Wikipedia: Community Driven Knowledge
Once upon a time; in what seems like a hundred years ago, researching a topic use to be a bit cumbersome. Prior to the convenience of the internet, one would have to rely solely on finding information through physical informational means (such as the encyclopedia or going to the library to scour any resources that may or may not have been available); both of which are highly inconvenient. Have you ever come across a subject in which you were not able to find an answer to on the internet? The frustration is easy to feel if you have. We luckily live in the digital age and information is being created faster than we can consume it.
If there is a subject that you are unsure of or are interested in; enter the community driven website, Wikipedia. The online Encyclopedia offers information on a vast variety of information that is driven by the online community; anyone can submit, edit, or flag information in Wikipedia. On any given site within Wikipedia, you can view the information about the subject, when it was created/edited, and the sources in which were used to extract the information.
The pros of Wikipedia are easy to spot; it is convenient, accessible, vast, community driven, and it lists its sources; however, it’s biggest pro can also be it’s biggest con….the community. Many educators stray away from allowing students cite Wikipedia as a resource because of the right of the online community to allow article submissions and edits on the website. While Wikipedia does a fantastic job in keeping submission standards it does not rate the quality of sources cited. That could mean that articles published may contain the inaccurate information. Another pitfall (related to the community) is that anyone can easily submit articles, which means that special interest groups and biased information can easily make its way onto the website.
So what’s the verdict?
Although the reliability of Wikipedia’s sources can be skewed by special interest groups or biased individuals, Wikipedia is an incredibly vast resource to find information on what seems to be virtually any subject. Whether you are looking to find a quick answer to a question or looking to expand your personal knowledge, Wikipedia is readily available for you to explore. If you have never come across Wikipedia, give it a try by: following the link to https://www.wikipedia.org/, simply type Wikipedia into your preferred search engine, or download the mobile app. Never feel unsure about a subject again! The information you are looking for is out there and it is most likely on Wikipedia.