Students at Middlebury College will no longer be able to cite Wikipedia when writing history papers, according to an Inside Higher Education report. According to Don Wyatt, chair of the history department at Middlebury, “Even though Wikipedia may have some value, particularly from the value of leading students to citable sources, it is not itself an appropriate source for citation.” Department members also cited the proliferation of misinformation. Suprisingly, Wikipedia officials partly agree: says Sandra Ordonez, a Wikipedia spokeswoman, “Wikipedia is the ideal place to start your research and get a global picture of a topic, however, it is not an authoritative source. In fact, we recommend that students check the facts they find in Wikipedia against other sources…”
The article is spawning lively debate on the Inside Higher Education web site, and we invite your comments on the appropriate uses and pitfalls of Wikipedia.
For a more in-depth look at the reliability of Wikipedia, please see the article by Roy Rosenzweig, director of the Center for History and New Media and former vice president of the AHA’s Research Division, at http://chnm.gmu.edu/resources/essays/d/42.