Three Wikipedia news items

  1. I’m accustomed to hearing stories about students plagiarizing FROM Wikipedia, but haven’t heard many about Wikipedia containing plagiarized information. The Seattle Times has this story:

    Critic reports plagiarism on Wikipedia

    By Anick Jesdanun
    The Associated Press

    NEW YORK — A critic of an online encyclopedia written and edited by its users has identified dozens of biographical articles that appear to contain passages lifted from other sites, prompting the encyclopedia’s administrators to delete several pending a review.

    Daniel Brandt found the examples of suspected plagiarism at Wikipedia using a program he created to run a few sentences from about 12,000 articles against Google’s search engine. He removed matches in which another site appeared to be copying from Wikipedia and examples in which material is in the public domain and was properly attributed.

    He ended up bringing 142 articles to Wikipedia’s attention.

    The site’s founder, Jimmy Wales, acknowledged that plagiarized passages occasionally slip in, but he dismissed Brandt’s findings as exaggerated.

  2. Speaking of Jimmy Wales, he appeared this weekend on NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, in the Not My Job segment of the show.

    Not My Job: Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales

    Wales plays our game called “It must be true… I read it on Wikipedia.” Three questions about the most obscure, trivial items we could find on wikipedia.org.

    You can listen to the segment (streaming Windows Media Audio) here, or download the podcasted audio of the entire show here.

  3. Frank Ahrens of the Washington Post reports that U.S Intelligence agencies are working on a model for sharing information based on Wikipedia, called “Intellipedia”.

    Imagine if, in August 2001, the U.S. intelligence agencies had dumped all of their information into one secure, online resource where it was searchable and accessible to anyone who had the proper clearance.

    (…snip…)

    Since its introduction in April, the classified version of Intellipedia has grown to 28,000 pages and 3,600 registered users, the government said. There are other versions of the database for “secret” and “sensitive but unclassified” intelligence.

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