Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"Insinuated" History

This was in the news recently:
The CIA has fixed information regarding South Korea's history on its World Factbook website, a civic group said yesterday.

The CIA has changed its description of Korea from an "independent kingdom for much of the past millennium" to an "independent kingdom for much of its millennia-long history," the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea said.

The original sentence was inaccurate as it insinuated that South Korea's history only began a millennium ago and ignored its Goguryeo (B.C. 37-A.D. 668) and Gojoseon (B.C. 2333-B.C. 108) periods, VANK members said on its website.

I'm still not sure what I think about this. It's a minor point, and the change is definitely a score for clearer writing, so it does seem like a good edit. On the other hand, since the Factbook is not intended to serve as a historical reference, I'm not convinced that the change to over-clarify Korea's position past a thousand years ago is really something we should expect our intel experts to be doing.

VANK, incidentally, appears to be the people organizing letter-writing campaigns to fight for a rectification of Korean history around the world (even if it gives them a bad name among some people).

On another note, the history section of the Korea article on Wikipedia is begging for editors. Looks like we have a mandate to go in.

1 comment:

snowume said...

since the Factbook is not intended to serve as a historical reference, you mean that those types of resources are not liable for distributing wrong information?
I believe that if someone finds someing incorrect, they should put efforts to correct them. Given the fact that the Factbook is a reliable source, they have to provide "correct" information.