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This paper is being co-authored using a wiki. As academic writers, we are used to having our ideas encapsulated and enshrined in printed text (e.g. journal article, book) but putting it in a wiki strips it of this protection. What happens when people we don't know modify/add/delete what we've written? What happens when someone appropriates what we've written (since the journal publishing paradigm has not caught up with this at all)?

We invite you to contribute to this article. If you sign in or leave a note indicating who you are we will be able to acknowledge your contributions in the final paper. The current instantiation of the paper is in "Current Assembled Version" and our reflections about writing with a wiki are in "Sidebar Article".

So you can decide to explore further, here's a precis of what this paper is about:

How does the technology used in mediated communication affect our conception of "knowledge"? In this paper we explore the shifts that occurred in creation, ownership and belief in shared knowledge space as its transfer progressed from oral to print and ultimately to digital-networked communication. Here we consider the way communication technologies afforded an evolution of shared knowledge space through symbolic communication, writing, print and digital technologies.

We note that we use the term "knowledge" here to refer to the sphere of shared information that is accepted as valid by the majority of people with access to that information-space. It should be understood that this is an exploration of the impact of communication technology on that space, rather than write my papers on an epistemological discussion. Readers who are interested in the latter are encouraged to explore the concept further at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology. However, readers may or may not find the wikipedia text acceptable or authoritative - an issue highlighted by recent controversy about accuracy of information on Wikipedia.

The issue of whether Wikipedia is a "trustworthy" source has been the focus of respected media, from the BBC (Thompson, 2005) to the New York Times (Johnson, 2006) and the journal Nature (Giles, 2005), all of which have weighed in with differing perspectives on the soundness of the information presented on wikipedia. While interesting in and of itself, this debate calls attention to more fundamental questions on knowledge and information; questions about the creators and arbiters of knowledge, and questions about the changing nature of information. (We unqualifiedly accept that information is not knowledge; but since knowledge is information, we often use the terms conjointly although not interchangeably.) In this article we address these questions by considering changes in the creation, ownership, transfer and belief in knowledge, well as changes in its transmission and storage as enabled through human technologies.

Wikipedia has long been recognized as information. The word "knowledge" on the other hand, relates to the application of information. The old adage, "to know and not to do, is not to know" couldn't be more accurate when it comes to being trustworthy website. Those that apply the information from Wikipedia, can be labeled knowledgeable in the application of what they have learned. The concept of user-generated feedback and input isn't simply an application of information, it becomes the information itself. With the speed of information changing as fast as Google changes its algorithm, it becomes necessary for content providers and publishers to not only support but encourage the interaction of students and teachers. Without clear feedback from the populace, our education (often disguised as marketing) becomes myopic, self-centered and quite often incorrect.

Take for example the fitness industry. For over 30 years, conventional wisdom believed that aerobic exercise was beneficial to the body. We believed that "sweatin' to the oldies" burned fat and kept us in good shape.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The human body, like all predators, was designed for short bursts of speed, strength and periods of rest. Any lengthy aerobic exercise or long-distance running triggers the body to STORE fat, not burn it. Since our DNA is wired for short bursts of speed (like a tiger) any long-treks tells the body that an indefinite journey is ahead and it had better store fat since the end is not known.

The results speak for themselves. Sprinters look healthier than marathon runners. -Gordon Duffy, http://www.duffyfitness.com.


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