Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Users question Wikipedia's reliability

Users question Wikipedia's reliability
By Maria Steinmetz
Publication Date: 03/20/07
Staff Writer

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has created a conflict over whether the information published on the site is reliable.

On the Wikipedia Web site, users are able to edit the information that is provided for the more than one million topics. They are able to add and delete information based on their own knowledge.

Story Body:"Wikipedia reflects a struggle over whether expertise matters more than access in the production of legitimate knowledge," said Christopher Lukasik, an assistant professor of English. "Wikipedia assumes the authority of an encyclopedia without the practices and institutions that currently guarantee and restrict legitimate knowledge production.

"Of course, in doing so, it enables a breadth and accessibility that most of its competitors cannot or will not duplicate," he said.

Students also question the reliability of the information provided by Wikipedia.

"If anyone can edit definitions to say whatever they want, then the source is not reliable," said Nick Weismiller, a sophomore in the College of Liberal Arts. "Also, there is a chance that the information could be altered after you reported on it; then your professors will think you made the whole thing up."

Although students question Wikipedia as a source for research, many still reference the site because it is user-friendly and provides easy access to information. Caitlin Hoefer, a freshman in the College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences, said Wikipedia is convenient despite its flaws.

"I don't think it's a reliable source since anyone can put up stuff or change it, but it is nice because of the variety and information on many topics."

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