wild enthusiasts” who both contribute and reap the benefits of open-source references.
“Wiki” is the Hawaiian word for “quick” but has been adopted by netizens as a prefix that, when used, denotes a collaborative effort – a project containing the work of the many
The most popular of these projects is Wkipedia (www.wikipedia.org
), an open-source encyclopaedia
. It’s a brilliant resource that has proven to be handier than your average reference.
However, it may not be possible to use Wikipedia as source material for a formal essay, like you can with an encyclopaedia, but on the other, it does offer more recent and relevant information than printed media.With entries on everything from photosynthesis to television shows like The OC, the Wikipedia does satisfy the curious.The entries may not delve too deep but offer a good starting point as well as links to other related resources.
The project has gotten so popular that the term “wikillectual”
refers to someone who obtains most of his information from Wikipedia. Unfortunately, it has a negative connotation because it also implies that the person’s knowledge is only rudimentary.Glossary of slang
Another one of my personal favourite is the Urban Dictionary
), the open source glossary of slang that I absolutely adore.
It’s major help especially if you’ve ever felt lost at a rap concert or missed
what Mary J. Blige said on her last record.Contributors are from all over the world and different age brackets
, so you get fair overview of how the English language has been slaughtered across the Atlantic, Down Under and other places. Entries are kept separate and visitors can contribute and also vote on current entries, so you know how many people agree with a particular definition and how many don’t.I, for example, found out that the word wikillectual is actually a derivative of “googlectual”, which refers to a person who uses obscure facts he/she found through Google searches.
The Urban Dictionary does let more slipshod entries through though, unlike Wikipedia, which is fairly strict with contributors.
But most entries are accurate
and I’ve noticed that people are quick to post a correct and more complete definition, once they’ve sighted a sloppy term.
There’ll be a book published later this year by the people who run the site, and I’ll be the first in line when it hits the shelves. The book is welcome addition and long overdue.
For the traditionalists who think that informal language should not be dignified by such a resource, I’d like to point out that many of the entries in the dusty, thread-bound Webster and Oxford came from informal uses of supposedly improper words.
But they only seem to add them a generation or two too late.
There are many others who have hopped on the wiki bandwagon but few are as established as the Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary. Still, as each site grows, you’ll find open source content cropping up all over the web.
More than a forum, these sites have delivered a space less cluttered and more focused on disseminating information, rather than diffusing it.
In these domains information is free
. Contributors aren’t bothering with domain name servers, hosting bills or woes. All they have to do is check facts and ensure that every article is as accurate and level as possible.
However, it’s still too early to tell whether this is a fad of the next big thing.
-the next big thing??