[Wikipedia-l] Re: Article - Librarian: Don't use Wikipedia as source

Andrew Lih andrew.lih at gmail.com
Thu Aug 26 02:25:36 UTC 2004

I'll also use this to reiterate my nit about the Main Page -

Having a link to the FAQ on the front page might have helped this situation.

-Andrew (User:Fuzheado)

On Thu, 26 Aug 2004 10:06:56 +0800, Andrew Lih <andrew.lih at gmail.com> wrote:
> I hesitate to even post this, because it's virtual flame-bait. :) But
> with all the accolades Wikipedia receives in the press, you have to
> take the knocks too.
> This from the Syracuse Post-Standard and comes up with a very weak and
> uninformed criticism of Wikipedia. I'm sure one of Jimbo's wonderful
> standard letters will set this writer straight.
> Andrew Lih (User:Fuzheado)
> andrew.lih at gmail.com
> ----
> http://www.syracuse.com/news/poststandard/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1093338972139211.xml
> Librarian: Don't use Wikipedia as source
> Wednesday, August 25, 2004
> In a column published a few weeks ago by my companion Dr. Gizmo,
> readers were urged to go to the Wikipedia Web site at www.wikipedia.
> org/wiki/Main Page , an online encyclopedia, for more information on
> computer history. The doctor and I had figured Wikipedia was a good
> independent source.
> Not so, wrote a school librarian who read that article. Susan
> Stagnitta, of the Liverpool High School library, explained that
> Wikipedia is not what many casual Web surfers think it is.
> It's not the online version of an established, well-researched
> traditional encyclopedia. Instead, Wikipedia is a do-it-yourself
> encyclopedia, without any credentials.
> "As a high school librarian, part of my job is to help my students
> develop critical thinking skills," Stagnitta wrote. "One of these
> skills is to evaluate the authority of any information source. The
> Wikipedia is not an authoritative source. It even states this in their
> disclaimer on their Web site."
> Wikipedia, she explains, takes the idea of open source one step too
> far for most of us.
> "Anyone can change the content of an article in the Wikipedia, and
> there is no editorial review of the content. I use this Web site as a
> learning experience for my students. Many of them have used it in the
> past for research and were very surprised when we investigated the
> authority of the site."
> Stagnitta gives two quotes from the Wikipedia site that illustrate the problem.
> From the home page:
> "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written collaboratively by its readers.
> The site is a Wiki, meaning that anyone, including you, can also edit
> any article right now by clicking on the edit this page link that
> appears at the top of every Wikipedia article."
> From the disclaimer page:
> "Wikipedia is an online open-content encyclopedia, that is, a
> voluntary association of individuals and groups who are developing a
> common resource of human knowledge. Its structure allows any
> individual with an Internet connection and World Wide Web browser to
> alter the content found here.
> "Therefore, please be advised that nothing found here has necessarily
> been reviewed by professionals who are knowledgeable in the particular
> areas of expertise necessary to provide you with complete, accurate or
> reliable information about any subject in Wikipedia."
> I was amazed at how little I knew about Wikipedia. If you know of
> other supposedly authoritative Web sites that are untrustworthy, send
> a note to technology at syracuse.com and let me know about them.
> The best thing about the Web is also the worst thing: Information is
> all over the place. You need to be careful about trusting what you
> read.

Andrew Lih
andrew.lih at gmail.com

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