Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Donate to Wikipedia

It's that time of year - time to pony up for all the great content you've been accessing on the internet through the largest open-source encyclopedia in the history of the world. That's right. Wikipedia is asking for donations to help support the platform and keep the source of information commercial free. Each year the founders and managers of Wikipedia campaign for support, and it's up to the users and curators to support the cause. Despite criticism and admonitions from teachers who tell students they "can't use Wikipedia," the online encyclopedia is an extensive and reliable source of information that is constantly being updated and refined to offer the most comprehensive source of content. Certainly, readers know that when they do an internet search for anything from Lady Gaga on MTV to Lady Catherine in Austen's Pride and Prejudice one of the top sites will always be Wikipedia. That is true because of the unique nature of open source editing by millions of content area experts. The pages of Wikipedia are constantly under review and revision by the very people who are most interested in the content. Thus, on the basis of pure factual information, Wikipedia is a great site. Of course, teachers do have a point in that Wiki should not be used as a primary source for research. The open-source nature of the content means that a single page can't be cited as a source. However, that doesn't mean students shouldn't use it. They should. Wikipedia is a great place to begin research, and students should become skilled at following the sources at the bottom of each page to extend and deepen the process. And with the support of readers, Wikipedia can remain the excellent launching point that it is. And, if you have questions about the "reliability of Wikipedia," you should check out the best source for a comprehensive list of studies on it - Wikipedia.

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