One interesting week news is that Pluto isn’t a planet anymore. It is now called Dwarf Planet. But what it have to do with technology? Well, while in Wikipedia, the article of the ex-planet was modified some hours after the official announcement made by IAU, normal school books will only be updated just in… 2008.
The power of contribution:
For those who don’t know, Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, where people contribute with information. The essence of it is the interaction between users and their contributions, for making all content. In a regular encyclopedia, each article is submitted to some famous specialists for then defining if it will be published or not. In Wikipedia any one can modify articles. Apparently this could cause the chaos, but the fact of thousands of people interacting and making feedback, lead the content, if not correct, very close to this.
The aggregated knowledge of each one who contributes with articles makes it a virtual encyclopedias as good (or better) as the printed ones. The Nature Magazine made a study which detected an average of 4 mistakes for each wikipedia’s article, against 3 in Encyclopaedia Britannica. With a differential, after the mistakes are find, the online community corrected them, while in Britannica, it may take several months or even years.
Books are dead?
No, not yet. Books still make an important role in the modern world, where information is everything and everywhere. The big problem is to find the information when needed. Some online stores as Amazon have an advanced system to find words inside books, and Google have a running project to digitalizes books, making easier to find information on its inner for everyone. That forgotten book with the information you are looking for wont be left on the dusty bookshelf anymore. But even with this digitalizing process, the information of the change of Pluto into Dwarf Planet won’t be updated.