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October 24, 2006

EL236 Encore, Wikipedia, Encore

I love Wikipedia. That will probably never change, unless Wikipedia drastically changes (for the worse).

This past summer when more controversy about Wikipedia was unfolding, I blogged a lengthy response to the idea of Wikipedia being used as a research tool for students at any age. The article I discussed concerned taking "arms" against "mediocrity."

Considering the biography of John Seigenthaler, Sr., however, I find it disturbing that biographies can be so easily manipulated. While I doubt a student would be writing a paper or doing research on Seigenthaler (though I could be wrong!), I can understand how the erroneous information that was posted was seen as offensive. Being accused by a multi-editored site of the assassinations of two politicians is just horrid! Had Seigenthaler's friend not notified him of this information, would he have found it? Who really knows...

Another point about Wikipedia, though, is given to the public by Nature's study juxtaposing Encyclopedia Brittanica (isn't that everyone's first encyclopedia?) with Wikipedia. Saying that Wikipedia is just as or more accurate than one of the longest running encyclopedias is a risqué statement to make. What I wonder is who was paying Nature to "cook the study" to make Wikipedia look more reputable?

I personally think that Wikipedia will stick around for a long time. Until it becomes riddled with untruths, the open-source will remain popular. I hope that there is more education about the site now that some of the dirty tricks and unpopular uses are out in the open air. It's good to know the drawbacks of a thing, even if it is a very helpful and innovative thing... like Wikipedia.

Posted by KarissaKilgore at October 24, 2006 9:40 PM


While working with students, I am constantly telling people "DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA FOR RESEARCH!" I often feel like I should just make some sort of sign and put it around my neck.

I also love Wikipedia--I go there first when I want to know a quick fact or a simply explanation of something. But if I'm working on a paper for school, I never use something directly from Wikipedia. Never. It's a great spring board, however, to better sources (their links section at the bottom of each page is a nice tool).

But the second I see Wikipedia in a Works Cited page... watch out. I don't care if it covers something recent in pop culture, there's gotta be a more reliable source out there.

Posted by: Mike Rubino at October 25, 2006 10:44 AM

I ADORE the Wikipedia and nothing can really change my opinon on that either. Everything has its pros and cons, of course, Wikipedia being a major one.

I'd never dream of using it for any sort of major assignment. I would, however, use it for quick/seemingly useless info.

Posted by: Gabby at October 25, 2006 12:48 PM

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