In the news

In the news

Digital Universe takes aim

The Digital Universe project continued to figure in the news, mixing publicity for its own goals with criticism of Wikipedia. Covering the group's efforts, John Boudreau in the San Jose Mercury-News said it "could be called the anti-Wikipedia". The story also mentioned that Encyclopedia of Earth, the project's wiki-based encyclopedia to supplement the website's current portals, is now planned to roll out in the fall. Digital Universe also received a mention in The New Yorker's feature article on Wikipedia (see related story).

Bernard Haisch, president of the Digital Universe Foundation, addressed his personal experience with Wikipedia for an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times Monday. He complained that the Wikipedia article about him neglected his mainstream work on astrophysics and focused excessively on his editing of a journal for, as he put it, "critical discussion of unorthodox topics, such as parapsychology and analysis of UFO reports". Digital Universe founder Joe Firmage is noted for similar interests related to extraterrestrial intelligence and space travel.

Political fallout fallout

The echoes of Wikipedia editing by political staffers continued to rate mentions in the press even long after the initial news cycle passed by. Cathy Cox, the Georgia gubernatorial candidate whose campaign manager resigned after the revelation of edits to the article about Cox's opponent, lost the Democratic primary election to Mark Taylor. Cox received 44 percent of the vote, Taylor 52 percent. The incident was cited as one of her campaign's missteps that contributed to the loss.

Meanwhile, for the story that started it all, reporter Evan Lehmann of the Lowell Sun received an award last week. His article about Marty Meehan's staff editing Meehan's Wikipedia article earned third place in the investigative reporting category for the New England Associated Press News Executives Association's annual writing awards.

Finding your own work cited in Wikipedia

The Times of London ran a commentary on Friday by Ben Macintyre using the recent death of Kenneth Lay as the starting point to explore Wikipedia issues. He talked about being able to look up the entry for Adam Worth, an obscure Victorian-era criminal he had written a book about. Macintyre said he was "at first astonished, then flattered to find the book cited in the references", but also slightly infuriated because he felt the summary added several small errors.

The article was also reprinted over the weekend in The Australian with additional material by Nick Leys, in its Inquirer section for July 22-23, 2006. It said "Wikipedia is best used with a healthy dose of scepticism", but did cite several entries dealing with famous Australians or local geographic locations that were judged to be "comprehensive".

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