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Calling Dr. Wikipedia, the cause of Encarta's fall, and more

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By Cryptic C62 and Sage Ross

Researchers call on physicians to edit Wikipedia

Last week the Signpost briefly noted a new study, "Seeking health information online: does Wikipedia matter?", showing that Wikipedia is the most prominent source of online health information. In the study, authors Michaël R. Laurent (User:Stevenfruitsmaak) and Tim J. Vickers (User:TimVickers) argue that physicians should get more involved in improving Wikipedia. That aspect of their paper has been picked up in prominent news sources. Wikimedia Foundation spokesman Jay Walsh responded by saying, "We absolutely want to see more subject matter experts participating in Wikipedia."

Encarta shutting down; is Wikipedia to blame?

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it would be shutting down its Encarta service. While many have pointed to Wikipedia as the reason for Encarta's downfall, Randall Stross of the New York Times concluded that Encarta would have failed anyway, due to Google's system of indexing the Web.

Wolfram Alpha to rely on Wikipedia

Wolfram Alpha, an answer-engine from the company of Stephen Wolfram that is scheduled for release this month, will reportedly rely on Wikipedia as a "popularity index" for choosing between ambiguous query terms. Effusive coverage in The Independent describes the new project, based on a natural language processing, as the "biggest internet revolution for a generation".

"Wiki-Ocracy" needed to manage economic stimulus, says columnist

CBS News columnist Christopher Lochhead argues that a public wiki, following the model of Wikipedia, would be a good way to manage the recent American economic stimulus package. Lockhead writes that

To ensure success from the $787 billion federal stimulus package we obviously need great governance, more ideas, and wiser use of technology. But taxpayers also need a platform so they can get involved. We need an end to apathy (or we’ll get more of the same). What we need something that I call Wiki-Ocracy.

Attack reported as a killing on Wikipedia before news broke

The Los Angeles Times reports on a story that made its way through the Russian blogosphere last month: shortly before news broke that human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov had been assaulted on Mar 31/Apr 1, his Russian Wikipedia entry was edited to say that he had been killed in an attack. More details can be found in a post by blogger Robert Amsterdam from shortly after the incident.

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