Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Citing Wikipedia? Read this first…

Are you a wiki fan? Do you have the compulsive nature of automatically going for wikipidia?org when u want to know about anything? Are you amused by the top bunks that wiki occupies in Google search results? If yes then u need to understand the dual nature of information presented on wikipedia.
Lets first understand how Wikipedia get all that information? It is an open community encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone? Other then the rules of well formed structure, it does not tell us what not to write and how to define things. So it becomes very possible that a user writes or edits a topic on which he is not an expert or the user thinks that he has the correct information. Since there is no authority to validate that information, it becomes a very real possibility for the published information to be incorrect. But from the view of a user of that information, the popularity and enormity of the wiki foundation makes it easy to believe that the contained information is correct. Thus, the information looses credibility and becomes contradictory with the concept of citation. For a primer here are a few excerpts for the web-

History Department Bans Citing Wikipedia as a Research Source
By NOAM COHEN Published in New York Times, February 21, 2007

Dr. Waters and other professors in the history department at Middlebury College had begun noticing about a year ago that students were citing Wikipedia as a source in their papers. But the errors on the Japanese history test last semester were the last straw. At Dr. Waters’s urging, the Middlebury history department notified its students this month that Wikipedia could not be cited in papers or exams, and that students could not “point to Wikipedia or any similar source that may appear in the future to escape the consequences of errors.”

Referencing Wikipedia? Use Caution
By Kevin Garcia (The Brownsville Herald ) January 24, 2007

To many, Wikipedia is a godsend. It's a way to find information on any topic quickly and easily. What some fail to realize, however, is that nothing on the Web site can be taken at face value. Anyone, from age 8 to 80, from a high school dropout to a rogue scholar, can edit the online encyclopedia. Wikipedia can actually be a good source of information. It can lead people to any number of ideas that they might never have considered. That's the beauty of mass media. What Wikipedia is not, however, is a credible source.

When it comes to Computer Science, don't reference Wikipedia
by Christopher Diggins written July 31, 2005

This is not the first time a Wikipedia computer-science definition has made me want to pull my hair out. In the end I don't care, as long as people don't make the mistake of taking Wikipedia definitions seriously. Just remember that in Wikipedia the definitions are written by random people, and edited by random people, not experts.

  • It is not all bad, wiki is a very good source for information about any topic. But considering it’s use as a credible source of information is not good. There are many more such articles that advice people not to use Wikipedia for citation and every user should try and find a credible source for information for such purposed.

1 comment:

  1. hey m gonna include ur name, definitely...hv to add some more things to the post yet...:)