"Content is king, community is sovereign" these were the words left ringing in my ears from a keynote given by Stephen Heppell back in 2002. At that time one of the most well known community sites Wikipedia was in its infancy. Since then Wikipedia has flourished and with over 2.5 million articles (in English) making the job or door-to-door encyclopedia sales increasingly difficult. A similar concept is being used in the WikiVet project, designed to be the most comprehensive knowledge base for veterinary students.
WikiVet, a partnership between the Higher Education Academy, JISC and UK veterinary schools, plans to cover the entire vet curriculum from pathology to physiology. They already have a wealth of information including images, videos, case simulators, interactive PowerPoints, flashcards and more. Unlike Wikipedia, content is peer reviewed by subject specialists and access to view or edit is restricted to the vet community.
Interestingly the current contents of the site has not only been generated by academics at different vet schools but also by students. This project, while only officially launched today (9th October), has already received commitment from other European veterinary schools and interest from schools in the US.
Will the vet community continue to add to this resource. If Wikipedia’s predecessor Nupedia is anything to go by which had a similar peer review process it might be a challenge. However, considering the existing content in WikiVet it already looks a valuable resource.
WikiVet is available for general review for one month. Login ‘launch’ and password ‘press’.
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Sorry to pop up with a correction – I enjoyed the blog entry heaps, but as a mass of YouTube videos and much writing will confirm what I consistently say is that: “Content is no longer king, but community may be sovereign”. And I’ve been saying it for more than a decade. The “may be” bit has probably past now.
It is not that we don’t need content of course – we do, and it matters – it’s just that there is now so much good content out there that it it is not scarce – and universities who think just popping their lectures and pdfs of lecture notes up online is enough will be disappointed by the lack of engagement. Enough companies went to the wall in the dot com boom by thinking that content was king (all those portals and learning objects etc) that I’m sure the point is already confirmed. Have a loo at Photosynth as an example of what happens (and is good) when content becomes a “free good”.
Thanks Stephen for the correction. I was going to check the quote from my original notes but that notebook is in a box somewhere (won’t happen again now that I’m a digital notetaker)
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