If it wasn’t obvious before, now it should be without a doubt. Wikipedia isn’t a source of research, at least not as the end all authoritative voice.

During a speech at the University of Pennsylvania back in June, Wikipedia’’s founder, Jimmy Wales, warned students against using the online encyclopedia as an academic source for class projects or serious research.

In the speach entitled ““The Hyperlinked Society,”“ Wales cited that he gets about 10 e-mails a week from students complaining that Wikipedia got them into trouble.

““They say, Please help me. I got an F on my paper because I cited Wikipedia and the information turned out to be wrong,”” Wales told The Chronicle of Higher Education. But he said he has no sympathy for their plight, noting that he thinks to himself, “For God sake, you’re in college; don’’t cite the encyclopedia.”“

It’s funny to me that some people don’t realize what Wikipedia is, it even came up in conversation earlier tonight.

To understand what it is, you need to understand what a wiki is. A wiki is a electronic collaborative authoring tool that operates on websites allowing visitors to easily add, edit and remove content often without registration. The idea being that everyone that visits adds their piece and makes the whole picture.

So Wiki-pedia is an encyclopedia that anyone can add, edit or remove content from… meaning that if anyone can do it– a while back someone played a prank on a co-worker by stating that the co-worker was once the prime suspect in John F. Kennedy’s assassination… it went a little too far and a lawsuit emerged– then maybe you don’t want it to be using it as a citation.

So wise up, use it as a spring board, but don’t stop there. It seems obvious, but apparently it’s still a rash on acedamia.