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Evaluating Specific Resources

Wiki Example

What are they?

Wikis are webpages where many people can contribute and edit content. Be aware that content may not be from reliable authors/organizations/publishers. The wiki site manager may periodically check for inaccuracies in the added content, but there is no guarantee.  Authorship is more difficult to determine on wikis since there are many contributors.

How should they be evaluated?

  • Who is the sponsor or publisher of the wiki? (look at the “About” or "Contact Us" page.)
  • What is the purpose of the wiki? Academic or general interest?
  • Are the identities of the editors available? What are their credentials?
  • Does the wiki include a bibliography? A reference list/citations? Can you access these citations to verify the information on the wiki?
  • Are there are rules for contributing to the content?
  • Does the owner of the site monitor content? 
  • How current are the edits? Is there a “History” or similar tab that allows you to see changes?

Take a few minutes to browse the wiki site below.

Things to consider:

  • Does the wiki provide a "History" tab for visitors to see edits to the page?
  • Are the identities of the editors/contributors available? Can you determine if they are topic experts?
  • Does the wiki provide cross-references (citation information) that you can use to verify the information?
  • Was the page was last edited recently.

If answering yes to these considerations, then chances are the wiki is a source of credible information. If answering no, then you may want to consider an alternate source of information. 

Wiki entry titled Ring a Ring o' Roses which is the history of the song Ring around the roses