[Smt-talk] John McKay's views of Wikipedia

Daniel Harrison daniel.harrison at yale.edu
Thu Jul 21 14:04:06 PDT 2011

I want to commend John McKay on his recent smt-talk post on Wikipedia, 
and to draw attention to it for those of you interested in the history 
of theory. It's not only a detailed first-person account of the current 
state of knowledge creation on Wikipedia (esp. music topics), it also 
has links to "original documents," which makes it particularly valuable 
to historians. (I trust this post and the contents of its links will be 

That it's just one person's view is more than balanced by the links to 
documents, his history of involvement, and the reasonableness of his 
analysis. It rings true, as someone who has contributed modestly to 
Wikipedia myself.

Given how widely Wikipedia is used for quick knowledge acquisition by 
our students, our kids and relatives, even ourselves, and given 
continued development of online texts and the ultimate decline of paper 
as a mass media, a lot of interesting (history of) theory will be made 
there. Given its ephemerality, historians will have to catch and archive 
it on the fly.

Best wishes,
Dan Harrison
Yale University

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