Friday, 19 September 2008

Should students cite Wikipedia as a source?

There’s no doubt university students are turning more and more to Wikipedia as a resource for their assignments. Should we be discouraging them? At our library we have had some interesting discussions and wonder what advice we should give on Wikipedia usage.

I cited Wikipedia in assignments I did in my recent postgraduate studies in Education and was NOT marked down. I felt that as long as I had a majority of peer reviewed journals as references, one Wikipedia citation to explain a particular term, was acceptable.

None other than the National Library of Australia cites Wikipedia as an authority in a recent NLA Newsletter when they write about social networking websites.

When Jimmy Wales spoke in Perth in 2007 he answered some of the Wikipedia critics. See my blog post on the Jimmy Wales seminar at the time.

Lisa Spiro in her blog Digital Scholarship in the Humanities reports on a study she did of Wikipedia citations appearing in journal articles indexed by the high quality databases, Project Muse and JSTOR. Wikipedia citations are increasing. She also found that some leading humanities scholars were citing Wikipedia. Read all about it, and all the related comments in her blog post Is Wikipedia Becoming a Respectable Academic Resource?

There’s further discussion on this topic in the Open Education News blog post

What do you think? How reputable is Wikipedia?

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