If you are a long time reader you know my panic attacks manifest as bursts of obsessive compulsive activity. While y’all are sleeping I spend the wee hours researching dead people for wiki articles. A completely pointless occupation but it keeps my brain busy and I don’t end up with half finished craft projects all over the house.
Yesterday I had an inkling of an idea that actually may amount to something:
I have started a small proposal on Wikipedia, to include first edition point information on Book articles. Not that one couldn’t go around adding it now, which is what I intend to do whenever I get a few moments to spare. But having it as generally accepted policy would inspire more participation and accuracy. How many times a day do we have to look up something that we should have at our finger tips? and don’t get me started on ‘first edition guides’ on the net, they are all connected to commercial sites. They may be useful and free and mostly accurate but by being on a commercial site, they are automatically biased and subjectively noninclusive.
My proposal: Inclusion of First Edition Points as subsections of articles or perhaps part of an infobox. Merely the basic information that would identify a true first edition from a reprint.
Including an external link to a “guide” somewhere on the internet is not enough and unworthy of WP. No external link would be appropriate unless it was sponsored by a non-profit org such as the LOC or a trade group such as the ABAA. And even then there is almost no motivation for such a site to collect and provide the information for free. Sending people to a commercial internet site for general information flies in the face of everything Wikipedia stands for. How do YOU know a commercial seller’s information is true and accurate? Not that there would be motive in posting false data, but there is no guaranteed and no recourse if it were incorrect.
I think Wikipedia would be the ideal central location for this reference information. One of the WP goals is to make valuable information centrally available and accurate point referencing is very important. Points don’t change, they are not subjective information. I live and work on a trade mailing list with hundreds of sellers, collectors and professionals and we must field at least one or two inquiries a day asking for the correct points on this title or that one. The internet is filled with many people selling books as firsts which are anything but. Having such data available on WP would assure that it was communally corrected and readily available.