Ewan McIntosh has some interesting smippets on his blog today from the online Information Conference. He main speaker was Jimmy Wales – founder of Wikimedia (yep, wikipedia and all that).

If you like the quotes have a look at Ewans Blog for the full detail. (don’t forget to roll back to Dec 4th 2007 if you read this late)

Some quotes:

Charles Van Doren, in 1962, said: "The ideal encyclopedia should be radical. It should stop being safe."

About 40 years later it’s costing about $1m last year, $2-3m this year, to run Wikimedia, a tiny financial drop in the ocean when you consider the impact that its encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has had: it’s the 8th most popular site in the world (even in Iran, not the first country to come to mind for the freedom of its information, it comes in at 14).

Jimmy has travelled to these places (3rd world), trying to find nodes, or ’fathers’ and ’mothers’, who can work day in and day out to create content, build community, take ownership of their pages. These five or ten people then go out, thinking about their own connections to find nodes, and help build expertise in editing and managing Wikipedia, and achieving something for the good of everyone in their communities.

Who would the potential ’mothers’ or ’fathers’ in your community be? Could you set up an ’Academy’ to get these nodes working for the good of the community?

(the idea of editing wikipedia as a community service?).

Think of the last restaurant you went to. Did you have a knife on the table? Did you know that knives can do real harm if they are used to stab people? Have you seen our new restaurant? We keep each customer in his or her own cage, so that no harm under any circumstances can be done to others.

You wouldn’t expect that, would you? We have common rules and consequences for stabbing each other in restaurants, and they work.

Why would you expect individual cages in your institution when it comes to using Wikipedia?

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