A Note on Wikipedia

One of the first things you learn in First Year History is how to tell the difference between different types of sources and to identify the problems that could be found in each of those sources. They might show bias or prejudice, or they might be a kind of propaganda.

Wikipedia can be a very useful tool for finding out more information about a huge range of topics. I use it too! However, it can also sometimes have the same problems that were just mentioned. It would be very easy for anyone to go to a Wikipedia article and edit it to include a few made-up facts or to change facts which were right to something wrong. Most of the time, moderators at Wikipedia are able to detect and correct these kinds of changes, but sometimes they miss them.

If you are using Wikipedia for research, always be careful to keep an eye on what you're reading. If something seems like it might not be true, google it to see if other history websites have the same information. Or, talk to your teacher about it. Not everyone likes using Wikipedia for school work, but because it's one of the most-used websites in the world right now, it's not something teachers can ignore either.

It should go without saying, of course, that if you do use Wikipedia to help you with your work, you shouldn't copy directly from it. Your teacher will know, and there are ways to check!

If a Wikipedia article seems too difficult to understand, that's because many of them (especially for historical topics) are written academically, which means that they are written in the same kind of way that college textbooks might be. Wikipedia has a Simple English option for anyone who doesn't like the more complicated articles on the main site (sometimes they can even confuse teachers). If you're a First, Second or Third Year I would recommend the Simple English version.

I have a few links to Wikipedia scattered throughout the site, only when I couldn't find good information on a particular topic anywhere else. The same rules apply to those links.