NaN Abstract for Michael Conover’s April 21st Talk

“The problem with Wikipedia is that it only works in practice. In theory, it can never work.”  — Zeroeth Law of Wikipedia

One of the most important social and intellectual phenomena of the 21st century, the collaboratively-edited online encyclopedia Wikipedia is vexing in its ability to produce informative articles on a multitude of subjects.  Leveraging graph theoretic techniques to measure the degree to which latent connections between articles are present in the Wikipedia corpus we demonstrate that the collaborative editing process produces, over time, an increasingly logically-connected information artifact. Moreover, using the public-domain 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica as a benchmark corpus for the single-author-article paradigm, we demonstrate that Wikipedia contains a growing core of mature articles which exhibit a degree of logical connectedness significantly surpassing that found in the Encyclopedia Britannica. Taken in conjunction with an understanding of Wikipedia’s accuracy and topical coverage, this conclusion paints a rich portrait of the strengths and weaknesses of both collaboratively- and single-author-edited encyclopedias.