Internet tool proves useful resource
Wikipedia has long been criticized as being an unreliable source of information and its usefulness as a reference is routinely questioned.
But there is no denying that Wikipedia has changed the way people use the Internet.
Despite all of the criticism, Wikipedia remains one of the most popular sites on the Web.
Google announced Feb. 17 that it would donate $2 million to support the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit entity that oversees Wikipedia. This marks the first time Google has given money to Wikipedia.
Google has always pursued revolutionary technology that directly relates to the masses.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said Wikipedia is “one of the greatest triumphs of the Internet,” and that “this vast repository of community generated content is an invaluable resource to anyone who is online” in a press release announcing the donation.
Wikipedia has about 14 million articles published, edited by some 100,000 users in about 270 languages.
The anonymity of authors and editors is one reason the Web site receives criticism, but Wikipedia officials have acknowledged that the Web site should not be used as a primary source of information for research.
But there are a number of references listed at the bottom of each page that can be checked and referred when investigating the content’s validity.
Wikipedia has truly changed the way people access resources online, making it easy for them to gain knowledge quickly and in a user-friendly fashion.
Each page of the Web site does not follow any scientific methodology for display of information, but rather is to the point and apt. Using Wikipedia for academic purposes is not recommended; research papers require a sound backing of genuine, authorized content.
But using the Web site as a general reference tool is definitely encouraged.
If an art student wanted to know something about Faraday’s Laws, where do you think he would go first? And how many times has someone ended up finding information on Wikipedia while searching for something that’s totally alien to them?
Wikipedia provides a good idea of the issues or topics on its multitude of pages, and it also serves to develop a healthy understanding of new things.
The long and short of it is that Wikipedia is a good source of information that can be used to obtain news and data on topics ranging from arts to anthropology.
Gautami Bhatt is an engineering graduate student and may be contacted at [email protected]