This week I had to explain to a student what an encyclopedia was. They had used Wikipedia as a source and were surprised to hear that there were these similar sources that had actual editors who vetted the information before it was published...


@mlemweb encyclopedia's have never been reliable as sources. Professional editors are not a guarantee of accuracy, and S
some of the people who edit some articles are experts in their field. I've seen independent comparisons between Wiki and articles on the same subject, which conclude that Wiki articles are more often the better of the two.


I think that this is true to some extent. Certain types of articles are better in on Wikipedia for sure -- especially topics that are still emerging or shifting now where the information may change before they go through the editorial process.

The topic that she was using it for was ancient Mythology which is often muddled in online sources and mixes medieval and renaissance interpretations or even modern pop-culture references into the mix.


The larger problem with this student was that she didn't cite any external source at all and the version of the myth she was referencing in her paper was entirely different than the versions we had given them primary sources for

@mlemweb I saw some similarly bad referencing recently in articles published online by Scientific American and the Guardian. Given how easy it is in hyperlinked media to click your way back to primary sources, compared to what that takes in print media, it's frustrating that referencing habits seem to have got worse overall, not better.

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