Yearning for Knowledge

Encyclopedic Endeavour and the Internet

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Ma. US. 2009.

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After beginning my doctoral research in September 2008, I had an opportunity to present my project at the Media in Transition conference organised by the Comparative Media Studies department at MIT. In addition to the usual benefits of a well-organized conference, being able to visit the university I fantasised about since my childhood and the department I admired the most since my introduction to the field of Media Studies was an absolute joy.

From the outset, by studying Wikipedia through a historically comprehensive background, I was hoping to address questions regarding new media and society from a comparative point of view across historical periods.

  • What does Wikipedia, with its content and form, represent for encyclopedic writing in the future?
  • Which issues does the encyclopedic heritage provide helpful guidance?
  • And what aspects of established encyclopedias are merely dismissible conjecture?  

While at the beginning of my doctoral research I had more questions than answers, attempting to present these cohesively helped me greatly in planning my later stages of my dissertation. Moreover, the feedback I received from colleagues at the conference was truly beneficial and merely participating in this amazing event was the best kickstart I could ever hoped for the oncoming four years of research.