Monday, September 19, 2011

Brian Dunning "Start with Wikipedia"

Just found a nice article by Brian Dunning from 2007 about Wikipedia.  While the topic is about finding good quality journal articles, he quickly moves into his opinion, "start with Wikipedia."

Many Wikipedia articles end up being the closest thing to an authoritative consensus that we have on a given subject. Each article continually improves over time until it becomes what Wikipedia describes as the "ideal" article: "balanced, neutral and encyclopedic, containing notable, verifiable knowledge."

Note that I'm no doubt going to be criticized for pointing laypeople toward Wikipedia as a starting point for research, mainly due to the usual criticisms of Wikipedia. But, as I said before, Wikipedia's weakness is also its strength, and I do stand by this recommendation, especially for laypeople of a given subject who don't otherwise have the experience to choose a good starting point.

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