Friday, 15 January 2010

A word from a Lecturer on the use Wikipedia to students everywhere

The use of Wikipedia as a reference is a depressingly common crime committed by students but it is spreading to professional areas as well.

Wikipedia is an excellent introduction to a topic, but never a reference source. I often look up things on Wikipedia but I never use it as a reference or for something important without confirming it by some real, named, published and reviewed document.

The best summation of the structural issues of Wikipedia come from the Sheldon cartoon by Dave Kellett  (with the authors permission, http://www.sheldoncomics.com/archive/071213.html):



(... and outside academia, God help you if your boss has found you have bet the company or a product on data gathered from Wikipedia that you haven't confirmed via other research.)

Real life works on named sources that are reliable, not ephemera.

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