Be Aware Of Wikipedia!

Via WisBlawg, a post titled Student’s Wikipedia Hoax Fools Journalists, Bloggers, writes about an example of unreliability of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. I think it is safe to say that everyone of us, at least once, received the warning to verify information found online against a reputable source. We all heard the advice to always make sure information found online is reliable and authenticated.

This story goes:

When Dublin university student Shane Fitzgerald posted a poetic but phony quote on Wikipedia, he said he was testing how our globalized, increasingly Internet-dependent media was upholding accuracy and accountability in an age of instant news.

His report card: Wikipedia passed. Journalism flunked.

The sociology major’s made-up quote — which he added to the Wikipedia page of Maurice Jarre hours after the French composer’s death March 28 — flew straight on to dozens of U.S. blogs and newspaper Web sites in Britain, Australia and India.

Just to make sure, it is fine to use Wikipedia for a quick look up to gain a general idea of a topic, but to cite to Wikipedia or completely rely on the information found within, without verifying the reliability against a reputable source, well – that is just a gamble! So, let’s warn ourselves once again! And I’ll take advantage now to mention the Pace Law Library Research Assistants Guide that contains a section on evaluating Internet Resources. Take a look!

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