Antiquarianism is a slur used by historians used to describe the activity of collecting interesting details and facts (or sometimes artifacts) about the past while applying no critical thought to what these events really were, or why they happened.

It's obvious to see why such activities, and the practicioner of such activities, would be looked down upon by historians. History is the study of many things, and most historians study history to heighten their knowledge of human motivations, the reoccurence of patterns, the subtle chain of cause and effect, and other such things. They don't study history so they can read books and copy down what they learned. The other reason it is looked down upon is because it is too damned easy, not to mention unneccesary. The amount of historical knowledge that is out there is way beyond any one person to even overview. Even in a special field, for example, the history of North Dakota, there is probably too much information for even the hardened specialist to even overview well. Simply taking this information from one place and restating it in another form just confuses the matter. At the very most, it proves that the user has some very good research methods in the way of finding unusual sources. But knowing how to work microfilm does not a historian make.

Now, the reason I bring this up is that e2 is full of factual noding. People actually bring up their allegiance to factual noding as if it was a great accomplishment. But what does factual noding accomplish? It takes information in one form and transfers it to another form. The best that can happen is that several different forms of synthesized together, and thanks to the miracle of linking are put into some kind of context. The worse that can happen is a whole bunch of random bits of information are mixed up an then repeated, often with a lack of meaning and outright errors.

The only reason to be reading these factual nodes, then, is that they are on subjects that "official" academic references don't cover (such as video games) or subjects that are local and not widely known (such as information on local parks and attractions, which e2 excels at. But other then that, much of what could be gathered from a World Book Encyclopaedia would supersede many of e2s factual nodes.

My point is not that factual nodes are wrong. Factual nodes provide a good base for understanding the other writings on e2. But a factual writeup is not the same as a critical node with some kind of thesis behind it, that provides some kind of illumination to the subject being studied.

An`ti*qua"ri*an*ism (#), n.

Character of an antiquary; study or love of antiquities.



© Webster 1913.

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