Wikipedia’s known unknowns

A story in today’s (UK) Guardian documents the uneven geography of knowledge written into Wikipedia and maps it out:

From the article:

There are some countries that are crammed with a dense amount of floating virtual information, such as Germany (with an average of one article tagged for every 65 square km), while others remain as virtual deserts, such as Chad (with an average of one tagged article every 17,000 square km).

Sharp divides between the Global North and the Global South can likewise be seen when looking at the number of geotagged articles per person. Austria, Iceland and Switzerland all have around one geotagged article for every 1,000 people, while in China or Guinea there is just over one article for every 500,000 people.

Africa is still the “dark continent” and the map overall shows a distinct Euro-American focus (although it might be better to normalize this by number of people as the text of the article does; see above quote).

If we grant that technologies produce space, then even very powerful, virtual and “complete” technologies such as Wikipedia are still reproducing existing material relations (Matthew Zook has done excellent work on this).