Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wikipedia the worlds oyster...

After reading recent criticism about accuracy of Wikipedia I find myself in an interesting position. Currently I am finishing my second Masters degree and over that time I have written countless articles on a wide range of topics from a few pages to over fifty. When asked by my professor to utilize credible sources and "peer reviewed journals" I think nothing over it. I have learned to navigate the educational abyss of the the university library like a busy street during rush hour downtown. However, this doesn't mean I always begin my search flying blind and disregard the wealth of information available on the internet. Thus this brings me to Wikipedia the self regulated largest collection of knowledge with over a couple million english articles. Although I agree that you should never find a wikipedia entry as your primary source it can be a great spot to start your search as it offers a good overview of almost any topic imaginable and if it current doesn't have an article by the end of your research you can author one. Often I have read an entry in Wikipedia as an overview of the topics I am going to examine to help me drill down to that next level and to begin to make sense of what constraints are for the topic.

So the next time you need to research a topic don't shy away from the opportunity to begin your search on the internet using Wikipedia as a starting point. Although remember that it's not a good idea to quote directly from a wikipedia page and it's worth the extra ten minutes to find the original quote from a reputable source.

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