[Air-l] Wikipedia warning -- Wikipedia is not a reliable information source

Paul Jones pjones at metalab.unc.edu
Mon Dec 5 09:10:39 PST 2005

In our house, we have a World Book from the early 60s. The article on 
television is written by folks from RCA. It barely mentions Farnsworth. 
Many of the articles on the Roman Catholic Church are written and approved 
by the Church. You might imagine what is not in those articles.
When I was in Junior High (now known as Middle School), students regularly 
used only one source -- World Book.
Were these happier times?

This doesn't make up for wikipedia's failings. But I will point out that 
wikipedia's failing are part of a public debate with attempts to make 
corrections and to clarify the use of wikipedia as a primary reference. 
Such was not the case with World Book to my knowledge.

See this article on CNet which has not I think been posted to this list:


Growing pains for Wikipedia
By Daniel Terdiman
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Published: December 5, 2005, 4:00 AM PST

For Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, last week was a tough one. And he's 
going to change the ground rules for the popular anyone-can-contribute 
encyclopedia because of it.

First, in a Nov. 29 op-ed piece in USA Today, a former administrative 
assistant to Robert Kennedy lambasted the free online reference work for 
an article that suggested he may have been involved in the assassinations 
of both Robert F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy.

Then, on Dec. 1, a new flurry of attention came when former MTV VJ and 
podcasting pioneer Adam Curry was accused of anonymously editing out 
references to other people's seminal podcasting work in an article about 
the hot new digital medium. 


                             Paul Jones
 "Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation." Alasdair Gray
  pjones at ibiblio.org   voice: (919) 962-7600     fax: (919) 962-8071

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