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The World and Wikipedia: How We are Editing Reality Hardcover – 25 Sep 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Siduri Books (25 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956205208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956205209
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,298,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'A meticulous and judicious examination of the way [Wikipedia] is put together. An extraordinary world is unveiled...' --Evening Standard, October 22, 2009

From the Publisher

In a world increasingly shaped by the desire for instant gratification, which now extends beyond mere rampant consumerism into the realm of information, Wikipedia is king. Andrew Dalby's timely book looks beyond the hype of mass collaboration and exposes this phenomenon for what it really is and what it means for all of us - for better and for worse.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Kladakis on 3 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Like many web users, I use wikipedia almost accidentally; like many web users, I know why I shouldn't trust it. Or at least I did until reading Dalby's fascinating book. As an editor and administrator of wikipedia, one might expect a glowing tale of its merits, however Dalby manages to show both arguements very convincingly. This book made me look again at the world's largest encyclopedia with renewed interest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Dalby VINE VOICE on 31 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First I have to say that I am not that Andrew Dalby - although that was part of the reason for buying it. I am a wikpedia contributor like the author and so I was interested in seeing another person's experiences.

The book starts by describing the work of a wikipedia before giving a history to the project and then chapters that put wikipedia into context. Chapters look at wikipedia's strengths and weaknesses by looking at actual events in almost forensic detail. This is both a strngth an a weakness of the book. While it is very carefully researched and cited this does not make it very easy to read and also does not make the arguments stand out from the evidence. This could have been helped by an improved layout of the book - more white space and the use of subheadings.

This is very much a warts and all view of wikipedia, showing that it does not always get it write both with the facts and the policies but it also highlights that often when it gets things wrong, it is not the fault of wikipedia but of the hacks who are trying to use it for their own gains (politicians are particularly guilty of this). One of the policies that frustrates the author (and me) is the No Original Research policy which means that often references have to be secondary texts when primary resources would be better. So while he is optimistic about the future of wikipedia it is not an unreserved endorsement.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This book made me think again 1 Nov. 2009
By K. Kladakis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Like many web users, I use wikipedia almost accidentally; like many web users, I know why I shouldn't trust it. Or at least I did until reading Dalby's fascinating book. As an editor and administrator of wikipedia, one might expect a glowing tale of its merits, however Dalby manages to show both arguements very convincingly. This book made me look again at the world's largest encyclopedia with renewed interest.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An Illuminating Read 17 Dec. 2009
By A. Flavell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
To anyone searching for information on the internet, Wikipedia frequently appears as the first hit. Andrew Dalby explains why this is in his illuminating book. He also puts Wikipedia in context by giving a brief history of published encyclopedias. From his detailed knowledge of its workings, Dalby is very much a Wikipedia insider, but his analysis of its successes and failures is both perceptive and well balanced. The book is impressively thorough and written in an engagingly informal style. While not intended as a work of scholarship, the narrative is well researched and documented, and the arguments are persuasive. Dalby is a passionate supporter of Wikipedia's multiple language-based versions: not only does this make it a truly worldwide resource, but the existence of sites in minority languages is a means of preserving them. The book deserves careful reading, and it gave me an insight into the both the workings of this popular website and also the way in which the internet is developing. The conclusion is that Wikipedia is far from perfect -- but there are flaws in conventional encylopedias too -- and its imperfections reflect those of the world outside.
4 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Self-published, but engaging 10 Nov. 2009
By G. Kohs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I had read enough of the excerpts and independent criticism of this book to begin to form my own opinion about it. According to others, it is not an objective look at Wikipedia, it is yet another song-and-dance about Wikipedia.

The book is the first imprint of Siduri Books. One of the principals of Siduri is liz@siduri.co.uk. She has posted elsewhere on the Internet to promote this book. In at least one such post she also included a phone number. That phone number belongs to Liz Dalby, whom we have to assume is related to the author. I agree with other critics who believe that Siduri Books was created solely to promote this book. Some have opined that real publishers are not interested in Dalby's book because it is unworthy of traditional publication.

However, I was given the book recently as a belated birthday gift, and I've gotten past the first 4 or 5 pages thus far, and I can say that the writing style is at least breezily engaging, which I do appreciate. Thus, I am modifying my rating here to 3 stars, and I'll check back in once I've completed the book.
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