One of the more fascinating websites and blogs I’ve come across recently is Lawrence Lessig’s; Lessig is a Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and founder of the school’s Center for Internet and Society. Professor Lessig is the author of Free Culture (2004), The Future of Ideas (2001) and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1999). He chairs the Creative Commons project, and serves on the boards of several foundations related to electronic frontiers and public knowledge. Here’s a link to his entire impressive bio.
Right now Jimbo Wales is guest-blogging for Professor Lessig. Jimbo’s the brains behind the Wikipedia and other projects. I haven’t yet found a blog for Jimbo, but if he starts one I’ll quickly add it to my growing collection.
Anyway, Jimmy Wales is using his space on Prof. Lessig’s blog to put forth an interesting concept: Ten Things That Will Be Free. I’ll let him explain: “I started to name the list ‘Ten Things That Must Be Free’ – but this sounded to me too much like an empty political demand. And the point is: this is not a dream list of things which I hope through some magic to become free, but a list of things which I believe are solvable in reality, things that will be free.
“I will be presenting the ten things over the next ten days, but I will let you in on a little secret. I haven’t finished the list. In true collaborative style, I want to invite you to participate in the finalization and formation of the list.”
So… The first free thing on Jimbo’s list was – predictably enough – a Free Encyclopedia.
Item #2? Free the Curriculum! “The second thing that will be free is a complete curriculum (in all languages) from Kindergarten through the University level. There are several projects underway to make this a reality, including our own Wikibooks project, but of course this is a much bigger job than the encyclopedia, and it will take much longer.”
Free the curriculum. Hmmm. Thought we did that about 25 years ago. Still…
Be sure to read the comments, too. It’s interesting watching these folks discuss the whole concept of knowledge as something that should be freely available.
Hat tip to Katje Sabin, former HEM columns editor!