Wikipedia: Pros and Cons Christine KickelsCollege of DuPage LibraryAssociate ProfessorLibrarianand “Wiki-user”
What is Wikipedia? “Wikipedia is an encyclopedia collaboratively written by many of its readers.” --Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
Why? "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing." --Jimmy Wales
Articles you won’t find • Definitions • Original research • News reports • Just a collection of links • Personal blogs • Biographies of any person
But wait! There’s more… Wikinews Wiktionary Wikibooks Wikiversity And others…
Pros • Anybody can edit • It’s free • Updates are quick • Use of hyperlinks • Size of topic unimportant • Opportunity to discuss topic
Cons • Anybody can add or edit • Vandalism • Bias in some areas • Lack of traditional editing • Incompleteness • Writing quality
But aren’t there standards? • Create an Encyclopedia • Maintain Neutral Point of View (POV) • Use Free Content • Follow Code of Conduct • Respect that there are no firm rules
Who settles debates? Jimmy Wales Founder and Chairman of the Wikimedia Foundation
The Study Giles, Jim. “Internet Encyclopaedias Go Head to Head”. Nature. 15 Dec. 2005. vs.
The results • First peer-reviewed study • Nature article concluded that there were few differences in quality of articles
Encyclopedia Britannica’s response Study was flawed!
Tips for using it • Remember that it is an encyclopedia • Verify with other sources • Utilize links • View the history • Remember the collaborative process • Look for bias
Podcasts • NPR interviews with Jimmy Wales • WGN Radio interview with Stacy Schiff • Jimmy Wales’ podcasts