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The story behind a Wikipedia entry


James Bridle founded a Web site called Booktwo in September 2006 to “investigate, analyze, catalog and debate the future of literature and the publishing industry.” Over the years the site has been home to some interesting debates over literature and its transition from paper to screens, reports The New York Times. In a post on Monday, Mr. Bridle talked about Wikipedia and the lack of understanding readers have about the backstory of each entry on the Web site. Mr. Bridle picked Wikipedia for this discussion because he notes that the site offers a “historiography” — a thorough look at the history of each edit. Every change is constantly documented and archived. His essay points out that although an article on Wikipedia may tell a specific story, the edits show a process that involves the opinions and biases of each writer. In this respect, Wikipedia, and in some instances other continually changing Web sites online, offer two stories: one that is front-facing to the reader and one that shows the behind-the-scenes editing, writing and creative process. To help illustrate the point, Mr. Bridle took the entry on the Iraq War and made physical books that illustrate the incredible discussion taking place in the background.

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Denny Carter

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