Wikipedia changes our perception of knowledge

On: September 21, 2009
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About Suzanne Schram
I am Suzanne Schram. I have a Bachelor degree in Literature and I have done the Master Book and Digital Media Studies, both in Leiden.


Wikipedia differs greatly with the traditional encyclopedia. Examples of aspects of differentiation:

· Broader public: knowledge is for everyone.
· Authority: everyone can write for Wikipedia.
· Broader range of subjects: everyone can decide what is important to be included in Wikipedia. There is no limit on the size of Wikipedia.

Wikipedia can be accessed by everyone who has access to a computer. The access is free whereas a traditional encyclopedia could be expensive. This difference comes to expression in the style of writing. Wikipedia is often easier accessible than most traditional encyclopedia. Everyone can write an entry for Wikipedia so the people collectively decide what information is important to know. Whereas traditional encyclopedias copied other known encyclopedias. 

Some examples to illustrate the discrepancy in subject matter:

· In a traditional encyclopedia there is an entry about the goddess Minerva but there is no entry about the student fraternity LSV Minerva. In Wikipedia there are many entries about student fraternities.
· In a traditional encyclopedia there are in general objective entries. In Wikipedia there are examples of entries that can be seen as a marketing tool such as the entry about pop-tarts.
· In a traditional encyclopedia there are entries about famous artists such as the Beatles but there won’t be en entry about a local band.

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