When More is Less / Regina Coyula

The esteemed Haroldo Dilla, after having had a look through ECURED (a reference site maintained by the Cuban government), has written an entertaining article where he notes some of the shortcomings of that which hopes to establish itself as the encyclopedic model for all Cubans. Although I am not a frequent user of the page, I agree with Dilla regarding its slowness and other defects signaled by him and Rafael Rojas.

What is alarming is that, unlike Wikipedia, ECURED can be found on every computer in educational centers, it is the obligatory reference of students for class assignments and its access is advertised through mobile phones and digital television. Moreover, to sustain ECURED, the employees of the Youth Club of Information Technology, the students of the UIS, and others who fit the profile, must contribute to its growth with ten monthly articles copied from printed sources. That there is the definition of the “collaborative”: without rigor, without specialization, quantity for quality.

In light of its imminent apparition, it could not manage to unravel the need for a clearly enormous effort, even with the duplication of content that had been previously published in other places; and, in fact, ECURED can only be understood as the Ministry of the Truth, like a version of a world beyond the “destruction of history” in the face of the excessive liberty of Wikipedia.

It might have been more rational to create a Cuban team of collaborators to contribute content to the global encyclopedia, to put those other viewpoints to counterbalance (or not), and to have avoided this ill-thought network, no worse executed and without future. This is particularly demonstrated in the diffusion and appetite for the portable versions of Wikipedia, the one that can be accessed from multiple channels, through the same tech specialists that offer their private services, not without first reaching the goal of feeding ECURED.

Translated by: Claudia Cruz Leo

16 August 2013