Scandalous! Librarian Endorses Wikipedia!

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Photo by Carol Schapiro.

Wikipedia is the best thing since sliced bread.  There, I said it!  When it comes to giving you ready answers to pressing questions, like the names of all seven wives of King Henry VII, or all seven husbands of Elizabeth Taylor, Wikipedia is the bomb!

Librarians use it all the time, but they do it in private, like it’s a dirty little secret.  Just yesterday, I needed to know the Georgian surname of Joseph Stalin ( Jugashvili) before he changed his name to the Russian word meaning “man of steel”.  It was easy.  Thank you, Wikipedia!

People may tell you Wikipedia is no good, because pages can be edited by regular folk, who are neither scholarly nor expert.  They will tell you that the pages can be edited by mischief-makers who are intentionally trying to misinform you to make you look like an idiot.  This, admittedly, is true.  Some pages, however, are restricted, such that only administrators or registered users are allowed to edit them.  These pages are indicated by a lock icon in the upper right corner.

2014-05-28 10_13_41-Jay-Z - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaPages that are “locked down” are more reliable, as they are more tamper-proof.  Thank you, fans of Jay-Z.

So, what am I suggesting you do with Wikipedia?  It’s great for settling a bar bet, and it’s great for giving you context.  You, my darlings, are young.  If you haven’t lived through a time period, or experienced something yourself, how can you appreciate it?  (Example: The Vietnam War was the most important event of a generation, and now it is reduced to two pages in a global history book.  Sorry, I digress.)  So you have to read up, kids.  Wikipedia will give you background.

I am NOT suggesting you cut and paste Wikipedia into your work (because if you do, you will be so busted), but you can always check out the hyperlinks at the bottom of the Wikipedia page for additional citable resources. Remember, Wikipedia is a great starting place, but it shouldn’t be your end destination.

If you are allowed to use an encyclopedia in your assignment, please do so.  Touro Libraries has many resources that will be appreciated by your professors.

Online you can find:

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Encyclopedia Americana

Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia

We also have many print encyclopedias dedicated to specific topics, which are located among our reference books.  Examples of these are:

The Encyclopedia of Political Science

The Encyclopedia of Religion in America

Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America

You can find additional topic specific encyclopedias by doing a keyword search in the advanced search of our catalog, with the location set to Reference at your branch library.

E.g.2014-04-07 09_16_40-Touro Libraries _COLLEGE



Contributed by: Carol Schapiro, Librarian, Midtown Library

2 thoughts on “Scandalous! Librarian Endorses Wikipedia!

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