The folks at Open Site created an infographic that take a look at how Wikipedia is influencing the ways in which we and our students are conducting information research and information problem solving.This is in the wake of Encyclopedia Brittanica shutting doors on its print edition.

I always like to remind teachers and students that citing Wikipedia isn’t necessarily bad thing. In fact, Wikipedia maintains a section of their site to Citing Wikipedia. What I like about this page is that it encourages students to independently verify their facts found at Wikipedia. Here’s what they have to say:

As with any source, especially one of unknown authorship, you should be wary and independently verify the accuracy of Wikipedia information if possible. For many purposes, but particularly in academia, Wikipedia may not be an acceptable source; indeed, some professors and teachers may reject Wikipedia-sourced material completely. This is especially true when it is used without corroboration. However, much of the content on Wikipedia is itself referenced, so an alternative is to cite the reliable source rather than the article itself.

We advise special caution when using Wikipedia as a source for research projects. Normal academic usage of Wikipedia and other encyclopedias is for getting the general facts of a problem and to gather keywords, references and bibliographical pointers, but not as a source in itself. Remember that Wikipedia is a wiki, which means that anyone in the world can edit an article, deleting accurate information or adding false information, which the reader may not recognize.

Great advice from a professor or teacher.  Here’s the infographic that depicts Wikipedia’s influence. Thanks Jen Rhee for the tip.


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