Wait, what?

So… apparently they’re making a print volume of Wikipedia now?

I’m actually kind of torn on how I should feel about this. On the one hand, this almost completely contradicts everything that makes Wikipedia what it is: a triumph of collective intelligence–a living, very searchable document. You can’t put something like that into a book. You can’t put hypertext into print, nor can the general population collaboratively edit the printed word (unless they’re publishing it on Kindle). It is a useful document precisely because it isn’t printed.

On the other hand, a printed version would be great for archival purposes. I’ve wondered what a hypothetical alien archaeologist would say about our generation; we’re leaving increasingly fewer traces of individualism. Even my own hypothetical grandchildren may or may not get to see photographs from years of my life; it simply depends on the state of technology. Maybe .jpgs will no longer be valid file extensions in fifty years. Guess what: there went the last three years of my life, if I never got them printed. So an archive strikes me as an incredibly useful tool for future historians.

Regardless, though, who do they actually expect to *use* this?

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