A confession: I look at Wikipedia nearly every day. Whether I want information on classic films, historical figures, a region of the world or almost anything I can think of, it's likely to contain an article that's relevant to my interests. So where's the problem?

As you may know, Wikipedia's main flaw (at least in an academic context) is that it can be edited by anyone, meaning that novices and experts on a topic operate from a level playing field. This means that the quality of the articles it contains can vary from excellent to worryingly inaccurate. This inconsistency has led to a massive amount of discussion over the value of Wikipedia, as these two articles - A Stand Against Wikipedia and Can Wikipedia Ever Make The Grade? - illustrate very well.

The moral? Wikipedia has its uses as a place to find a 'quick and dirty' overview of a topic, but for academic research you would be well advised to stick to more trustworthy sources. Still not convinced? Then look at what Wikipedia's founder has to say...


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