Wednesday, September 13, 2006

wikipedia and barbie

Wikipedia is continuing to grow exponentially, both challenging and exciting us. I have just been reading about Barbie. If you haven't had a look, you should. An amazingly comprehensive overview of her development, evolutions and make-overs and her cultural impact. Did you know, for instance, that she has been both a palentologist and tourist in her time (as well as, of course, astronaut, vet, rock star and firefighter)??

There's a lot to be said for the power of wikis to enable collaborative work across space and place.

And a further note on Barbie - the amazing Simon Tyszko has Suicide Bomber Barbie depicted on his site - more evidence of the way this iconic doll is hijacked as a mechanism to critically reflect on key contemporary issues.

Project Gutenburg

Project Gutenburg was the "first and largest single collection of free electronic books, or eBooks. Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, invented eBooks in 1971 and continues to inspire the creation of eBooks and related technologies today". While there are issues about copyright and public domain (you might have noticed that most of the material available could be described as 'classic') it provides an amazing resource of print and audio.

A sample:
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes adventure, The Valley of Fear, is available as an audio file as well as text. Listen and enjoy.

If you are really excited by the prospect of this growing public collection of classic works and want to contribute in some way, you can volunteer to become a proof reader.