Wikipedia

Part I –The Introduction

My reference class had a class discussion about Wikipedia. Pros, Cons, why we do and do not like it, etc. We were separated into two groups and each group wrote their opinions about Wikipedia on the black board and then we discussed it. It was a great exercise, and the discussions were very interesting, and I learned a few things about Wikipedia that I did not know before.

Part II–My opinions about Wikipedia

First of all, IT’S FREE!! When searching for information online, one of the things that drives me crazy is when you cannot access the site without an account (free or otherwise). I do not want to get an account every time I want to find something out, I just want to view the information.

-About the appearance and maneuverability

  1. Aesthetically pleasing
  2. Applicable photos, illustrations, etc.
  3. Easy to use
  4. Easy to search
  5. Multilingual
  6. Hyperlinks

-About the validity and scope of information

  1. Bias Alerts
  2. Citations
  3. Information comes from people who have experience with the subject, anyone who has information to add may do so.
  4. Hands on Information

Part III–New information about Wikipedia

This is something that I did not know before the class discussion. Apparently on occasion lawyers use information from Wikipedia, to support a case. When brought before a judge, the lawyer was asked if Wikipedia had ever been used as a source in a court case before; the lawyer produced documentation of several times previously that Wikipedia had been accepted as a source for a court case.

I found this point extremely interesting because now I will be able to direct a patron, student or anyone else to Wikipedia to find information. Before learning about this, I would not have been comfortable using Wikipedia as a source myself much less directing someone else to use it.

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2 comments

  1. I’m not a Wikipedia hater, as so many out there are, but as I’m sure you’re learning in the reference course, when you recommend ANY source (whether print or electronic, licensed or free) it’s important to stress that your patrons be discriminating information consumers – that is, keep in mind the old adage “don’t believe everything you read!”

    Like

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