Azati Prime wrote:Wikipedia is just as accurate as Britanica for scientific facts.
Which is why, if you are writing a paper, you should never cite an encyclopedia. They are often a useful place to begin -- they summarize a topic, and provide citations to primary sources (or at least to sources that cite primary sources). The Handbook of North American Indians
, published by the Smithsonian years ago, is a great place to start
research -- the articles in this encyclopedia like series are all written by experts in their geographical areas. I would never cite The Handbook
in a serious paper, however. It, like all other encyclopedias, is not there to provide in depth information for research.
Having said that, I am disinclined to trust Wikipedia for anything even remotely controversial. The editors do their best, but there is no one that can actually be held accountable if information is incorrect, or vandalized. There is too much potential for misinformation (especially in politics -- how many Congressional aides are tasked with editing their bosses Wikipedia entries?).