Wikipedia is one of the most popular web side around the world. But not everybody knows how “deep” you can trust it. In my article I am going to compare the Wikipedia articles on Ian McEwan – an English novelist and a screenwriter born 21. June 1948. McEwan awakes different emotions by different people depending on nationality, age and life position.I will compare the articles about this novelist from English, German and Ukrainian Wikipedia.
All three articles inform the reader on biographies of living person. In my perspective and already gained knowledge in Constructing Knowledge in the Digital Age: Wikipedia’s Contribution to the Humanities I can already say they all require a high degree of sensibility as it is written in Wikipedia’s policy. All of them are written in a neutral point of view and do not have an original research, but provides information from different resources which are given in the references. The subject’s privacy is taken into account in the every article. There are three basic pillars in Wikipedia policy: Neutral Point of View, Verifiability and No Original Research. All three articles appear to satisfy these criteria.
The structure of each article is different and provides actually the same information but in different way. For instance the English article begins with a description of early life and career of McEwan. Afterwards article goes on with awards and honors. Then it turns to personal life – about marriage and that he discovered that he had a brother who had been given up for adoption during World War II . And lastly we have the bibliography, the references and the suggestion for the further reading and the external links.
On the other hand we have the German article with a different content. First of all it starts with a life of McEwan, not only early life as in English one, but with his life until nowadays. Then we have awards and honors which are followed by bibliography. A film adaptation was subcategorized in the German version. Here the reader finds the information about documentary movie about McEwan, what we actually do not find in the English one. It is one of evidences that the German article is not translated from the English article. Lastly there is a literature for further reading, references and web links.
The Ukrainian article does not have a content. There is short information about his career and view on religion (translated from his blog word by word). But here we have also bibliography and references.
Following this I would prefer to talk about the complexity of the articles. The English article is the most comprehensive among others and contains the transparent information; it informs more detailed view of McEwan’s life and career as in German or Ukrainian article. The English version provides also further reading, links with interviews and external links for people who are interested in McEwan life and career.The Ukrainian article is the shortest one. As I already mentioned there is no content, and moreover it provides only rough information on McEwan’s career and, lastly, his view on religion derived from his blog.
The English article has the longest history, it was first composed in 2003. The German article goes back to 2004 and finally Ukrainian originates from 2010. Every article was changed several times since they were established.
Comparing the policy
Ukrainian Wikipedia’s policy is very similar to English one. But what it is also suggested to do: to translate articles from another languages to develop Ukrainian Wikipedia which has only around 500,000 articles. Generally, every article provides bibliography and has references. The English and Ukrainian ones quote also McEwans blog, Ukrainian article has word by word translation of it and used it in these articles to provide McEwan’s point of view on religions. Usually it is not allowed to take information from different blogs in the internet. But in these articles the authors quoted directly the McEwan’s blog. The reason of it may be, as I already mentioned, that every article in Wikipedia has to be written with neutral point of veiw. And quoting the words of McEwan shows only his own life position, not the point of view of the author of the Wikipedia article.
Generally speaking, the English and German articles about McEwan give a good overview of his life and career. They have also useful suggestions for further reading.
After finishing my research it is clear that all three articles are not related to one another. They were written from different sources and contain partly different information. For example English and Ukrainian quote McEwan’s blog to underline his point of view on religions. German article has information about documentary movie on McEwan’s life, there is no such information in English or Ukrainian one.