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Wikipedia U: Knowledge, Authority, and…
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Wikipedia U: Knowledge, Authority, and Liberal Education in the Digital…

by Thomas Leitch

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Given that the focus of this book was the nature of authority, I think that organizing it as though the main focus was Wikipedia did the book a disservice. For example, one of the first topics of the book is on the origins of Wikipedia. This is a topic I'm very curious about, but the discussion here was so theoretical, I didn't feel I learned much. There were a lot of digressions into the history of computers, the history of dictionaries, etc, which were only necessary so the author could make some abstract points about the nature of authority. These points weren't very clear or well organized because the whole chapter was divided based on different aspects of Wikipedia, instead of based on different points the author was trying to make about authority.

Like Generic, this is a John Hopkins University Press book, so I did expect it to be academic and wouldn't knock it too much for simply being dry. Unfortunately, the whole book was a poorly organized mishmash of entertaining stories and abstract discussion of authority. There were also some academic errors, including conclusions I found illogical and injections of the author's political views without supporting citations. As a result, I don't think this book was a success as either an entertaining read or as a well thought out scholarly work.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Feb 6, 2015 |
Given that the focus of this book was the nature of authority, I think that organizing it as though the main focus was Wikipedia did the book a disservice. For example, one of the first topics of the book is on the origins of Wikipedia. This is a topic I'm very curious about, but the discussion here was so theoretical, I didn't feel I learned much. There were a lot of digressions into the history of computers, the history of dictionaries, etc, which were only necessary so the author could make some abstract points about the nature of authority. These points weren't very clear or well organized because the whole chapter was divided based on different aspects of Wikipedia, instead of based on different points the author was trying to make about authority.

Like Generic, this is a John Hopkins University Press book, so I did expect it to be academic and wouldn't knock it too much for simply being dry. Unfortunately, the whole book was a poorly organized mishmash of entertaining stories and abstract discussion of authority. There were also some academic errors, including conclusions I found illogical and injections of the author's political views without supporting citations. As a result, I don't think this book was a success as either an entertaining read or as a well thought out scholarly work.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Feb 6, 2015 |
Given that the focus of this book was the nature of authority, I think that organizing it as though the main focus was Wikipedia did the book a disservice. For example, one of the first topics of the book is on the origins of Wikipedia. This is a topic I'm very curious about, but the discussion here was so theoretical, I didn't feel I learned much. There were a lot of digressions into the history of computers, the history of dictionaries, etc, which were only necessary so the author could make some abstract points about the nature of authority. These points weren't very clear or well organized because the whole chapter was divided based on different aspects of Wikipedia, instead of based on different points the author was trying to make about authority.

Like Generic, this is a John Hopkins University Press book, so I did expect it to be academic and wouldn't knock it too much for simply being dry. Unfortunately, the whole book was a poorly organized mishmash of entertaining stories and abstract discussion of authority. There were also some academic errors, including conclusions I found illogical and injections of the author's political views without supporting citations. As a result, I don't think this book was a success as either an entertaining read or as a well thought out scholarly work.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Feb 6, 2015 |
Given that the focus of this book was the nature of authority, I think that organizing it as though the main focus was Wikipedia did the book a disservice. For example, one of the first topics of the book is on the origins of Wikipedia. This is a topic I'm very curious about, but the discussion here was so theoretical, I didn't feel I learned much. There were a lot of digressions into the history of computers, the history of dictionaries, etc, which were only necessary so the author could make some abstract points about the nature of authority. These points weren't very clear or well organized because the whole chapter was divided based on different aspects of Wikipedia, instead of based on different points the author was trying to make about authority.

Like Generic, this is a John Hopkins University Press book, so I did expect it to be academic and wouldn't knock it too much for simply being dry. Unfortunately, the whole book was a poorly organized mishmash of entertaining stories and abstract discussion of authority. There were also some academic errors, including conclusions I found illogical and injections of the author's political views without supporting citations. As a result, I don't think this book was a success as either an entertaining read or as a well thought out scholarly work.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Feb 6, 2015 |
Given that the focus of this book was the nature of authority, I think that organizing it as though the main focus was Wikipedia did the book a disservice. For example, one of the first topics of the book is on the origins of Wikipedia. This is a topic I'm very curious about, but the discussion here was so theoretical, I didn't feel I learned much. There were a lot of digressions into the history of computers, the history of dictionaries, etc, which were only necessary so the author could make some abstract points about the nature of authority. These points weren't very clear or well organized because the whole chapter was divided based on different aspects of Wikipedia, instead of based on different points the author was trying to make about authority.

Like Generic, this is a John Hopkins University Press book, so I did expect it to be academic and wouldn't knock it too much for simply being dry. Unfortunately, the whole book was a poorly organized mishmash of entertaining stories and abstract discussion of authority. There were also some academic errors, including conclusions I found illogical and injections of the author's political views without supporting citations. As a result, I don't think this book was a success as either an entertaining read or as a well thought out scholarly work.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Feb 6, 2015 |
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Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has been a lightning rod for debates about knowledge and traditional authority. It has come under particular scrutiny from publishers of print encyclopedias and college professors, who are skeptical about whether a crowd-sourced encyclopedia -- in which most entries are subject to potentially endless reviewing and editing by anonymous collaborators whose credentials cannot be established -- can ever truly be accurate or authoritative. Thomas Leitch argues that the assumptions these critics make about accuracy and authority are themselves open to debate. After all, academics are expected both to consult the latest research and to return to the earliest sources in their field, each of which has its own authority. And when teachers encourage students to master information so that they can question it independently, their ultimate goal is to create a new generation of thinkers and makers whose authority will ultimately supplant their own. It offers vital new lessons about the nature of authority and the opportunities and challenges of Web 2.0. Leitch regards Wikipedia as an ideal instrument for probing the central assumptions behind liberal education, making it more than merely, as one of its severest critics has charged, "the encyclopedia game, played online."… (more)

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