FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, October 03, 2005

Wikibooks and the Disruptive Power of Wikis

A while ago we reported on how more schools are moving their texts online. Now, Wikibooks is taking that concept to the next level, providing educational text from elementary to college levels in wiki format. In true wiki form, anyone can edit the textbooks in Wikibooks.

Just as blogs are disrupting news media, could wikis have the same effect on the publishing industry? Not only can wikis be set up very easily and, in may cases, for free, but they create an entirely new paradigm by allowing for public editing of content. On the surface, wikis fly in the face of the fundamental principles of the written word: permanence, an historical record, a singular source of authority, and not the very least, copyright. Wikis are still in their infancy, but if they are embraced the way blogs have been, they could radically change the way we think about written material of all types.