Sunday, October 08, 2006

Encyclopaedias ... how long do their entries need to be???

This is one of these questions. When it comes to wikipedia many people immediately think about long articles about each topic. Considering the multitude of encyclopaedias you can find in a book shop one thing is obvious: entries can range from one sentence to full pages.

Now people often complain that the encyclopaedias of regional language's wikipedias do have many stubs and just some long articles - well: I would compare these to the kind of encyclopaedias that give you basic information on many topics in just one or two volumes. I would not compare them to the big ones like Britannica, Brockhaus etc.

Of course over time you will find single articles that get longer, others will remain short for a long time, but ... well ... does it really matter? I'd say no - because Wikipedia is not in concurrence with anyone to my opinion - people put us into a concurrence position, but we are not, because the way each language version is built and works is so unique.

Fact is: one can only write about what he/she knows or translate ... well being a professional translator I really avoid to translate also in my free-time if I don't have to. Not having much time to contribute I normally care about the almanac + some stubs related to the almanac ... much more is not possible (see the main page of the Neapolitan wikipdia for the historical events I normally work on). Another thing I of course care about is notions on the city I live in and that in various languages.

Everyone of us editors have something particular they care about ... and I believe that is great - and it is exactly what wikipedia is about: collecting the knowledge of everybody and put it into one huge encyclopaedia.
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