Jimmy Wales, the man behind Wikipedia has decided to launch a search engine. In a move reminiscent of the Open Directory Project, Wikia Search will be human edited. Beyond that, not much is known, but it will be. One of the core philosophies, according to a recent interview with Jimmy is that everything should be as transparent as possible – definitely a long way from the current search engines.
Wikipedia is great. You can find out almost anything. The only criticisms of Wikipedia are strenuous at best and tend to either be: a) It’s unreliable (you shouldn’t use a single source anyway – that’s why Wikipedia articles are supposed to cite references) or b) It’s somehow elitist or a “members only club” – a view often held by banned users.
One of its oldest sister projects, Wiktionary on the other hand is not so good. I think it’s a marvelous idea that should be done and should definitely continue, but at the moment it is frankly a mess.
In case you don’t know what it is, it’s an attempt to create a free multilingual dictionary in every language. That is not a tautology – I’m emphasising the fact that it aims to translate from every language to every other language. That is the English version will contain every single word in every language with definitions and details in English. The German version will do the same but with definitions and details in German. And so on for every other language. Of course for some languages there will never be enough editors (English probably has the most and that’s nowhere near complete).
Ambitious. Possibly too ambitious. The number of editors doesn’t seem to be as high as Wikipedia and editing is far less fun – there is far more grunt work to do with laying out tables, sorting out headings, getting links pointing to the right places. There are quite a few bots which can automate some of it, but it’s still a large and largely dull undertaking.
Why am I telling you this? I don’t know. Maybe just to encourage a couple more editors to jump on board 🙂