Wikipedia
Should universities ban students from using this site for research?

Last month the history faculty at Middlebury College, a small, high-minded, high-priced institution in woody Vermont, voted to ban undergraduates from citing Wikipedia in their research papers.

 

    “Whereas Wikipedia is extraordinarily convenient and, for some general purposes, extremely useful,     it nonetheless suffers inevitably from inaccuracies deriving in large measure from its unique manner     of compilation,” the statement reads. “Students are responsible for the accuracy of information they     provide, and they cannot point to Wikipedia or any similar source that may appear in the future to         escape the consequences of errors.”

 In this article at The Guardian, John Sutherland,  discusses  the history faculty banning of Wikipedia:

The practice [citing Wikipedia in their research papers] had evidently reached epidemic proportions. Students perhaps were wondering why they needed to go all the way to the library when they could get what they needed with a keystroke, without even bothering to unhook their iPods.

The Middlebury ban provoked a predictable culture clash: on the one side the whiskery ‘old’ authoritarian, wielding the censor’s scissors, and on the other, the cyber-libertarians. Think Catholic Church, think Galileo, think Index Librorum Prohibitorum. (read full article)

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Don J. Wyatt, the chairman of the history department, explain the reasons of the new policy, what it means for students and what it augurs for Wikipedia.

“The problem with  Wikipedia, in many scholars’ eyes, is its open editing system. The site permits unregistered,     anonymous users to edit content alongside more respected contributors. While several studies and informal surveys have found that Wikipedia is nearly as accurate as many hard-bound encyclopedias, professors often say the Web site’s freewheeling nature makes it too easy for errors to be introduced.” (read full article)

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