In the debate between Wikisource and the library, I am torn. I consider myself to be an “old soul”, and place value in traditional things like books. However, as my colleagues can attest I’m sure, there is nothing more frustrating than searching for a book in the library only to discover that it does not have a place in these specific stacks or is simply not available. Of course, we as students at Ryerson have other library options such as University of Toronto and York, however the journey to these other libraries isn’t necessarily the most convenient.
The ease of access is one advantage that Wikisource has over the library. As Miso has pointed out, anything “Wiki” related is questioned in the academic realm which makes it problematic as a scholarly source. However, this week we have been part of the process of turning a literary work into a Wikisource document which allows new insight. We have physically witnessed the necessary steps into making a document accurate, as well as become informed on what steps are taken to correct a document when it is not accurate. As a class we are being held accountable for the work that we are translating from print media to digital media, and hopefully because of that accountability our finished document can eventually be considered a scholarly source.
Puneet has made the excellent point about the presence of the “human” in both wiki documents and print texts. This notion can also be applied to the accountability of a text, as humans often make mistakes. I know that in some of the printed texts that I have read, there have been obvious spelling or grammatical errors. Do mistakes such as these make that specific text lose its credibility? Most of the time, this mistake is noted but as far as I am aware it does not take any value from the information presented. So why should Wikisource be critiqued on different standards?