Wikipedia is a valuable resource for quickly finding out about a topic, and then for delving into primary resources for deeper information
Cost: Free (donations welcome)
Started in 2001, Wikipedia (in English) now has nearly 5 million articles and over 37 million pages in total. Here’s an example of an article on Wikipedia.
Every page in Wikipedia can be “edited”, which means it is constantly evolving and growing and can be kept up to date. To edit Wikipedia, you simply select the Edit button.
To edit the page, you will need to use the Wikipedia mark-up language (see screenshot below).
If you are not logged in, your IP address is tracked. If you are logged in, your edits will be attributed to a user name in the View History (see screenshot below).
Because Wikipedia has been created by individuals, its credibility is often questioned, particularly as there have been some high profile cases of incorrect information being added to it. However, a number of studies have showed that Wikipedia is at least as reliable as other encyclopaedias, such as Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Guides & Resources
- Wikipedia Editing Tutorial
- Special Report Internet encyclopaedias go head to head, Nature, 2005
- Seven years after Nature, pilot study compares Wikipedia favorably to other encyclopedias in three languages, Wikimedia blog, August 2012
- From My Dirty Little Secret to My Favorite Tool for E-Pedagogy: How One University Professor Learned to Love Wikipedia, Jonathan Obar, November 2011