[Web4lib] WIKIPEDIA is now politically correct to use as areference resource

David Dorman dorman at indexdata.com
Sun Dec 9 16:55:46 EST 2007

At 04:10 PM 12/09/2007, Tim Spalding wrote:
>Exactly right. It's not the library of Alexandria; it's not a
>scholarly monograph—it's an encyclopedia!
>No encyclopedia should ever be a source for a serious paper, high
>school or college. Britannica and the like are not some crucial
>"trusted source" we should all revere. They're middle-brow furniture,
>and a source for quick look-ups and casual perusal. If you need to
>cite something, you shouldn't be looking in an encyclopedia anyway.

I don't think Wikipedia is comparable to the 
Britannica.  Many of its articles go into much 
greater depth than any other encyclopedia.  I 
also think it is a mistake to characterize all 
Wikipedia articles as being "middlebrow 
furniture, a source for quick look-ups and casual 
perusal."  Many of the articles have great depth 
and are clearly vetted by a very rigorous (if not 
classically scholarly) process.  And let's face 
it, the Wikipedia of last year is not the 
Wikipedia of today and will not be the Wikipedia 
of next year.  It presents both a moving target 
and a new type of publication that the scholarly 
community is still learning how to deal with and take advantage of.


>On 12/9/07, K.G. Schneider <kgs at bluehighways.com> wrote:
> > >   In other words, I'm not sure how much validity this study has for
> > > Wikipedia versions in other languages.
> > >
> > >   Bernie Sloan
> >
> > The "political correctness" phrase seems to be poor labeling, but I would
> > cautiously agree that Wikipedia has much broader acceptance. If I had to
> > capture its present zeitgeist, it would be "the place you can go for quick,
> > generally-acceptable answers on a lot of topics"-the role that traditional
> > encyclopedias played in the past.
> >
> > My personal tipping point was when I found myself editing an entry that
> > mattered to me. It's not a perfect 
> institution, and some of the claims about
> > it are just plain hooey, but at the moment at 
> least, it's an important place
> > on the Web.
> >
> > K.G. Schneider
> > kgs at freerangelibrarian.com
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Web4lib mailing list
> > Web4lib at webjunction.org
> > http://lists.webjunction.org/web4lib/
> >
>Check out my library at http://www.librarything.com/profile/timspalding
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>Web4lib at webjunction.org

David Dorman
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dorman at indexdata.com
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