Knol’s fair in love and wiki’s

pen point

If you haven’t already heard of the proposed knowledge base by the folks at Google, you may want to take a look at their blog site.  From their Dec. 13th posting, their main goal is outlined:

The web contains an enormous amount of information, and Google has helped to make that information more easily accessible by providing pretty good search facilities. But not everything is written nor is everything well organized to make it easily discoverable. There are millions of people who possess useful knowledge that they would love to share, and there are billions of people who can benefit from it. We believe that many do not share that knowledge today simply because it is not easy enough to do that. The challenge posed to us by Larry, Sergey and Eric was to find a way to help people share their knowledge. This is our main goal.

I think this will be an interesting endeavor and should stir up the pot of authorship and the web even further.  At first it seems like Wikipedia with celebrity authors, but the main selling point is that the authority of an article belongs to the “highlighted” author.  Though Wikipedia articles have the screen names of their editors in their histories, the Knol project will make that author known up front and without question.

I guess this may be a chance for students to start using a Wikipedia-like information source, without worrying about the authority of the author.  I must admit that the presentation is much easier on the eyes, from a design standpoint, but hasn’t added much to the mix.  I did prefer the Know citation section, as it is much easier to read and makes backtracking the citations that much easier.

I am curious to see how they intend to tackle the selection of authors.  Invites are hard to come by during this beta phase, so maybe the end result will be a bit easier to grasp.

I would love to see how well their other information sources will interact with this resource.  Imagine searching for a topic and being given not only the Knol entry, but any results in Google Scholar, Google Books, Photos, Movies, Patents, or even openly shared Google Docs.  I just hope their “machine” can learn semantic association before I am getting questionable videos in my search for an article on “nude mole-rats.”  Not that I am into that kind of thing…

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