Why video can transform the Wikipedia experience

Wikipedia is slated to soon have video, according to a Technology Review report. And although it's still a few months away, the update is bringing game-changing excitement.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia: The future home of video. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

The long-rumored addition of video to online encyclopedia Wikipedia is finally near. According to a report in the Technology Review, Wikimedia, the company behind Wikipedia, is just a few months away from adding video to the site.

The Technology Review is reporting that Wikipedia will soon feature an "Add Media" option, which will allow users to search for copyright-free video. They will be able to drag the clip into the respective Wikipedia article.

Users will also be able to edit clips, as well as rearrange segments.

I'm excited. Wikipedia is one of my favorite destinations on the Web. From updates on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" (I have no shame) to information on brain surgery, the site provides us with a lot of great information.

That said, one of the issues facing Wikipedia is that the information can't always be corroborated. And some feel that it can't be trusted , due to editor bias or shallow research.

I think that video can help change that.

Adding video to Wikipedia will transform the experience. It will not only make it a richer environment to get information, but it also ensures that the articles would be more accurate. If an article featured video clips from the original source to corroborate claims made in the article, it would only further improve Wikipedia.

For example, if Wikipedia's iPhone page provided information on the new iPhone 3G S today, it would link to an outside source reporting on it. But since it's not the original source, there's no guarantee that the information included in that article is absolutely true.

Thanks to video, Wikipedia users could add a video of Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, discussing the new iPhone 3G S . It would give them access to the original source--the party that can provide the most accurate information. Video proof of someone saying something is better than reading quotes in a blog. It's as simple as that.

Video also adds a new level of engagement to Wikipedia. Instead of simply editing text, users will soon be able to edit videos. That means the site will soon be populated with user-generated clips, as well as informative videos that help make a point. Conceivably, it could combine the entertainment of YouTube to the information of Wikipedia. As a Web user, that's a match about which I can only dream.

Wikipedia has always been about the intelligence of the community. Soon, it will tap into the creativity of the community, as well. Video adds a new level of value to Wikipedia. And I, for one, am excited about it.

Bring on the video, Wikimedia--we've waited long enough.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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