Wikipedia edits revealed
What edits on Wikipedia have been made by people in congressional offices, the CIA and the Church of Scientology? A new online tool called WikiScanner reveals answers to such questions.
As the Web encyclopedia that anyone can edit, Wikipedia encourages participants to adopt online user names, but it also lets contributors be identified by their computers’ numeric Internet addresses.
Often that does not provide much of a cloak, such as when PCs in congressional offices were discovered to have been involved in Wikipedia entries trashing political rivals.
Those episodes inspired Virgil Griffith, a computer scientist about to enter grad school at CalTech, to automate the process with WikiScanner. (It’s at http://wikiscanner.virgil.gr but intense attention has knocked it out of service many times recently.)
Reference desk created
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana University and the human-powered Internet search engine ChaCha are partnering to create a one-stop virtual reference desk that connects students with an array of experts and other help.
They will debut a Web-based search platform this semester allowing students, faculty and others to look for information using a machine-based search that marks the results recommended by IU experts. Visitors who need help finding information or refining their search can chat online with an expert in real time.
ChaCha Search Inc. hires humans to supplement the automated search results with customized research. For the IU version of ChaCha, the initial experts will primarily be the university’s librarians and information-technology staff; they won’t automatically become part of ChaCha’s search service for the general public.
“We’re experimenting with some of the cool things we can do when we apply human intelligence to all that’s the best of the university’s Internet,” said ChaCha co-founder Scott Jones, an IU graduate.