On Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 2:18 PM, Gautam John <gau...@prathambooks.org>
wrote:
>
> On 25 December 2012 09:17, Rohini Lakshané <rohini.laksh...@gmail.com>
wrote:
>
> > http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/12/13/wikimedia_coo_convicted_felon
>
> It's more than a few years old, what?
>

I think it is very important to note the closing words from The Register
report: "The original version of this story said that Carolyn Doran's hit
and run DUI resulted in a fatality. This was based on two separate sets of
computer records - one with the Loudoun County, Virginia Circuit Court and
another on the web site of the Virginia Judicial System. But these records
are incorrect. Apologies to Carolyn Doran and her family."

It is of particular importance to us here in India, where gradually,
following the purported success of e-Bhoomi (the brief report in Wikipedia
should speak volumes about how well this project is really doing, but some
details might be more welcome to people who want to reference how
digitisation proceeds in the real world), there is excitement about
increasing digitisation (and more importantly, interlinking) of all kinds
of records. In the computer sector, there is a very old expression,
'garbage in, garbage out'.

Wikipedia also looks to digital references for credibility. It ought to be
noted that in fact, even government-maintained records are sometimes
grievously wrong, not just out-of-date.

imho, the past ten years have demonstrated unequivocally that a
community-sourced and maintained virtual encyclopedia is not just capable,
but is far superior to a bespoke production of select persons, both in
terms of timeliness and accuracy. Undoubtedly, there is still much to do to
make it now more meaningful to the world at large, beyond the
English-familiar audience.

Perhaps an objective for the future will be adding on-the-ground
fact-checking, going beyond digital records that can be (and, given the
imperatives of business, will be) perversely altered in the hands of
private and other vested interests. At present there is no scope for this
kind of value addition, but the need is enormous, and will only grow as
Wikipedia's coverage grows beyond the realm of 'credible' digital records.
I don't have a roadmap for how this factor will be included, but it is
worth planning. Today (as in the perfuffle around Kasab's birthday), we end
up firefighting, confusing for information seekers and fodder for a
confrontational mainstream media.

Vickram
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