You may have heard your JTCC librarians rant against using sources like Wikipedia for research. Well, there are good reasons for those rants! The World Cup in Brazil gave us one more example of why Wikipedia is fun, but not reliable for research!
Did you watch the final match for the U.S. against Belgium? If so, you know the American goalie, Tim Howard, was the standout player of the match and saved the U.S. from a terrible defeat. Shortly after the loss to Belgium, according to Wikipedia, Mr. Howard obtained quite a distinguished position during the game- the U.S. Secretary of Defense. Because of his recording setting performance, saving 16 of 18 shots on goal during a World Cup quarter final, some of his fans decided he had earned this new title and took to Wikipedia to set things straight.
While this example is pretty funny and lighthearted, it highlights the inherent problems of using a forum like Wikipedia for information, especially when conducting research at the college level. Anyone can edit Wikipedia, and we mean ANYONE! Occurrences like this one have happened before. Comedic news host Stephen Colbert has encouraged similar antics on Wikipedia articles regarding elephants.
Please note, the library has no problem with Wikipedia, but we do want to caution you about the problems that using any wiki source can cause. While some information may be reliable and accurate, some of it is not. If you ever need assistance accessing the resources the library has to offer (you don’t have to worry about the accuracy here!), please contact the librarians on either campus and we will be more than happy to help you find credible sources for college research.
The following articles are available if you would like to read more about the Tim Howard change or Stephen Colbert’s antics:
Thanks for reading the first edition of Webtastic Wednesdays! Look for more posts coming soon! Happy researching!