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.
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."