Sunday, April 15, 2012

Wikipedia and Historians

I am finally getting around to the last issue of Perspectives magazine. I want to applaud AHA President William Cronon's article on Wikipedia. He argues that Wikipedia's content has improved and that it can be a worthwhile source. After all, we know our students use it despite admonitions not to. And the first result of a google search on any historical topic is usually a wikipedia entry. For some years I have been making corrections and additions to Wikipedia articles, although I must admit my contributions have been minimal. Like Cronon, I think it is better to improve the site than it is to ignore it. As professional historians I feel we have some obligation to do so. Ignoring Wikipedia or dismissing it, only sharpens the divide between the historians of the academy and the larger public who obtains some historical knowledge from this source.

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