Why Wikipedia Kicks Other Sources’ Butts


Wikipedia is the bane of the existence of many a stalwart librarian and many and more a stalwart educator. It is maligned and banned and blocked and forbidden in as many ways as possible.

Unfortunately, this whole mindset against the might of Wikipedia is utterly and completely doomed to failure and all you out there in the blogosphere who don’t like it may as well get used to it. The reason is utterly simple and has been inscribed for everyone to read since 1979 when the eminent scholar Douglas Adams penned these words in the novelization of his wildly successful radio play “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

Here, for your edification, the reason why Wikipedia kicks every other source’s butt. Please feel free to insert “Wikipedia” and “your favorite wildly expensive database no one uses” in the appropriate places:

In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch Hiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects.

First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words Don’t Panic inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.

And who, besides all us sci-fi nerds, would have ever thought ol’ Dougie boy was such a profound philosopher?

Wash your feet while you think this one over, y’all 🙂

One response »

  1. I always tell students doing research something like this:

    “You can use Wikipedia to clarify something you don’t understand, to get an idea of other places to look for information, and to do preliminary research. Just don’t cite it. Instead, if it is a good Wikipedia page, look at the citations listed at the bottom. Go to those websites and cite those.

    Wikipedia is the embodiment of the phrase ‘Trust but verify’. It should be accurate, but double check it.”

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