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Archiver > APG > 2007-12 > 1197343803

From: <>
Subject: Re: [APG] WIKIPEDIA
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2007 21:30:03 -0600
References: <436968.88398.qm@web56110.mail.re3.yahoo.com><475DFFF4.202@prodigy.net>

In my upper level history course at University of Arkansas at Little Rock, I
explain to these senior history majors (!) why Wiipedia is a problem. I
advise them to *use* it all they want . . . for the clues it can give them
or for general background. Kind of like what we do with oral history or an
undocumented family history.

And there is no use telling them NEVER to *use* it, because it's the first
place students check these days. They're going to use it whatever we think.
That's just a fact of modern life.

But, I tell them, when they turn in that final paper, it should not and can
not give Wikipedia as a source for anything, ever. Use Wikipedia, because,
despite what us old fogies say, it's becoming the source of the future, but
use it as a beginning and then go out and find some "real" sources to cite
in papers. And, I add, don't be at all surprised to find things that
disagree with what they read in Wikipedia. THAT's my opportunity to teach
them about evaluating sources.

Regards, Carolyn Earle Billingsley

----- Original Message -----
From: "Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer" <>
To: "Chris Tinney" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Monday, December 10, 2007 9:11 PM
Subject: Re: [APG] WIKIPEDIA

>I can't give you specific citations, because my article file is at work,
> but there are several colleges or college departments that have banned
> the use of Wikipedia as a cited source on papers. Note that they aren't
> cutting off access to Wikipedia; they're just saying it's not a
> scholarly source. At one college, this came about because a history
> professor assigned the same paper topic to all the students in his
> class. When six of the papers contained the same egregious error, he did
> some sleuthing and found that it came from Wikipedia. Many people may
> remember that a few years ago, people in a political campaign edited the
> article about their candidate's opponent to include some false slurs and
> accusations. The problem with Wikipedia is that you can't be sure who
> entered a particular bit of information and what that person's
> credentials are, and a "fact" that a student pulls for a paper may be
> incorrect, but entered so recently that no one has had a chance to
> contest it. The college whose history department has banned it as a
> cited source still says that many articles will give a good overview and
> a good bibliography that can get students started on their research.
> I've spoken with writing and history teachers at the college where I am
> the reference librarian, and they like the idea of banning it as a cited
> source--I think some of them have individually done so.
> Christine
> --
> Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer
> Hyde Park, NY 12538
> Genealogical Writer and Speaker
> Author of Long Distance Genealogy:
> Researching Your Ancestors from Home
> http://www.familytreemagazine.com/store/
> .
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