Library News for the Faculty of Communication and Culture

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Wikipedia changing its policies on anonymous entries

I'm sure many profs and TA's have been seeing wikipedia articles popping up in student reference lists for the past year or so. For those who haven't seen it, Wikidpedia ( is a free online encyclopedia that is created and edited by anyone who wants to create or edit an entry. The idea is that the user community will police itself, and any erroneous entries will be corrected quickly by users who catch the problems and/or mistakes. Wikipedia has become incredibly popular with students but has been met with great cynicism by librarians and scholars who still like to think there's such a thing as authority.

Some recent publicity about problematic entries has caused Wikipedia creator Jimmy Wales to come to the defence of his product, but he's also changing some of the ground rules for contributing to it. The NY Times tells you more...

An additional article on the risks of Wikipedia.
  • Denning, P., Horning, J., Parnas, D. & Weinstein, L. (2005). Wikipedia Risks. Communications of the ACM. 48(12), 58.
An article from the other side...
I'd love to hear what instructors have to say about Wikipedia. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Are you students using it? Are they aware that anyone can create the content on Wikipedia and that there might be a problem with that? What is the quality of the entries on subjects of your expertise?


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