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Wikipedia as a source: For or against?...

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  • #31
    Re: Wikipedia as a source: For or against?...

    Originally posted by O'Sullivan Bere View Post
    I find wiki to be very reliable most of the time and a fantastic source for quick education and familiarity. It is policed very well. I've even done an article for it where others have improved it with pictures. It seeks and obtains sources, and those sources pooled into one article can be an invaluable tool for research and citation.

    It's important, however, for any serious need for accuracy (forums like this are fine because it's recreational and people are entitled to get to the point with ease) to check its sources and further review them.
    What article did you write? I wouldn't mind reading your handy work.

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    • #32
      Re: Wikipedia as a source: For or against?...

      Originally posted by spotdogg View Post
      I agree 100%...But the main purpose of this thread is about the left and the right using Wikipedia as their source about 90% of the time...Being lazy in their 'research'...

      (̅_̅_̅(̅(̅_̅_̅_̅_̅_̅̅()ڪ



      Heh heh...If it is on the interweb, it is true...
      You mean not everything on the internet is true ? My whole world is destroyed.......

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      • #33
        Re: Wikipedia as a source: For or against?...

        Amazing, ain't it?...Heh heh...

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        • #34
          Re: Wikipedia as a source: For or against?...

          Originally posted by O'Sullivan Bere View Post
          (forums like this are fine because it's recreational and people are entitled to get to the point with ease)
          Actually, I think its slightly deeper than that. Its fine on forums like this since anyone reading the wiki-link used by a poster is welcome to go to the original sources in the wiki-link as much as their heart desires. For example, budget-type wiki articles almost always link to the federal numbers.

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          • #35
            Re: Wikipedia as a source: For or against?...

            Personally, I use and cite Wikipedia as a source for information that I post to this (and other) message boards because Wikipedia is generally pretty accurate and that's good enough for me.

            Let's not forget that we're talking an Internet bulletin board here that we, almost exclusively, enjoy as a means of recreation.

            If you've got the time to reference a Wikipedia article, then follow a Wiki citation to a source article in the NY Times, then further trace that back to the acedemic research paper that the NYT article was quoting/discussing, then research the integrity of the journal that the acedemic paper was published in, then conduct a review of the literature to ensure that there are no seriously dissenting opinion or that the position the article takes isn't a total outlier from the concensus opinion of the field, then more power to you.

            I would never fault anyone for being that thorough.

            Unfortunately, I have other things that I need to be doing with my time.

            If I, as I did earlier today, want to make a point about school shootings not being a recent phenomenon (for instance) I'll happily cite Wikipedia as a source and link to the Wiki page that provides a substantial (though perhaps not exhaustive) list of school shootings dating back to the early 19th century.

            If you want to dismiss my point "because it's from Wikipedia" that's fine with me. I don't much care and I expect that I'm going to lose a small handful of members' interest because my source selection doesn't live up to their strict and rigorous acedemic standards. Again, I respect those standards, but I'm not going to bother myself with them for the purposes of an Internet discussion I'm having with a group of people who may not even have an undergraduate college education.

            Beyond that, I've cited Wikipedia as a source in formal acedemic papers at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Note that I did this specifically in cases where I was not told ahead of time that Wikipedia was not an acceptable source (and I was frequently told that Wikipedia was not an acceptable source).

            I consider Wikipedia to be as accurate as any other secondary source of information.

            I'm sure you allowed your history students to reference the published secondary work of fellow historians when they wrote papers for you (in addition to referencing numerous primery sources, of course). I've found that while a great deal of a scholarly secondary sources of information are based on primary sources there is also a great deal that is based on analysis and interpretation. No two historians who write a book about FDR, for instance, are going to agree on the how and why of every decision the man ever made and every action he ever took. Liewise, the author of the Wikipedia pages dealing with the WPA, or with Roosevelt's relationship with Harry Hopkins, may provide an analysis that slightly (or perhaps even signifigantly) different from what you would have provided (assuming you're an authority on FDR) but I see no reason to trust your analysis over the analysis of the Wiki author.

            As a Librarian and information professional I believe that Wikipedia is a great source for information up through the completion of an undergraduate degree. Though I did personally cite Wikipedia articles for graduate level research I wouldn't necessarially recomend it more broadly because what works in an information science program, because of the nature of the program, may not work for other disciplines. But for an undergrad, training to enter the workforce, I'd argue that acquiring generally accurate, generally actionable information, as quickly and efficently as possible, is infiinitely more important than being able to do research at a graduate level. Most undergrads are never going to go on to a graduate program and those who do are more than capable of picking up the particulars of graduate level research during their first semester in the program (or they probably don't deserve to even be there because, nothing for nothing, it ain't that tough).

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            • #36
              Re: Wikipedia as a source: For or against?...

              soot,
              I've read enough of your postings to trust that you will have some inkling of whether or not Wikipedia is throwing you a curveball.
              The issue is that people don't get that human intervention, regardless of intention, impedes the truth.

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              • #37
                Re: Wikipedia as a source: For or against?...

                Originally posted by fishjoel View Post
                What article did you write? I wouldn't mind reading your handy work.
                List of the oldest courthouses in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

                It's also something I took a bit of public service pride for another matter that spurred me to make that page. A few years ago, I handled a driving while suspended case in the Old Salem County Courthouse in New Jersey. I noticed from a dating on the building that it was built in 1735. Internally, it certainly showed, even though additions were made in 1817 and 1908 to it. Paint on the ceiling was peeling away due with some water damage and aged neglect and the insides were simply outdated to put it kindly. It was clearly non ADA compliant given its advanced age and lacked modern security features. Discussing that with the courthouse staff, they said it was shortly going to lead to closing the courthouse with a new building being planned at that time.

                Being a rural county, the people didn't know what they had. Therefore, I did some research on it. As suspected, it turned out to be the oldest continuing active courthouse in NJ and second oldest continuing active courthouse in the US. The driving while suspended case was continued as I wanted to work out a good deal. I got the good deal after taking certain steps to undo his other licence problems for a mere failure to exhibit licence plea, and I told the prosecutor and judge the actual historical value of the court. I also notified the town mayor and others, and this in turn led the county to get funding to restore and modernise the court and advertise it as a a very valuable historical attraction. It's now being used by the county freeholders (county government) as well as a courthouse, except now it's in good and compliant shape with pride instead of going for a new structure that they wouldn't even dream of considering now.

                Second phase of renovations under way at Salem County's Old Courthouse | NJ.com
                Renovations at Old Courthouse, a Salem County landmark, are wrapping up | NJ.com


                I wrote the courthouse related material for Salem County too. Now, it's well advertised as a historical jewel of the county that's also used for tours, etc.




                The only thing I have left to publicise about it is that it was one of only 4 sites still standing where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the public. The Founders coordinated the announcement after having copies printed to be read to the public on July 8, 1776 from Independence Hall and courthouses within a certain mile range. The thing is that although I know it happened there and I discussed it with them, we want to get some kind of citation from records to hang the hat although I know from other county records and mainstream history records as to how it was done that is must have occurred there by obvious deduction. I just haven't had the time to go digging, and that county is a very financially poor one with few staff, to yet do it. I'll get around to it though. Where it happened was where the Palladian window in the centre of the main portion of the courthouse above is shown. That was the original courthouse doorway at that time.

                The 4 remaining buildings are: 1) Independence Hall (then the Pennsylvania Provincial/State House and now a museum), 2) Old Chester Courthouse in Chester, PA (oldest active continuously used public building in the US, dating from 1724 as a courthouse until 1850 and other uses since then), 3) the historical New Castle County Courthouse in DE (museum), and Old Salem.
                Last edited by O'Sullivan Bere; 01-09-2013, 08:38 PM.

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                • #38
                  Re: Wikipedia as a source: For or against?...

                  I wonder if Wikipedia has a page that investigates the veracity of articles on Wikipedia.

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                  • #39
                    Re: Wikipedia as a source: For or against?...

                    Originally posted by USCitizen View Post
                    I wonder if Wikipedia has a page that investigates the veracity of articles on Wikipedia.
                    The site itself has settings that trigger and prompt alerts for citations and other things to make them reliable and professional. Plus, it has a staff and volunteers that police and improve them. For example, although I did it myself, citations abound for everything I wrote on that page that readers can link to check first hand that what I wrote is accurate.

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