Prior to reading the assigned articles I have always been skeptical of using Wikipedia as a reliable source. When I first began to explore the internet and discovering information online, Wikipedia seemed like the perfect source. It had all the important information on almost any topic you can think off. However as I began to learn more about which information you can trust online and which you cannot, I began to back away from Wikipedia when looking for reliable information. This September I will be entering my fourth year of university and after countless research papers I now consider myself a pro at finding reliable information online. Through the use of academic journals and various online databases we have access to a wide variety of peer reviewed scholarly articles. These are the most reliable sources of information usually as they are scientific studies that use evidence and research to back their argument. Online we must beware of sites that claim to know the answers but are simply someone stating their opinion with little facts or evidence to meet their claims. This is why I have stayed away from Wikipedia as anyone can change the information posted at anytime. As the article What’s on Wikipedia and what’s not argues, Wikipedia’s information often has perspective/interest biases behind it as anyone can add information to Wikipedia, regardless of research or evidence to back it up.
Reading these articles did not change the way I view Wikipedia’s information as I have always known it is not the most reliable. However following the readings, I began to worry as the article Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812 states that Wikipedia is now the worlds most dominant education resource with hundreds of millions of users. These users tend to ignore scholarly and historical information and use Wikipedia. This is a worry as many people use Wikipedia as they assume its factual information however they are unaware how the information gets to Wikipedia and who writes it. Internet users must possess media literacy skills in order to understand the online world and the different perspectives and biases of some of the information online.
Another reason I worry is brought up in the article The Social Life of Documents. The article states that documents are changing entirely during the switch from paper documents to online ones. This allows for greater access to the document to a wider audience of people. Thus if this information is incorrect or strongly biased, a wide variety of people will be exposed to it.
With the Internet now one of the easiest and quickest ways to obtain information it is important we are informed about not only the information, but who has produced the information and for what reason. People must understand how the information gets on Wikipedia and where it comes from in order to make informed educated decisions on weather it is accurate or not.
Royal, C. & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not . . . ?: Assessing Completeness of Information. Social Science Computer Review. 27, 1. pp 138-148.
Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. Journal of Military History. 76, 1. pp 1165-1182
Brown, J. S. & P. Duguid. (1996). The Social Life of Documents. First Monday. 1, 1.