The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

Date: 4/29/2007

Mark Bell’s Textual Analysis and Comparison Of The Encyclopedia Britanica and Wikipedia

Mark’s thesis looks worth reading (see brief bit below) and his bibliography is very nice.


For my thesis, I took four articles and compared them; two from EB and two from Wikipedia. With the help of my committee, I choose “Communism” and “Dwight D. Eisenhower”. Since I wanted to compare similar things, I used the online version of the EB articles. After downloading the articles, I removed any auxiliary text that was not part of the article and compared the EB article to the WP article. I wanted to see what differences there were between EB and WP at the basic building block levels. Once I had the articles cleaned up, I ran a number of readability tests, word count tests and grammatical comparisons. Readability tests count things like the number of words in sentences and syllables per word to get an idea of the grade level needed to read the text. I also compared numbers of nouns and verbs in each article and noun and verb phrases. I wanted to see if either encyclopedia had a more nominal (definitional) or verbal (function) nature to the language. I was also interested in how EB and WP constructed statements of facts and values. I thought in these areas I may find significant differences.


After comparing EB and WP with these measures, I really found no significant difference. The readability scores were less than a grade level apart. The numbers of nouns and verbs were roughly the same and the articles had similar statements of facts and values. Now, I would like to say this shows the collective system of WP writes in the same way as the expert-driven EB but looking at so few articles my results are a bit tainted. For these particular articles, I can say the collective writes in a similar way as the EB authors an editors.

twitter, twitterific, post-it-to-twitter

Well you sure don’t look human, said the man.
But that doesn’t make me a fluid, twittered the ape.
– Russell Edson in “Ape and Coffee”

I’ve been twittering for a while now. At first, I limited my twitter friends to only a couple. Then Twitter wasn’t well integrated into Adium or much else. I didn’t want to spend my time going to one more social site except for notes from actual friends (okay, John Edwards too but then he asked first and he is a pretty good twitterer unlike Obama whose first tweet Fred disses).

Then SXSW happened. Twitter had a major rollout/PR push there. I wasn’t there but a lot of folks there started twittering me and friending me and twitter made more sense.

Even more useful was Fred’s article “The 12 Minute Definitive Guide to Twitter.” There I discovered Twitterific which links your tweets to Adium and is itself a very nice constantly updating collector of tweets.

Finally Twitter was easy and useful. If you manage your friend list.

And if you want yet another news flow, you can make a twittering news site like CNet your friend.

Since then new twitter friend and musician Robbie Link put me onto the insanely simple to use “post it to twitter” add-on to the Firefox search box. This makes posting a tweet as simple as typing in the search box once that feature is selected. The downside is that it doesn’t collect tweets — you go to your Twitter home page for that — and it doesn’t update your Instant Messenger status. So I’m sticking with Twitterific for most of my tweeting.

Jason Griffy tweets that Google’s free Teletwitter (Windoz only) looks a lot like Twitterific (Mac only).

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