… Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that differs from other encyclopedias in a significant way: along with reading the articles in Wikipedia, anyone can add or edit articles however they like. According to their web site, Wikipedia was created in 2001 and has since grown to be one of the largest sites on the web, passing one million entries in the English-language version of the encyclopedia in March of 2006. ...
Limitations and Advantages of Wikipedia
Many of the articles in Wikipedia are long and comprehensive, and many entries exist in Wikipedia for which no equivalent entry may be found in any other encyclopedia. As a result, it can be quite tempting for students to use the information found there in essays and lab reports. Those who would do so, however, are advised to use caution. While Wikipedia is without question a valuable and informative resource, there is an important concern to take into account when using it:
Because anyone can add or change content, there is an inherent lack of reliability and stability to Wikipedia. Authors of articles may not necessarily be experts on the topics they write about, leaving a lot of room for errors, misinformation, and bias.
The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, has recently stressed that Wikipedia may not be suitable for academic uses, saying, "It is pretty good, but you have to be careful with it. It's good enough knowledge, depending on what your purpose is."…
Excerpted with permission from:
"Using Wikipedia." Carlton College. Carlton College. 26 Jan. 2007. Web. 14 Mar. 2007.