Skip to Main Content

HST 110/111: World Civilizations I & II

When is Wikipedia Useful?

Wikipedia Pros:

  • It can be a useful place to start when you don't know much about a topic.
  • It's great for gathering general background information. 

Wikipedia Cons:

  • Articles can be written and edited by anyone.
  • There is NO WAY to guarantee the author’s expertise.
  • Unlike the library’s online encyclopedias, content in Wikipedia is dynamic, and can change at any time.

Wikipedia's best uses: 

  • As a Starting Point - Wikipedia can give you background information on a topic, as well as perspectives you can use when formulating a research topic. You should not cite Wikipedia as a source for your research. You should always validate anything you use for research in a reliable source.
  • Finding Sources - The reference list at the bottom of a Wikipedia page is a great method for finding other sources on the topic, including academic journal articles, news sources, and even primary sources. Even if there are no actual links to these sources, you can search for these sources in the library databases, or Google.


For more information on contributing to Wikipedia, see Editing and Contributing to Wikipedia, from Cornell University.

For more information on Wikipedia inaccuracies, see: 25 Biggest Blunders in Wikipedia History

chat loading...