Butinage du 13.09.2006


Boing Boing: Jimmy Wales to Beijing: Wikipedia won’t censor

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has refused to censor the content on the Chinese version of Wikipedia, resulting in its being blocked by the Chinese government.

WSJ.com – Will Wikipedia Mean the End Of Traditional Encyclopedias?

Can Wikipedia’s everyone’s-an-editor approach produce a reliable resource tool without scholarly oversight? Are traditional encyclopedias like Britannica limited by lack of input? The Wall Street Journal Online invited Mr. Wales to discuss the topic with Dale Hoiberg, editor-in-chief of Britannica. Their exchange, carried out over email, is below.

if:book: google and the myth of universal knowledge: a view from europe

Now I’m no big lover of Google, but there are a few problems with this critique, at least as summarized by the publisher. First of all, Google is just barely into its scanning efforts, so naturally, search results will often come up threadbare or poorly proportioned. But there’s more that complicates Jeanneney’s charges of cultural imperialism. Last October, when the copyright debate over Google’s ambitions was heating up, I received an informative comment on one of my posts from a reader at the Online Computer Library Center. They had recently completed a profile of the collections of the five Google partner libraries, and had found, among other things, that just under half of the books that could make their way into Google’s database are in English…

Still, the « driven by commercial interests » part of Jeanneney’s attack is important and on-target. I worry less about the dominance of any single language (I assume Google wants to get its scanners on all books in all tongues), and more about the distorting power of the market on the rankings and accessibility of future collections, not to mention the effect on the privacy of users, whose search profiles become company assets.

if:book: « a duopoly of Reuters-AP »: illusions of diversity in online news

The repackaging of information goes into overdrive with the internet, and everyone, from the lone blogger to the mega news conglomerate, plays a part. Moreover, it’s in the interest of the aggregators and portals like Google and MSN to emphasize cosmetic or brand differences, so as to bolster their claims as indispensible filters for a tidal wave of news. So whether it’s Bush-Cheney-Chalabi’s WMDs or Google News’s « 4,500 news sources updated continuously, » we need to maintain a skeptical eye.

Library Stuff >> Blogs Work!

Remember the phrase, « Eat Your Own Dog Food »? This is what it means. If you teach a social software class without actually using social software, you may want to rethink your strategy. That’s why I taught my blogs classes with a blog. It just made sense.

The Distant Librarian: Great example of how voice can enhance your screencast

That’s what you want your screencasts to sound like, folks!

Caveat Lector » I only thought I hated Java

Java is absolutely wonderful at finding new and annoying ways to get in my way. So much for OOP being the silver bullet. If Java is the poster child for OOP, gimme a procedural language, thanks all the same, and preferably one whose VM doesn’t eat new-model computers as a light snack.

Java is Teh Evil. The more I understand about it, the more I wish I could kill it. Preferably with a Beeblebroxian very large axe.

RDF pour les nuls ©

RDF n’est pas un langage de programmation, ni même un langage à balises permettant de structurer une information. C’est un modèle de description des données, c’est d’ailleurs le sens de l’acronyme RDF : Ressource description framework. Pour communiquer entre humains, nous disposons d’un langage que l’on qualifie de « naturel » pour le différencier avec les langages informatiques. RDF, c’est un peu l’équivalent de notre langage naturel pour permettre à des machines de communiquer entre elles.

Et le wiki devint sémantique

J’avoue que j’ai été bluffé par cette application appelée Semantic Mediawiki et qui constitue une extension au logiciel Mediawiki.

Coding Horror: Trees, TreeViews, and UI

It’s unfortunate that the treeview is one of the standard widgets in a usability designer’s toolkit, because trees aren’t usable. They’re a pain in the ass. They may be necessary for developers who are forced to work in the strict, rigid world of software development, but they are unnatural, restrictive, and just plain unnecessary for average users.

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