Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Friday, June 24, 2005

A new API; Chinese gov. draws on Wikipedia

2 interesting news items.

1. There's going to be a generalized webservice API for wikipedia (awesome! and about bloody time) -- this is buried in a less important news story about new integration between Wikipedia and KDE, a desktop environment for Linux.

2. China's state-run Xinhua news agency (wikipedia article) is reporting on a new project that will "allow the public to input and edit all the historical documents dating from ancient times through 1911 when the Republic of China was founded."

"'The operation will be similar to the Wikipedia,' a popular Web-based free content encyclopedia written by volunteers, said organizer Lu Jun, president of the China Culture Research Society."

Hard to tell exactly what's going on here -- the documents already exist, and are presumably of historical significance; why should they be publicly edited? Are people just going to be cleaning up after the scanning process? Or will the documents (perhaps they're old histories themselves) be starting points for a more thoughrough, modern analysis, like public domain documents form the foundation of some wikipdedia entries? Or will there be a lack of public editing, or forced "volenteers", and the Chinese gov. is just using "wikipedia" as a buzzword? (It's worth mentioning that there's already a Chinese-language wikipedia with over 10,000 articles.)

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