Several US universities ban Wikipedia as primary source

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

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Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Many professors at universities throughout the United States have recently adopted policies prohibiting Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, from being used as a primary source in reports.

Neil Walters, a history professor at Middlebury College claims that vandalism of Wikipedia was used as a source in reports submitted to him.

Walters' department adopted a policy banning the use of Wikipedia as a primary source, while allowing it to be used for background information. Individual professors at other schools, including UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania, have taken up this policy.

Wikipedia contributors regularly review the articles, but with the English version of the site recently reaching 1 million articles, they can rarely take time to protect every entry against subtle vandalism.

Wikipedia's guidelines, and the statements of its founder, Jimmy Wales, have advised against using Wikipedia or other encyclopedias as a primary source.