Philippa Thomas Online

Occasional thoughts about life, books and news.


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The Smithsonian goes open-source

Another good example of traditional academia embracing the open-source ethos. Scientists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History needed to identify 5,000 species of fish – and fast – and they did – by crowdsourcing.

I found this via @openculture and @kirstinbutler on Twitter – thank you.

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Academics “embrace” Wikipedia – shock!

Interesting piece on the BBC website today about students at Imperial College London trying to “bridge” the worlds of academia and Wikipedia. They seem very sensibly to be saying – Wikipedia isn’t going away – Wikipedia is just about the world’s most used research resource – why not bring academic brains to the task of improving rather than scorning the open source encyclopaedia? Continue reading


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“The Wikipedia Revolution”. Will it survive?

THE WIKIPEDIA REVOLUTION: a book review
Andrew Lih’s take on “How a bunch of nobodies created the World’s Greatest Encyclopedia”.

To those who ask whether a grassroots open source online community can deliver a significant and sophisticated product,  Wikipedia delivers a resounding “Yes!” But then comes the caveat, “to an extent”. And then the question, “can it last?”
Continue reading