I had better refrain from pointing out the irony, but, anyway, this is
definitely an interesting read.
Smaran has perfectly pointed out the strengths of the Wikibooks system. Just
this year I bought a mandatory psychology textbook that students have
vilified for having many inaccuracies and contradictions as well as lesser
grammatical issues. I would never choose to buy such a clearly substandard
book if I had a choice. On Wikibooks this problem is eliminated; it's pretty
easy for anyone who's really bothered by errors to fire up some sort of
spellchecking aid and correct the whole page, or otherwise reword weak
We're also much more approachable compared to things like Google Book
Search, especially since about a year ago they significantly tightened
access to materials. Unfortunately our full text searching is not as
intuitive and feature-rich as theirs, and, as has been previously discussed,
we can't have our books listed there without getting actual ISBNs for them
PDF versions of books is a great step in the right direction, and something
we really need to push--I'm talking both about encouraging authors to make
PDF versions and also about sorting out placement so that casual visitors
find them. Perhaps the topics list on the main page could be optimised like
the list at the top of http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Main_Page
newly-freed space used for a list of PDFs of "complete" (100% only) books.
We should also consider offering per-chapter PDFs (as that makes it easier
for someone to read or print a particular chapter without having to download
the whole book first and then browse for it or specify the print range,
things that not all web users know how to do). Of course with some large
books (C++ is one of them, I would imagine) it might only be feasible to
choose the most popular chapters to offer individually. Still, it's
something to look into.
Anyway, there's lots to consider here! Thanks for finding this. Oh, and I
see I'm not the only one to sign textbook-l messages with tildes. :)
On 17/03/07, Robert Horning <robert_horning(a)netzero.net> wrote:
With all of the complaints about how Wikibooks is going to heck in a
handbasket, I would like to point out some rather positive "press" about
Wikibooks that comes from outside of our little community:
Here is somebody just trying to learn a little more about a topic, and
he is using Wikibooks to try and pick up that knowledge.
Congratulations to the [[Economics]] Wikibook on ths point, you got a
genuine fan here!