I’m a big fan of Wikipedia. I was happy to report that the dynamic encyclopedia is just as good as Britannica. But there is a limit to what any encyclopedia can tell you. They are excellent places to go for a quick introduction to material that is otherwise unfamiliar to you. For example, if I want a review of cell cycle, I may check out the Wikipedia entry first as a quick refresher. But if I want to really know what’s going on, I’ll crack a textbook or read a review article from a serious scientific journal.
Wikipedia has its uses. One of them is not as a citable reference. I get extremely frustrated when students include citations to Wikipedia (or any other encyclopedia, dictionary, or webpage) in assignments. College students should feel comfortable navigating through the library (both the electronic and paper versions) to find relevant books and journal articles. I’m glad the creator of Wikipedia agrees with me. By the time a student reaches college, he should know how to find the primary source.
(Via Velcro City Tourist Board.)