References and Wikipedia

A quick but important note about References on Littlesis.

From now on we’re encouraging Littlesis analysts to only use original sources when contributing data. Sites like Wikipedia that aggregate information from elsewhere without requiring documentation, though abundant with largely accurate information, are less useful to Littlesis users looking to verify information.

Wikipedia pages often contain inadequate documentation of the info they contain. When a reference is provided at the bottom, it’s often not directly linked to the relevant text above. Moreover, Wikipedia pages often change, and information that you source one day might be gone the next. And as we all know, Wikipedia is still considered an illegitimate source of information in many circles.

I personally love Wikipedia and use it for learning all the time. I often feel it’s the most useful public website in existence. And Littlesis probably wouldn’t be possible without the crowdsourcing success story of Wikipedia paving the way. But for documenting my work on Littlesis, it’s more helpful to others if I enter sources that will allow other users to quickly confirm my info if they so desire.

Of course, Wikipedia is often the best starting point to look for original sources. And we still encourage you to add Wikipedia pages as references to an entity’s profile directly, just not as the only source for a relationship or other important piece of info. The ‘References’ section on any profile contains a details link at the top that allows you (if you are logged in) to add new references independently of the entity and relationship editing process. For example:

Soon you’ll see an adviso like “original sources only — not Wikipedia!” below the ‘Source URL’ field in editing forms. Understand we’re not hating on everyone’s favorite ‘pedia, just trying to keep it real.