Friday, January 28, 2005

No one gets it right all the time

Seems even the most venerable publications could use some more factchecking. The Times Online reports that "a schoolboy with a fascination for Poland and wildlife has uncovered several significant errors in the latest — the fifteenth — edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica."

This is particularly ironic following on the heels of an article written by Robert McHenry, a former editor in chief of the encyclopedia. McHenry concludes his article thusly:

"The user who visits Wikipedia to learn about some subject, to confirm some matter of fact, is rather in the position of a visitor to a public restroom. It may be obviously dirty, so that he knows to exercise great care, or it may seem fairly clean, so that he may be lulled into a false sense of security. What he certainly does not know is who has used the facilities before him."

People who throw stones...

This bodes well for the potential of Wikipedia's news arm, Wikinews.