Founder of Wikipedia Advises Against Academic Use of Wiki

The Chronical of Education posted a note today about Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales. According to The Chronicle's note, Wales has stated that he wants to get a message out to college students, letting them know that they shouldn’t use Wiki either for class projects or for serious research. Speaking at a conference held at the University of Pennsylvania on Friday called “The Hyperlinked Society,” Mr. Wales said that he gets a number of e-mails each week from students who complain that Wikipedia has gotten them into academic trouble. However, he said that he has no sympathy for their misfortune, noting that he thinks to himself: “For God sake, you’re in college; don’t cite the encyclopedia.

Mr. Wales said that leaders of Wikipedia have considered putting together a fact sheet so that professors could pass it out in their classes to explain what Wikipedia is, and that it is not always a definitive academic resource. In an interview, Mr. Wales said that Wikipedia is suitable for many uses. For example, if you are reading a novel that mentions a particular historical event, you could use Wikipedia to get a quick basic overview of that event to understand the context. But students who are actually writing a paper about that event should rely instead upon the authority of history books.


Hi Patrick,

Jimmy said “For God sake, you’re in college; don’t cite the encyclopedia.” and this includes every encyclopedia, including the one from Chicago.


After re-reading, you're absolutely right. Thanks very much for pointing this out so that I can correct it ! Patrick