300 Knols Released

At long last 300 examples of ‘featured’ encyclopedic knols have been unveiled by Google (in late July 2008). The majority are on medical topics. Their authors are duly named and profiled. The first specimens look very impressive, but how fast can they multiply to become a true encyclopedia?

I chose to sample one of the five specially featured offerings, mainly because it was non-medical: ‘History of the Spanish Language’, by Professor David A. Pharies

http://knol.google.com/k/david-a-pharies/history-of-the-spanish-language/mvWu_PWJ/IXyV4Q#

This is listed as a “Closed Collaboration” but the facility to Review it (by other scholars) seems to be available. In addition readers are allowed to comment, after registering, but so far this has only attracted a few forum type congratulatory comments. Since commenters can get their photo published too, this should encourage too many readers to contribute unhelpful trivia. The interesting question is whether anyone will feel inclined to use the Comments section to offer small but potentially valuable contributions of constructive criticism or suggested additions.

Veremos.

The Contents

The very detailed treatment of the Spanish Language Myths show Professor Pharies’s special expertise in the phonetic development of Spanish.

Research works are either Cited or Suggested and the example of the professor’s recommendation of his own recent book (among the entries under Suggested Readings) as “the only true introduction to the history of Spanish available today” gives a further indication of the differences between this ambitious project and both Wikipedia and Citizendium.

Migraine sufferers are also in for a treat (and possibly some relief) with the excellent specially showcased Knol on that painful subject.

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