Monday, January 7, 2008

...and Let's Get Rid of the Web, Too!

Just as I finished reading about Wikipedia in the book Everything is Miscellaneous, I heard about a librarian in New Jersey who is urging students to not use this online reference. She is posting signs that state, "Just say No to Wikipedia" on her computers. I recommend reading Scott Mcleod's response to this issue in his blog dangerously irrelevant.

I don't think we are going to stop the growth and use of Wikipedia anymore than the music industry could control the spread of MP3's. Wikipedia isn't perfect but then neither are the other sources we've used in the past.

So, rather than "How do we stop it", perhaps the question should be "How can a student validate an article on Wikipedia?"

I did a little searching on the web and found this short article called "How to Evaluate a Wikipedia Article." out of UC-Davis. In a nutshell the author gives the following guidelines.

  • Look at the article quality
  • Look at the page edit history
  • Check the article's discussion page
  • Check the templates at the top the article

She goes into more detail on each of these four points and the entire piece is only a couple of pages long. Wouldn't it be a better learning experience to post this article above each computer instead of a sign stating, "Just say NO to Wikipedia" ?

[Initial source: author/Scott mcleod: blog/dangerously irrelevant: post/"Just say no to Wikipedia": Nov 29, 2007]

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