More from the Department of Missing the Point Utterly

A big ol’ tip of the hat to Inkless Wells, from whom I less-than-subtly borrowed the title of this entry.

So this isn’t the newest of news but it seems that German publisher Bertelsmann AG is putting out a printed version of the most popular 50,000 German-language entries. CBC has the details here.

My first reaction was ‘huh, that seems dumb,’ but given that such sentiment is hardly insightful or blogworthy I was prepared to leave it at that. But then I heard one of the Wikipedia keepers, Kul Wadhwa, on CBC Radio’s As It Happens tonight. Granted, I didn’t hear the entire interview but what I heard made me roll my eyes

Now, I am paraphrasing here but I will put it in script format for dramatic effect:

CBC’s Carol Off: Why are you creating a printed version of an encyclopedia that prides itself on constantly evolving and improving.

Wikipedia Guy: Well, part of our mandate is to ensure the free spread of information to people who may not otherwise have access to it.

CCO: So the book will be free?

WG: Well, no.

He later explained that the publisher had agreed to leave the content free, so anyone buys the book can use the info free of charge, but I think that’s a rather silly point. How many of us have paid royalties to the fine folks at Britannica.

At the risk of being all judgmental and cynical, me thinks this publisher is looking to cash in on the wiki-hype and the Wikipedia folks see a chance to stick one more feather in the ol’ credibility cap. “See, people trust our information so much they are willing to publish it!”

Oh yea, except that Wikipedia Guy also admitted that the publisher has fact checkers going over the information that is to be published.

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