(sorry for the late response)
I distinctly remember my editors saying, “Never use Wikipedia as your source.” As I pondered how newspapers actually found their information on my first day of my internship, it occurred to me that there was somewhat of a stigma when it comes to the wiki pages we have grown so found of.
In college, having surface information on a variety of topics is crucial to almost every subject we take. Wikipedia has been a foundation for millions because of its ability to spit out information at the drop of a hat. But when we examine whether this information is entirely true, the tables start to turn. Who has the final say on Wikipedia? Who are these editors? Do the have backgrounds as historians, journalists, and political experts?
We may never know the answers to these questions, but lets take the site at face value and see what we find, and what we find to be missing.
My search began with a simple “Anne Frank” search. Not a historical event per say, though, a historical figure to say the least. I read a couple books on Anne Frank in elementary school and remembered some key details of her childhood and early life.
Wikipedia was able to flush out the important details of Ms Frank’s life: her birthday, where she lived, her infamous diary’s details. The bibliography entailed BBC articles, books, and pdf that the information was taken from.
I found the sources to be legitimate though, I still had questions on how the information was compiled.
We began to talk about in class who controls this uber popular site and its information. Although a great platform to grab quick facts about a person, place, war or religion, no one site can have all the credible information to make a subject absolutely truthful, renowned and complete. I think that considering there are groups of people controlling the contents makes the site less credible.
I don’t think that Wikipedia will ever been a sole source for credible information. There is too much skepticism when it comes to the site. There may very well be correct facts on each page, but the overall validity of the sources will continue to be scrutinized by experts. Also, the site can be manipulated by various outside sources, whereas a book is written by a historian or the author himself or herself.