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realclearworld

Reports from Cuba: ECURED: Ministry of Truth

By Regina Coyula in Translating Cuba:

ECURED: Ministry of Truth
http://translatingcuba.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/ecured.jpg

Knowledge with all and for all. Cuban encyclopedia on the Web.

The esteemed Haroldo Dilla, after exploring ECURED, has written an entertaining article where he notes some deficiencies in what tries to present itself as a reference encyclopedia for Cubans. Although I am not frequent user of the page, I agree with Dilla about its slowness and other defects identified by him and Rafael Rojas.What is alarming is that, unlike Wikipedia, ECURED is found on every computer in the island’s schools, it is the obligatory reference for students for their classwork, and announces its access via mobile phones and digital television. ECURED is “fed” by the workers of the Youth Club of Computing, students at the University of Information Sciences (UCI), and others with similar profiles who must expand it by ten articles a month each, copied from printed sources. That is the meaning, here, of “collaborative.” Lacking rigor, lacking qualifications, quantity for quality.

Before its imminent appearance, I could not fathom the need for a labor of such enormous scope,  even with the duplication of contents previously published on other sites; and one can only understand ECURED as the Ministry of Truth, like a version of the world far beyond the “destruction of history” facing the excessive freedom of Wikipedia.

It would have been rational to create a team of Cuban collaborators to contribute content to the global encyclopedia, to post those other points of view that balance (or not), and to have avoided this ill-conceived network, poorly executed and with no future, as evidenced by the diffusion of and avidity for the portable versions of Wikipedia, which can be accessed from multiple paths through the same computers that offer their services privately, but not before meeting the goal of feeding ECURED.

Regina Coyula, Havana

Translated from Penultimos Dias

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