Talk about verification problems! Let's say billy bob Joe in Tennessee says he has an ancient manuscript of one of Huckleberry Finn and puts information about that up? How would anyone know it's true? Would you tell him he needs more sources or you'll erase it? Well, being strict on sources on a project as big as this is a hell of a lot of work.
Either way, this wikiproject seems to me like "a solution looking for a problem." I don't see what purpose this would fulfill that's not already satisfied elsewhere on the internet. If a reader needs info about a book, they can just google it; even if it's really obscure and unpopular, then its probably not important. If it is important, there's probably already information about it out there. Sure, it's not in a central repository; but do you really think it's practical to have a central repository of knowledge for every book of writing ever published? That's a tonload of wiki pages. I bet books are being published faster than the measly amount of constant users could find out about and document all of them.
Just doesn't seem feasible to me. -126.96.36.199 06:45, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
Using Wikibibliography to solve problems (WIM), and resolving the 'verification and scale' problems suggested above.Edit
I have come up with a similar but more expansive idea than Wikibibliography that would use a Wikibibliography to give a rough history of ideas - Wiki Ideas Map (WIM). I've outlined this proposal roughly and have pasted this below, but first wanted to address the problems proposed by 'Meta' above.
1) The first problem as i understand it is scale, and it is quite true that in some libraries in the world breath in and out more books in a year than one person could read in a lifetime. (I paraphrase 'Library: A History'). However, this it is not essential, at least initially, to have the entirety of every book written catalogued. Like Wikipedia, which does not have an entry on every single topic thought of or even named within itself, it does give the user the vast bulk of things they are likely to look up. One of the joys of a Wiki is that it expands in the directions users push it in.
Neither do I think it would be impossible to get a large amount of entries put in. Unlike Wikipedia a lot of the work could be done by those already doing it. I'm thinking of libraries and universities who catalogue all their new books each year. I think they would be happy to simply have their catalogue information spliced together in a Wiki format, and/or, put the new items straight on to the Wiki. If the format could be set up correctly this could leave them simply performing the same task with the information simaltaniously entering the Wiki and at the same time their own library catalogue. If the Wiki became expansive i think it would become of great use to the library community.
There are also companies like 'Amazon' that catalogue their books. Whilst I'm not generally for advertising I think this may be a case where it could be utilised well. One of the ways that Amazon advertises is to have a 'buy this book at amazon' link on a book entry, such as in library catalogues. They could be collaborators as well as financers.
2) The second problem I understand to be verification. I could understand this would be a problem if we only had 'any tom, dick or harry' entering information in. One solution to this would simply to have verification system. I think i'm correct in saying Wikipedia has something of the sort. This would be a little different though. This system would work on a basis of 'user trust' and 'multiple verification'.
By 'user trust' each piece of information could contain a tag that told you who entered the information. Some people would abuse this Wiki, but in a short space of time genuine trustworthy editors would become know by name.
By 'multiple verification' i anticipate a check system. So any editor could have a book that is on the Wiki already and simply check the information. This check would operate as simply a list of user names by the entry rather than one.
!However! I do not see this as at all being a 'tom, dick or harry' situation. It would be in the financial interests of printers, publishers, (internet) book sellers, authors, even libraries and universities, to have information about (their) books up on the Wiki. Then 'user trust' and 'multiple verification' become heavily bolstered by verifiable trusted users, that is users whose identity has been verified by the relevant companies and institutions as being who they say they are.
Ok, well i'll now get onto my proposal which I previously emailed to the Wikimedia email address before getting sent here. I called it the Wiki Ideas Map, WIM, and at it core it is a Wikibibliography/biography/other covering people as well as art and books.
The Idea: 'Wiki Ideas Map'
Initial Impetus: The people that the Wiki Ideas Map (WIM) is formulated upon helping are those for whom following references back through numerous books and other works is necessary. I'm thinking of those doing research on a particular area of history, an author or authors, or an idea; students and their professors in the main, but also journalists and writers as other examples of those wishing to get to grips with the span of an topic.
If such researchers could follow the references back without having to locate and find each individual text but instead have the 'map' of references on the web then naturally following the references would be much easier. This map is the WIM, which would be roughly a combination of a detailed (see below for the key details) universal library catalogue and a historical spider diagram, the former suppling the database for the latter.
How It Would Work In Brief: The two interfaces of the WIM are the 'Catalogue' and the 'Map'.
The Catalogue would contain much the same information as a library catalogue, hence the name. It would be the working area of the Wiki, into which information was added and editing done, and it would also be research tool in itself. It would though contain more information than a library catalogue, including, i envisage, publishers and printers, and it would be divided into entries on individual books, articles, authors etc, much like a wikipedia or wikidictionary entry. The key additional piece of information would be the list of references. These would be much like the references you see at the end of an essay or dissertation or non-fiction book. They would include references of this work (such as a book) to other works, references of other works to this work and references of those claiming a link from or to this work.
Note though, that whilst I'm refering to books and articles as the entries in the WIM, the WIM catalogue would potentially contain entries on every noun that was concrete or imagined to be concrete as long as they have been referably referenced (or could be), such as works of art, publishing houses, authors and artists and other individuals, etc.
For example, lets say someone was doing a typical research assignment for university on Virginia Woolf. By looking at Virginia Woolf they would find a list of her works, such as Mrs. Dalloway. They open the WIM 'Mrs Dalloway' entry and there will be a link to the various publishers of Mrs. Dalloway, the various printers, the various editions (which would form part of the same WIM entry) and all references made by or to Mrs. Dalloway, whether directly and specificly made by the text itself or whether despecified by a third party. Our researcher could then follow one of those references to the next entry, and could potentially follow a line of references back.
The Catalogue would form the database for the Map.
The Map would be the initial interface for users. If you like, the Catalogue allowed the user to look at the details, plunging the depths like a diver. The Map is what allows the process to really speed up, allowing the diver to skim the surface of the water on speed boat.
The Map would essentially be a spider diagram, with each point being an entry from the Catalogue. Each line between the points would be an indication that a reference had been made from one entry to another. Other useful details would include a numerical value, indicating the number of references, the ability to click on a line to bring up the list of references, the ability to turn on and off type of referencing, and the ability to condense entries into ‘topics’.
Let’s return to our previous research example of Virginia Woolf. Using the Map, with our initial ‘point’ of the Catalogue entry ‘Virginia Woolf’ we select the option to see all works by Virginia Woolf. Our researcher could then select to see all works referenced by Mrs. Dalloway. The Map would now show Virginia Woolf point with lines to the individual works of Virginia Woolf, one of which, Mrs. Dalloway, has lines linking to the works referenced by it. In this particular case there are non lines from the work, Mrs Dalloway, so our researcher opts to add to the Map all third party references, producing the new points and lines.
Our researcher might now want to look more generally at those links made to Virginia Woolf and here works in general. In this case they made ‘contract’ each of those separate points, Virginia Woolf and the individual works, into one point ‘Virginia Woolf and her works’. The Map will now treat these entries as one point and display them as such.
Uses: I hope the initial uses are fairly apparent, that is the ability to wade through reams of previous references, and thereby skim the previous research on a topic to get one’s bearing more fully on a topic, preventing repeating research and enabling quicker, better selection of books. However I envisage further uses for this WIM. For example, as the WIM grew in size it could highlight gaps in research, assumptions that may prove to be false, debates, and theories that have slipped and been largely forgotten.
Problems: There will of course be technical problems, most of which I believe are solvable and indeed in my head are solved. I’ll mention the main one here: How do we decide whether or not something is referenced? The solution is simple: a reference must be overt. If a reference is not overt but covert then it simply will not be included. This is where third party references come in. I will demonstrate with an example:
I write a piece of text that says: ‘I am Cain’. I add a reference saying ‘A.N.Author, Book of Cain pp19-20, 1998. This is an overt reference and can be included in the Catalogue. A third party though may think that I am also referencing the Tome of Cain. There is no reference to this so then it is not able to be included in the Catalogue. However our third party states his belief on a radio show. This quote from the radio show becomes our third party reference.
Starting Point: Firstly I someone is needed who can write the WIM, I don’t know anywhere near enough computer languages to know where to start. However, I think I could guide such a person.
I propose a tester using the Victorian era writers of Great Britain. They are numerous enough to provide a good test, with I think the perfect combination of clichéness and references to outside the era.
Please let me know what you all think and if anyone would like to go ahead with the idea and if Wikimedia would like to support the test.
Gris --Gris 10:12, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Wikisource is a multilingual project already providing much of what this proposal is intending to provide. The Wikisource "author" pages provide space for a persons bibliography (e.g. Wystan Hugh Auden, John Gould, Ella Mary Edghill, Pope Benedict XV), including works by and about the subject, topical indexes (e.g. s:Wikisource:Australia), and indexes of multi-volume works which many authors (e.g. s:SBE, s:NYT and s:Works of Aristotle).
If there are aspects of this proposal that are currently out of scope on Wikisource, perhaps we should first inquire whether Wikisource could expand its scope.
John Vandenberg 07:01, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
Harvard Library Innovation Lab introEdit
We are a tiny lab (2.5 developers) in the basement of the Harvard Law School Library working on a variety of projects to make available to all "what libraries know." Our two main, overly-ambitious projects are about using library metadata to help researchers and scholars discover, understand, and share intellectual assets.
1. ShelfLife is an end-user app that uses circulation data, which books are on reserve, the number of copies in the library, and (we hope, eventually) lots of other data to help figure out which books are relevant and significant. (I'm putting this very crudely -- we don't have the "patter" down yet.) It is based around the idea that books participate in many "neighborhoods" (= webs). Every book (eventually, every holding) gets a page that allows visual browsing, displays stats, enables user contributions, etc.
2. LibraryCloud is a multi-library metadata server with an app dev layer, intended to aggregate and serve metadata that will spur open innovation of sw that takes advantage of what libraries know. (We will make ShelfLife into an open, collaborative project after LibraryCloud is available.)
Current status: (1) ShelfLife is a proof-of-concept with a working prototype. We hope to have a release available to the Harvard Community in a a few months. (2) We are currently working on the first instance of LibraryCloud, which will be a server that works off of Harvard library data and that serves ShelfLife locally. We hope to have it usable internally in 12 weeks or so. We are thinking about it from the beginning, however, as a public platform available to any library (or other entity) that wants to join.
The big aim is to help spur the development of collaborative, open source, open access tools, services, and resources for scholars and researchers, if only so we don't keep going to proprietary services.
SJ has asked us to provide data about the "top" 100 books in the Harvard Library system. We can do that without much difficulty, using circ data as our guide, granting that those will better represent the vagaries of what's been assigned this semester, which books are not worth buying, etc. What data about those books would be useful for you?
We very much look forward to working together. We will learn a _lot_ from you and from this project.
David W. -- David Weinberger Co-director, Harvard Library Innovation Lab Dweinberger 21:24, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
We Need ThisEdit
Google used to be a research tool. They used to have lots of stuff going on trying to improve their search engines, like Google Squared. Now it's gone. Now Google's doing all this social networking crap, which doesn't improve the overall Google experience.
I therefore turn to Wikipedia for research, even though my teachers tell me not to. (I find a fact I particularly like then scroll down to the references and find the source where that fact originally came from.) It would definitely help if it were easier to find good stuff on the Web. 188.8.131.52 20:28, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Excellent, and how can we support?Edit
Congratulations on a well-thought-out and cogently articulated proposal. This is a great idea, and I hope it acquires some momentum. I'd like to help in any way needed. There's a related point that you might find interesting, a couple of points really: http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2012-February/072226.html