Examining Wikipedia Podcasting
It looks like Wikipedia has expanded its scope of operation beyond its traditional means of electronic prose to now include Wikipedia podcasting. For those not familiar with what podcasting refers to it is a downloadable form of "broadcasting' that can downloaded onto a personal computer's media player or on one of many different types of portable media players.
Considering the vast amount of information that Wikipedia provides in is webpages, this inclusion of an audio/video stream of information would definitely be a welcome addition to Wikipedia's content. However, before one can clearly understand how Wikipedia podcasting works one need to look at Wikipedia in a general overview. This will put Wikipedia podcasting in a much more clear context.
Wikipedia in Overview
Wikipedia remains a fairly controversial website and service although no one will deny that it represents a brilliant idea. Basically, instead of purchasing huge volumes of Encyclopedia that run from Volume A to Volume XYZ, you can simply access an online encyclopedia that is available for free. Also, instead of having to purchase new Encyclopedias year after year, Wikipedia is updated instantaneously online so it becomes an effective and cost saving means of doing online research.
Of course, Wikipedia (or wiki as it is commonly called) is notorious for its lack of editorial oversight and a great many number of entries are loaded with inaccuracies. However, many of the entries are entirely accurate and some of the criticism that is levied against the service is somewhat overstated. Problems with the service notwithstanding, the site has become wildly popular and it is not surprising that Wiki has opted to expand its content to include Wikipedia podcasting.
Wikipedia - Trailblazing in the New Media
It should come as no surprise that Wikipedia podcasting was developed considering that Wiki is essentially a trailblazer in the world of what is commonly called the new media. For those not familiar with the term new media, it refers to an expansion of the means of communication beyond the traditional print, electronic and broadcasting methods of the past.
After all, Wikipedia has essentially wiped out the traditional encyclopedia and replaced it with an electronic form so what should Wikipedia not expand the traditional means of reading an encyclopedia to include audio and video files? By doing this, Wikipedia podcasting makes the requisite information available to a larger audience than most people had assumed possible. As such, Wikipedia podcasting should be commended for the great innovations that it is responsible.