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Information Sources: Choosing and Finding the Right Source

What is Wikipedia, anyway?

"Wikipedia is a project to build free encyclopedias in all languages of the world. Virtually anyone with Internet access is free to contribute by contributing neutral, cited information. Wikipedia started in January 2001, and currently offers more than 24 million articles written in 284 languages. The largest Wikipedia is in English, with more than four million articles..."  - Wikimedia Foundation, 2/18/2013

Why CAN'T I use Wikipedia?

Wiki Definition

n. noun

1. A collaborative website whose content can be edited by anyone who has access to it.

Wikipedia is an open-content WIKI. It's not a matter of whether the information is correct or not.  The concern is that the information can be edited or changed by anyone at anytime.  College-level research must be based on RELIABLE, CREDIBLE resources.  We all use Wikipedia in our everyday life.  But it's not for academic research.


How CAN I use Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is useful for:

  1. Getting background info on a subject, just like any other encyclopedia... just be careful to confirm facts and avoid citing Wikipedia.
  2. Getting familiar with the technical language or subject jargon -- perfect for finding terms to use in keyword searches.
  3. References at the bottom of the page are a good place to confirm information and find out more.

Stephen Colbert on Wikipedia...

“Wikipedia is the first place I go when I'm looking for knowledge... or when I want to create some." ~ Stephen Colbert

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