Creation of DigiServicesPedia: The Encyclopedia of digital services & products in Europe
Wikipedia has become of the most important tool of reference when looking for relatively reliable information on a subject.
The crowdsourcing process indeed guaranty a good level of neutrality and a relatively level of freshness of the information, allowing people to make quickly an informed decision on a subject.
However, information about companies and products is extremely limited in Wikipedia, because of different rules, such as the requirement of notability of the information, and conflict of interest rules. As a consequence, companies & products (and notably small one) have difficulty to "exist" in this space. Tentative of being present in Wikipedia is most of the time "censored" by the "wikipolice" enforcing the rule.
Of course, the idea of catalogs of products is not new, as well as opinion systems. Services offering information about companies have existed for a long time. Social networking systems (such as LinkedIn) are also starting to profile information about enterprises.
However all these cases we are very far of being able to offer information that is:
* Up to date (notably in relation to the description about what these companies are doing, and the description of product and services)
* With a good level of exhaustivity (something that Wikipedia fail to provide)
I would therefore suggest some way to create a kind of Wikipedia of Digital Services & product for Europe.
A subset of the principles used in Wikipedia should be used in this system so as to guaranty a good level of neutrality, such as the obligation to provide a minimum level of sourcing of the information.
However, some other rules could be relaxed such as the possibility for an organization to contribute openly with information. The crowdsourcing process would still be used to censor "auto-promotion", and identification of some of the contributors would provide transparency.
I can also imagine some very nice development of this kind of service in the future such as:
- A more semantical representation of the information. (a Semantic Wiki would particularly make sense)
- The recording of research projects (EC or national projects) in which the companies are involved.
Could the European Commission help in the creation of such as services (that could be particular beneficial to SMEs)?
I do not believe that the creation of such as service may not be done by private organizations. And I do not think that Wikipedia would be interested to extend its services in this direction.