School media specialists & Wikipedia

This is old news now, but the School Library Journal ran a follow-up article on the piece critical of Wikipedia that appeared in the Syracuse Post-Standard.

Tavis Hampton, a media specialist at Longfellow Middle School in Indianapolis, agrees that Wikipedia has its advantages. “Many times the articles in Wikipedia spark new ideas and provide helpful links or references,” he says. “Used in isolation, it is insufficient for research, but I would argue that any encyclopedia is.”

Meanwhile, Jacquie Henry, a library media specialist at Ruben A. Cirillo High School in Walworth, NY, sees her students consulting Wikipedia frequently, but she has her reservations. “[Experienced researchers] know enough to compare what they see on Wikipedia with other sources,” she explains. “I am helping high school students to develop their critical skills–but they are not there yet.”

As for Stagnitta? Although Fasholdt did not misquote her in his article, she says she never intended to dismiss Wikipedia entirely. “The point is to know your source,” she says. Following the Wiki imbroglio, Stagnitta received hundreds of messages–mostly hate mail. Even so, she says, “I’m not sorry that it’s generated controversy. It’s a question we struggle with every day.”

Those of you with Lexis-Nexis access can find the full article there. Would have noticed it sooner, but you know, I tend to pay more attention to openly available sources ;).

So, not surprisingly, librarians think you should be critical of your sources, and journalists think their stories should have hooks. My guess is that both of these things are ultimately good for public discourse.

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