Can We Trust Wikipedia?


  • Michael Upshall


The dominance of Wikipedia as the default reference source is so great that all commercial encyclopaedias have been eclipsed by it. The sheer scale, and the editorial model of Wikipedia that led to its dominance, have rather masked some drawbacks of it. This article suggests some of those drawbacks that any information professional should be aware of.

Scholars and critics have commented on and frequently condemned the Wikipedia editorial model (many of them summarised in Wikipedia’s own article ‘Criticism of Wikipedia’) but paradoxically, the greatest threat to Wikipedia as the default reference source for general information is, I believe, the very technology that brought it into being: the Internet, in its latest incarnation as the Semantic Web.