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Wikipedia founder to lead Australian ICT debate

Wikipedia founder to lead Australian ICT debate

Who has the knowledge in today's global community?

Jimmy Wales, the founder of online encyclopaedia Wikipedia will visit Australia next month to lead a debate on knowledge and information in the 21st century.

In his first trip to Australia, Wales will take part in a government-funded seminar series dubbed 'Challenging How Knowledge is Created'.

Announcing details of the seminar series, education.au CEO Greg Black, said Wales is at the frontline of the democratization of knowledge.

"We're expecting his visit to spark significant debate about the way knowledge and information is shared now that we can all play a part in its creation," Black said.

"It's a subject that has enormous implications for nations, governments, education institutions and schools."

Issues to be covered in his presentation include the culture of online communities and implications for education, opportunities for collaborative learning in a globally connected world, and if content can be created and distributed cheaply what is the future for entrepreneurs?

Wikipedia is an extremely popular online resource with the total number of English-language entries now standing at more than 1.6 million on issues ranging from world history to nanotechnology.

Launched in 2001, Wikipedia is the 12th most visited Web site in the world, and the 10th in Australia.

It has spawned identical sites in more than 250 languages, from French to Chinese with each of its language versions being written and edited by online enthusiasts.

The distinctive way Wikipedia constructs content has also attracted debate, amid concerns about accuracy, fraud, vandalism, systemic bias and thoroughness.

However, as Wikipedia has continued to increase in popularity, it has been able to maintain its original mission and promote a level of knowledge transparency.

Wales believes this collaborative model of content production has provided Wikipedia with a competitive advantage in a new online global economy.

Asked to describe his mission and Wales simply states: "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing."

The seminars will be held in Adelaide (April 23), Perth (April 24), Sydney (April 26) and Melbourne (April 27).

More information is available at www.educationau.edu.au/seminar/challenging


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