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CCC Libraries Wikipedia Essentials

Use this guide to learn more about CCC Libraries Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon events, and how to edit or add references to Wikipedia articles.

Reliable Sources

Wikipedia requires that articles are supported by "reliable, published sources."

What is a published reliable source?

  • The work itself, such as a book or article
  • Can be a book, audio, video or media material as long as broadcast, distributed by a reputable source 
  • The date of the source is especially important in the sciences and in academic subjects

If you can't find reliable published sources on a topic you should not create an article. Wikipedia has extensive guidelines on the criteria for reliable sources. Some examples:

  • Scholarly articles such as research papers with secondary sources
  • Secondary sources are those that discuss or analyze information presented elsewhere. Examples are articles, books, and textbooks, 
  • Newspaper articles from well known sources
  • Sources should be free of bias. Be careful of "questionable sources"


Evaluating Wikipedia

Is Wikipedia a Good Source?

"It depends." While Wikipedia articles are NOT appropriate sources to cite in college level work, they can be a good starting point for other sources of information. 

Wikipedia is a collaborative effort, and anyone can edit. Because of this, the nature of the articles can change at any time. The quality of articles varies from excellent to poor. Use a few of these tips to evaluate Wikipedia articles.

  • How many editors have contributed to the article? 
  • Does the article appear controversial?
  • Check the article's creation date
  • Is the article's topic well explained?


See more tips for evaluation HERE