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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR seminars will focus on Wikipedia’s positives

TR+public+services+librarian+Tracy+Soto+speaks+to+students+about+how+to+properly+use+Wikipedia.+She+said+features+on+the+site+can+make+it+a+good+place+to+start.%0A%0APeter+Matthews%2FThe+Collegian
TR public services librarian Tracy Soto speaks to students about how to properly use Wikipedia. She said features on the site can make it a good place to start. Peter Matthews/The Collegian

By Sheri-Lee Norris/ campus editor

TR public services librarian Tracy Soto speaks to students about how to properly use Wikipedia. She said features on the site can make it a good place to start. Peter Matthews/The Collegian
TR public services librarian Tracy Soto speaks to students about how to properly use Wikipedia. She said features on the site can make it a good place to start.
Peter Matthews/The Collegian

Technology brings quick answers to almost any question within seconds. 

A favorite website that seems to have all the answers today is Wikipedia. Caution is urged, however, regarding its use in an academic setting.

TR public services librarian Tracy Soto routinely works with students to show them features of Wikipedia that make it a valuable first stop.

“However, it is not an acceptable source for students to cite on papers,” she said. “Unfortunately, many people are unaware of this.”

Wikipedia has an Academic Use Disclaimer on its own website.

“Wikipedia is increasingly used by people in the academic community, from first-year students to professors, as an easy accessible tertiary source … however, Wikipedia is not considered a credible source.”

Historically, a credible source has been defined as one that has proof or supporting evidence, and professors tend to require numerous points of evidence to support a thesis in research papers.

“There are features of Wikipedia that make it an appealing starting point,” Soto said. “It is a great reference if a person needs a broad overview on an unfamiliar topic. It often has many valuable links within the article or footnotes at the bottom that are credible source documents.”

TCC or local public libraries may have books referenced within a Wikipedia article, Soto said.

One of the drawbacks of using this website, according to Soto, is bias.

“Wikipedia is not like the old Encyclopedia Britannica I grew up with,” she said.

Although there are editors all over the world fact-checking, Soto urges students to use it as the beginning and not the end of research. It misses a lot of details that may be important, she said. She suggests students double- or even triple-check information.

Soto will hold two seminars highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of using Wikipedia for research at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 22 and at 6 p.m. Nov. 16 both in TREF 1302. She encourages students to bring questions on projects they are working on this semester to use as working examples.

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