We will talk about the merits and drawbacks of online sources for academic research, using as a starting point a controversy around the online encyclopedia "Wikipedia" that erupted in late 2005. These readings take you through the controversy and some follow-up to set the stage for our discussion.
A False Wikipedia 'Biography'. USA TODAY, November 29, 2005.
An op-ed article by a former newspaper editor named John Seigenthaler Sr. (who lives in Nashville) insisting that he was a victim of character assassination at Wikipedia; his charge set off a flurry of controversy about the online encyclopedia.
It's Online, But Is It True? USA TODAY, December 6, 2005.
This followup article explored whether the problem is really Wikipedia, or just the naivete of those who don't understand its approach and value.
Wikipedia Prankster Confesses. Seattle Times, December 11, 2005.
A Nashville man admits he was the one who put false information into a Wikipedia entry about John Seigenthaler Sr.
Growing Wikipedia Revises Its 'Anyone Can Edit' Policy. New York Times, June 17, 2006.
In the wake of the Seigenthaler controversy, Wikipedia put some entries outside of the ''anyone can edit'' realm.
Internet Encyclopaedias Go Head to Head. Nature, December 14, 2005.
A recent study in the prestigious scientific journal Nature compared the accuracy of Wikipedia with Encyclopedia Brittanica.