Well, we’ve been told all throughout college, and especially in library school, that Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Yes, it is a jumping off point, but it is in no way the end result for finding information on a particular subject. And why is that? Well, user-generated content is susceptible to tampering. Anyone can change the information at any time, if they are a wiki-editor. Plus people can enter their biases – and if it isn’t fact-checked right away, those leanings are left for others to read as gospel.
But, Wikis are awesome places for specific information. One of my favorites is the Birmingham, Alabama Wiki. It has a lot of great local info, and I have found out a lot of random, previously-never-heard of folklore about the area by going down a rabbit hole on the site. Although she has outgrown the subject, my daughter was previously SUPER into My Little Pony. Since she was buying comic books and watching the show, my husband and I were somewhat sucked into the story line. (I know, I know.) We found the My Little Pony Wiki was immensely helpful, and answered all of my girl’s questions about the characters or the plot lines that related to the show or comic. And, the nerd in me loves WikiBooks. Open access! To books!
As someone who believes in open access to information, wikis are a wonderful resource. They give the internet-everyman power to create subject guides on whatever they want. Should you check their sources? Absolutely. But intrinsically, the idea of the wikispace is a platform for open access and allows the creator license to make something that they see as worthy information to share with the public. If you believe that information is power, and information should be transparent and shared with the masses, wikispaces are a great place to start. Look at this list. Aren’t they fun? There are wikis you didn’t even know you needed.