12 March 2008

Just one link

...that I meant to include in my previous entry. The New York Review of Books' review of Oliver Sacks' book, Musicophilia.

Oh, but while I'm at it, also in the NYRB, Nicholson Baker defends Wikipedia and catalogues his fascination with it, especially his efforts to save articles from deletion (in the process defending the delights of arcane knowledge and the preservation of obscure information for its own sake).

He makes passing reference to Stacy Schiff's New Yorker article from July of 2006 (includes an amusing editor's note about the fake identity of one of its sources), but not the New York Times' article from July of 2007, which I remember bookmarking because I wanted all of my students to read it. (It's a nicely balanced answer to the beleaguered undergraduate's question: "Why can't I cite Wikipedia for my research paper?")

Also, by way of useful context for Baker's Wikipedia defense, the New York Times recently published a review and excerpt of his new book. Having read this, it does not surprise me that he's a fan of Wikipedia, because the book reads sort of like a wartime Wikipedia, in which he gathers snippets of newspaper accounts from the run-up to World War II and weaves them all together. The man went so far as to purchase entire molding archives--thousands of volumes--of various newspapers, in effect saving them from deletion, an act entirely of a piece with his Wikipedia obsessions.

Well, I guess that was more than one link. People, we live in a wiki, wiki world. (Oh, I'm not the first person to have thought of that phrase.)

And I have begun to wonder why my periodical universe is dominated by newspapers and magazines that begin with "New York."

1 comment:

maitresse said...

Only in my wildest dreams could I get my students to stop citing Wikipedia. As it is, the most I can do is to get them to CITE Wikipedia when they quote from it, the plagiarizing little bastards.

For ignoramuses or people with no memory at all (hello!) it's fantastic. I love it! I can look up details on all sorts of random figures, from Louis XIII to Heidi Montag, or if I'm like "what's the deal with Darfur" or "where is montenegro?" voilĂ , I get the basics without getting up from my computer.