Wikipedia Banned by Middlebury College for History Students

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.

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  1. Christopher Lee

    As a former high school history teacher and a current graduate teaching assistant, I admonish all my students to NEVER cite Wikipedia. Instead, I suggest that if they want understand the braod outline of a subject, Wikipedia is a great place to start.

    Honestly, I don’t understand why Middlebury allowed students to cite Wikipedia in the first place…

    Reply
  2. Robert Holden

    This is news? I don’t allow my students to cite ANY internet sources. Papers may only cite secondary sources that are scholarly articles or books written by scholars. Of course, cruising the internet for usable sources and ideas is fine.

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  3. Robert

    I am currently an Undergrad student. My personal policy on the citing of wikipedia is that I will cite it when I would cite a typical encylopedia, if I need a date/name/place or some other basic and established fact. For anything more than that I don’t think an encylopedia of any sort is an acceptable source.

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  4. Robert Guisepi

    As any one can add, subtract or alter information on that site, and without credible credentials, there is no way on the face of this earth that I would allow my students to use Wikipedia as anything more than an interesting place to visit, like MSN.com or You Tube

    Reply
  5. Ellen Apperson Brown

    As someone interested in teaching history to the “masses”…teaching adults to become community historians, and children to become history detectives, I think is is necessary to start with wikipedia, and teach the students to become more discriminating as we go along. Wikipedia offers us a marvelous teaching opportunity…about how history is written!

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  6. alisa katon

    I Don’t really like this wikipedia site because what if i am doing a paper for school and i use wikipedia and my information is wrong, I will then get a bad grade.

    Reply