The Internet is often the first place many students go when gathering research for a paper, project, or other class assignment. And while there are many excellent and invaluable resources available online, the quality of one site is still under debate: Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is the marriage of the wiki software, which allows the public access to edit and update pages of a site, with the structure of the encyclopedia. As mentioned in yesterday’s blog post on a related resource, Wikimapia, allowing anyone to update and edit is both productive (allowing much more information to be contributed), and problematic (who checks to make sure that new contents and edits are correct?). As more and more people are turning to Wikipedia for answers, particularly students who are using Wikipedia as a source, it becomes more important to ask: Can we trust Wikipedia?
Given our own interest harnessing the wiki technology (as shown in the Archives-wiki proposal), we invite discussion about the value of Wikipedia. To help stimulate discussion, here are some recent articles and resources that assess the usefulness and accuracy of Wikipedia. Check them out and then leave us your comments and insight on this issue.
- Can History be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past
Roy Rosenzweig takes a detailed look at Wikipedia and explains what problems and opportunities it presents to the history profession.
- Will Wikipedia Mean the End Of Traditional Encyclopedias?
A rousing debate between Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, and Dale Hoiberg, the senior vice president and editor in chief of Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc.
- Internet encyclopaedias go head to head
Jim Giles discusses the Nature study that claims Wikipedia is “close to Britannica in terms of accuracy of its science entries.”
- Wikipedia study ‘fatally flawed’
A BBC News report on how Encyclopaedia Britannica lashed back at the findings of the Nature study.