Have you seen Google Knol? ABC News calls it the “Silicon Valley behemoth’s answer to Wikipedia.” They are both user-generated encyclopedias but Google Knol identifies authors and those authors could earn a profit from their articles (with the profit growing as the article receives more hits). I did a quick comparison of both sites using the search term “Madonna.” There were three results in Google Knol (all about the singer Madonna). I clicked on one author’s name and was presented with “Biographical knol not published” (I found this with quite a few other searches I did).
Wikipedia came back with many different results, including:
- Mary, mother of Jesus
- Madonna, entertainer
- Madonna del Ghisallo, a hill close to Lake Como in Italy
- Madonna lily, a plant
- Madonna University, a college in Michigan
While neither site is perfect (and I would not necessarily rely on either of them for authoritative information), I find Wikipedia to be a great starting point for research. It allows me to learn the language of the subject I am researching and it can often open up new paths to follow. Google Knol is new but it is a site I will continue to watch.