Sunday, April 20, 2008

Wikipedia Scanner

I learned tonight (reading on Wired) about Wikipedia scanner which lets you look for Wikipedia posts by organization name. I understand Virgil Griffith (a Caltech grad student) hosts a database of Wikipedia edits by IP, date, topic, comments, etc., including the reverse DNS lookup info for all the IPs from which the edits originated. The site is set up so you can enter an organization name (e.g. Microsoft or Department of Energy) and see what topics someone from those organizations contributed to or commented on, and it then provides specific edits in Wikipedia "diff" form. It can be politically touchy- I guess that's in part why it was set up- to see what organizations are putting shameless spin on what topics. Wired hosts a crowd-sourced "salacious edits" collection that is fun to peruse or contribute to.

This is a great example of combining two distinct sources of public information to make the information much more useful and interesting. Equally interesting would be the Wikipedia scanner's own collection of what IPs and organizations are reviewing what Wikipedia posts...

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