[ Question ]

Is there something like a "meta-encyclopedia"?

by Pablo_Stafforini1 min read11th Jun 20205 comments


World Modeling

With Wikipedia showing increasing signs of ideological uniformity, I thought I should try to diversify my consumption of reference material. A potentially very useful tool for this purpose would be a "meta-encyclopedia", i.e. a place where users can find a list of all existing encyclopedia entries on a given topic. Questions:

1. Does something like this exist?

2. If not, what are the closest substitutes?

My current method is to simply do a Google search for the topic of interest followed by the word 'encyclopedia', e.g. 'comparative advantage encyclopedia'. This method is already quite useful, with a much lower false-positive rate than I would have expected, though I feel there's still considerable room for improvement.

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I just found that such a resource exists for philosophy, in case it is of interest to others: Meta-Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

On reflection, I guess it makes sense that the philosophers would be among the first to "go meta".

While Wikidata isn't complete it has lists of other existing encyclopedia articles on a given topic. Whenever you are at Wikipedia you can click on Wikidata item on the left side and get taken to Wikidata. The Wikidata item lists a variety of external ids for the topic in other sources. 

I think it would be great to have a browser plugin that whenever you visit a page about a topic that has external id links on Wikidata it shows you links to all other pages about the same topic. Ideally the addon would also provide an easy way to add new links. If you have two browser tabs on the same topic open where both conform to a Wikidata formatter url pattern it while only one is linked in Wikidata it could give you an easy way to link the two together.