2.28.2008

Wikipedia as a source, take two

The newspaper at which I work had an interview with Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia.

One part of this question-and-answer interview, however, was edited for space. This part had to do with using Wikipedia as a reference. Here is the question and answer:
Q: What are your thoughts on whether researchers should cite Wikipedia pages in their papers?
A: In general, an encyclopedia is not the type of thing that should be cited in an academic paper, and that goes for Britannica or anything else. When I was in college it would be considered quite silly to cite Britannica unless you were in grade school or something. It's really more about getting that broad background knowledge and that kind of information to get you started. It's a starting point rather than an ending point.
I know that this is talking about academic papers, but I do believe that you could use this to argue why Wikipedia should not be used as a source in newspaper articles, which I posted about before.

So, there you have it. The founder of Wikipedia would not use it as a source.

8 comments:

JD said...

Personally, I try not to cite any sources that are 'author unknown'.

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Anonymous said...

how else would we know the shallowness of the researcher?

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Sabine said...

The problem not only with wikipedia is that many of the authors copy from each other. This means: If you read the same thing two or three times doesn't mean it's a fact. I often use the good old telephone to check the details from first hand.

Anonymous said...

Of course it shouldn't be used as a source. Anyone can edit/change text at any time. I'm glad Wales acknowledges Wikipedia.org's usefulness as a general resource, but not as something to be cited.

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