Wikipedia (16)

January 20, 2008

Do you use Wikipedia? Is it to be trusted? Colleges have banned its use on papers because anyone can edit it and insert false information. But does its openness make it defective? Is it ever appropriate to use Wikipedia?

We think yes. And here’s why:

Wikipedia is a great place to get started when you have little information on a topic. When you consult wikipedia, you’re consulting thousands of people who are passionate about sharing information on each topic. The site abounds with timely, accurate information on millions of topics. Plus, the citations may reference additional sources to continue your research.

We do draw the line at using Wikipedia as your main source of information, though. It is a good resource, but it isn’t flawless. It is always good practice to verify Wikipedia information using a second source.

Here is an entry from Wikipedia on Ernest Hemingway viewed on 12/13/07. We tried to verify the highlighted information with another source.


Now, we’d like you all to do the same thing. Onward, to the mission…

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
1. Go to Wikipedia and look for biographical information about Ernest Hemingway.
2. Use a library resource to find a second biography (hint: we looked at an online literature resource last week).
3. Do the facts about his early life match?
4. Do we need a third source? Tell us in the comments.
5. Take the survey.

4 Responses to “Wikipedia (16)”

  1. Suzanne Robinson Says:

    Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Ill., on July 21, 1898. His father was a country physician, who taught his son hunting and fishing; his mother was a religiously puritanical woman, active in church affairs, who led her boy to play the cello and sing in the choir.
    –Ernest Miller Hemingway.
    Encyclopedia of World Biography. Vol. 7. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2004. p274-277. 23 vols — Gale Virtual Library

    The son of an Oak Park, Illinois, doctor, Clarence Edmonds Hemingway, known for his devotion to hunting and fishing, and of Grace Hall Hemingway,
    –Hemingway, Ernest (Miller) (1899-1961).(Reference Source). Author(s):Philip Young and George Perkins. Source:Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia of American Literature 1.(Edition 1, 1991): pp438.– General Reference Center Gold

    Born July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, IL; committed suicide, July 2, 1961, in Ketchum, ID; son of Clarence Edmunds (a physician) and Grace (a music teacher; maiden name, Hall) Hemingway
    Source:Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2005. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale — Literature Resource Center

    That’s all I have time for at the moment. Interesting exercise — Keep up the good work!
    Suzanne @ IN

  2. beth Says:

    For some interesting and not well-known details of Hemingway’s early life with the family, centered around their cabin in northern Michigan, check out this article:
    Title:Up North with the Hemmingways.(Clarence, Grace and Ernest Hemingway)(Biography).
    Author(s):Michael Federspiel.
    Source:Michigan History Magazine 91.5 (Sept-Oct 2007): From General Reference Center Gold.

  3. npljenny Says:

    Interesting that the two Gale sources give a different birth year. Guess we do need a third, or even a fourth, source! And you two rock!

  4. Angia Jones Says:

    I liked the wikipedia resource. I rechecked part of Ernest Hemingway’s early life with a second resource, the NPL online literature resource center. The information was accurate and the facts did match. The online literature resource center offered several pieces of information, on Hemingway, written by different authors. No third source needed in this case, unless you are trying to verify other parts of his life.

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