Tagged With wikis

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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One of the tried and true best ways to study and retain information is to re-write the content - whether it be lecture notes, textbook facts and figures, or whatever - down again on paper. We can do one better than that, can't we?

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If you're a frequent surfer of the mass-edited encyclopedia, now would be a good time to register for a user account. With it, you can enable Wikipedia's new beta skin/theme, which gives a slicker feel to reading and editing.

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Since opening up last July, Google's Wikipedia competitor Knol has attracted more than 100,000 entries. While that's an impressive number, it's well and truly dwarfed by Wikipedia's 2.7 million English-language articles. And while Knol's "moderated edits" model might mean that there are fewer visible edit wars, there are still plenty of unsourced, rambling and opinionated articles which wouldn't survive five minutes at Wikipedia (check out superman of calculated happiness for just one example).

100,000th Knol published

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Google's recently launched Wikipedia competitor Knol has just updated its search functionality (yeah, you'd think that's one area Google would have covered off right from the start). While the full set of Google keywords isn't yet supported, you can now do searches for exact phrases and OR options, select which parts of a given article to search through, and sort results on a variety of parameters.

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Following a restricted beta which began last December, Google has made its Wikipedia competitor Knol open for general use. While Knol borrows the general concept of "anyone can contribute" common to most wiki projects, it has a slight twist, as Google's software engineers explain:

With Knol, we are introducing a new method for authors to work together that we call "moderated collaboration." With this feature, any reader can make suggested edits to a knol which the author may then choose to accept, reject, or modify before these contributions become visible to the public. This allows authors to accept suggestions from everyone in the world while remaining in control of their content. After all, their name is associated with it!

Knol is free to use, requires a Google account to sign in.

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Web app Twine (currently in closed beta) attempts to bring social search and bookmarking tools to the wiki, which sounds like an interesting combination. The app offers personal or group knowledge management for sharing, organising and searching for information, includng bookmarks, images and videos.

Web Worker Daily wrote about Twine the other day, and described it like so:

"A 'twine' is similar to a wiki, in that it may be specific to a certain subject or project, can have multiple members, allows for permission-based updating, and supports moderation. You tag the content you add to Twine, but the twist is that it tags your content too, by using natural language processing to figure out what it’s about."

Twine is in private beta at the moment. However, I got in touch with Twine PR to find out if it would be a free or paid app. The word came back that Twine will always offer a free (ad-supported) basic version, as well as a subscription-based professional version. Good stuff.

 Twine for Personal Knowledge Managment but Not Yet 

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 This one will be of interest to legal eagles and those too cheap to shell out for a lawyer in the flesh. A not-for-profit LegalWiki has been set up to be Australia's first free online legal encyclopedia. As with Wikipedia, peer review is expected to keep the information accurate, but it will be up to contributors to flesh out the project, which has been online for about three months.

The writeup of the Wiki in the Financial Review noted that the sections on shareholder rights, prospectuses and the management of companies on the corporation law page were as yet empty.

It could well develop into an excellent resource - the founders are seeking a grant to maintain it and their information page says they hope that legal professionals contributing to the Wiki can qualify for CDP (Continuing Professional Development points), which would encourage participation from the profession.

Wikis and the Law