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twoday.net AGB

Not a peer reviewed Wikipedia

Back in 2002, I would not have believed that Wikipedia could work out. You all know that it did became a major success but recently concerns were voiced, including quality issues, sometimes due to intentional addition of misleading information or simple deletion of unwanted facts, and the lack of experts on particular subjects.

Now, the Digital Universe wants to create a resource for peer reviewed scientific information, backed by Larry Sanger[w], who worked on Nupedia, a predecessor of Wikipedia and funded by Joseph Firmage, a victor of the New Economy who maintains an odd proximity to the UFO community. Digital Universe wants to secure the quality by stewardship of experts to particular research fields and boasts to become the "largest reliable information resource".

The first item on their roadmap already smells quite odd.

1 - Browser Independence
First, we’ve built the first version of the Digital Universe to work with the Mozilla-based ManyOne browser. In a few months, you’ll be able to access the Digital Universe from any popular browser, and also use text-based navigation in addition to visual navigation, if you prefer.

Several months to achieve browser independence? In 2006?

Nature[s] covers the story in its current issue but you might also want to check the The Register[f], which voices concerns on both projects - and the reply and corrections from Larry Sanger.

Wikipedia is currently aiming to attract scientists as lack of experts, particular in the natural sciences, is being discussed in the forums extensively. Sanger is definitely right in that Wikipedia is not a very appealing place for experts right now but there are major efforts to change that. However, the mix of experts and lay people should result in articles that focus on readability and understanding for the majority of users rather than expert opinions, an interaction that I have enjoyed. I have my doubts whether Digital Universe can compete with the quality initiative in Wikipedia and finally work out - but let's wait for the first articles.

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