[LINK] new use for wikipedia -- writing books
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Thu Jun 25 09:21:44 EST 2009
from: Fwd: Publishers Lunch
Free Indeed; Anderson's New Book Lifts Numerous Passages from Wikipedia
The Virginia Quarterly Review convincingly reproduces a number of
incidences in Chris Anderson's new book FREE: The Future of a Radical
Price that reproduce nearly verbatim portions of a number of
Anderson admits fault via e-mail, saying "all those are my screwups
after we decided not to run notes as planned, due to my inability to
find a good citation format for web sources." He intended to "do a
write-through" of "source material without an individual author to
credit (as in the case of Wikipedia)," and says that "obviously in my
rush at the end I missed a few of that last category, which is
bad.... I should have had a better process to make sure the
write-through covered all the text that was not directly sourced.
"I think what we'll do is publish those notes after all, online as
they should have been to begin with. That way the links are live and
we don't have to wrestle with how to freeze them in time, which is
what threw me in the first place."
As you can imagine, Hyperion supports Anderson's statement: "We are
completely satisfied with Chris Anderson's response. It was an
unfortunate mistake, and we are working with the author to correct
these errors both in the electronic edition before it posts, and in
all future editions of the book."
But Fast Company observes: "What's more disconcerting is that
Anderson was relying so heavily on Wikipedia for his information in
the first place; even middle-school book-reports shouldn't be crafted
with ancillary information from that site. Confoundingly, many of the
passages that appear lifted were readily-available definitions of
terms that would appear in more credible reference books like the
Oxford English Dictionary."
Subsequently, Ed Champion finds and
about various other lightly rewritten or borrowed phrasings from
other sources (including a passage from a book by Wired colleague
Kevin Kelly). "A cursory plunge into the book's contents reveals that
Anderson has not only cribbed material from Wikipedia and websites
(sometimes without accreditation), but that he has a troubling habit
of mentioning a book or an author and using this as an excuse to
reproduce the content with very few changes -- in some cases, nearly verbatim."
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer
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