Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Chronicle: How Do You Cite Wikipedia on a History Paper? At Middlebury College, You Don't. A Professor Explains Why

From The Chronicle of Higher Education:

"The problem with Wikipedia, in many scholars' eyes, is its open editing system. The site permits unregistered, anonymous users to edit content alongside more respected contributors. While several studies and informal surveys have found that Wikipedia is nearly as accurate as many hard-bound encyclopedias, professors often say the Web site's freewheeling nature makes it too easy for errors to be introduced."

Comment: I completely disagree with this policy (unlike many of my colleagues at Rowan). I want to teach my students to be skeptical of all sources of information. Singling out one source because of gut feelings against a new type of content creation despite studies showing that the content is at least as good as the Encyclopedia Britannica implies to students that other sources of information are completely reliable. Students need to learn how to judge the quality of information, not be told not to use a source "because I said so."