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DailyWiki: A Wikipedia Content Delivery Model

Wikipedia2Like millions of others, I use the Wikipedia pretty regularly.  It's an excellent resource to confirm a fact or learn about something new.  My only real complaint is that there's often too much information there, or at least too much to take in at one time.

Here's a good example: After reading a couple of outstanding books over the past year or two, I'm suddenly interested in learning as much as I can about World War II.  The Wikipedia is a great starting point; after all, look at all the WWII content it has to offer.  I can't possibly read all that, including the dozens and dozens of links off that page, in one sitting.

That got me thinking...  The DailyLit model is a clever way to read a book on a cellphone, a Blackberry or other device, one small chunk at a time.  Wouldn't it be cool if DailyLit (or some other enterprising person/organization) would add a Wikipedia content service to their site?  Hundreds if not thousands of categories could be configured and bite-size pieces of that content would show up in your e-mail in-box, ready to be read on your handheld device.

Keep in mind that the Wikipedia's contents are made available through the GNU Free Documentation License, which states that anyone has the "freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially."  Because of the "copyleft" approach used, "derivative works of the document must themselves be free in the same sense."  So that means if someone were to use the Wikipedia content for something like this, they could charge for the service, but they'd have to make the resulting content available under the same terms (e.g., they wouldn't own it exclusively).

DailyLit already has the infrastructure in place.  All they'd have to do is create the categories and then have their editors "chunkify" the relevant Wikipedia articles so they can be served up like all the other products they currently offer.

I don't know about you, but I'd sign up for an annual subscription for something like this.  It might only be $20 or $30 per year, but it would be worth every penny, assuming it allows me to sign up for any number of topical feeds throughout the year.  Maybe I'd finally learn all the facts about World War II, and I could do it while standing in line at the grocery store or while waiting for a meeting to start!

P.S. -- The Kindle already offers Wikipedia access...  Perhaps Amazon would consider adding this functionality to it down the road.

Comments

Tracy

Joe - I recommend not using Wikipedia to "confirm" a fact. Rather... if you do research on Wikipedia, you ought to use other, more reliable sources to confirm what you've found there. While Wikipedia is a great resource, there are MANY inaccuracies there, so it should not be relied upon as a primary source.

Joe Wikert

Hi Tracy. I wondered whether the "fact" reference would strike a nerve with someone, and it did! I've read a number of summaries that compare the Wikipedia to other sources, primarily print encyclopedias, and all I can say is the 100% error-free reference site/encyclopedia has not yet been invented. Seriously, some reports point out, as you do, that the Wikipedia has its share of errors while others suggest that on a per article basis, the Wikipedia tends to have fewer errors than a print encyclopedia.

The best bet is to have more than one source, which I think is part of what you were advising. The chance of both independent sources being wrong is pretty tiny...unless one mistakenly copied from the other...

Constance

I realize you are a non fiction kind of guy but I think you should read some WEB Griffin. I suggest beginning with The Lieutenants, Brotherhood of War or Semper Fi, The Corps. I started reading these when I was at Berkley and became totally addicted.

Michael Josefowicz

Sign me up. Very cool idea.

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