Over the past few weeks, you probably heard the news that Encyclopedia Britannica is ceasing publication of its print edition. I found this infographic from Mashable comparing Encyclopedia Britannica with Wikipedia. Now as a librarian, I tend to discount most information from Wikipedia as being a bit unreliable. But after looking at this comparison, I must admit I had to pause and think.
This paragraph is the most compelling:
The crowd-powered reference site (Wikipedia) is arguably the greatest knowledge experiment civilization has ever seen. And while its critics are the first to point out its unreliability, advocates would counter that a self-correcting collective is more reliable and scalable than a room full of scholars (who, on occasion, also make mistakes).
I never thought about the "self correcting" aspect of Wikipedia. I always thought of it as being interesting but unreliable. I do encourage my students to look at the external links with articles--those will lead a researcher to other sources of information. And sometimes Wikipedia is the best source for "pop culture" or very current information--something Britannica or World Book can't always keep up with.
So here's the question......do you allow Wikipedia as a research source? Is it acceptable as long as it is not the sole source?
Once again, I'm finding myself changing my train of thought and trying to adapt to a "new world" in terms of technology. Learning new things is supposed to grow brain cells and keep you young......I just feel old......