Now, here’s an interesting looking book, and this first couple of paragraphs sums up a lot:
The relationship between academics and Wikipedia is a complex one. At one level we love it: however much some of us may deny it, we all use it, at the very least as a route to other information, and often as a way to start to get an idea about something new. At another level we hate it, knowing how unreliable it is and knowing how much students are likely to rely on it.
So what do we do? For many academics it becomes a pragmatic exercise. We accept Wikipedia, we use Wikipedia – and we tell our students to use it with a great deal of care, particularly in terms of reliability of information. “Never cite Wikipedia” is pretty much a mantra. And yet although we thoroughly question the reliability of the information, do we question the Wikipedia project itself? Do we ask what lies behind Wikipedia – or what the project itself really means? It often seems as though Wikipedia is part of the furniture or even part of the environment: taken for granted, on its own terms. Its collaborative “openness” is seen as admirable, its neutrality accepted and respected – without either that openness or that neutrality really being critically examined or questioned.
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