As a lifelong university student, I have never been without scholarly articles and quality information. I remember starting college when the World Wide Web was still young and reading articles online for the first time. Forget homework! I had my nose in some research article or op-ed piece about the desperate state of something. I love learning.
But so do many other people. They just don’t have equal access to information as I do…or did. Now I’m locked out. My guilty pleasure of swiftly replacing citations on Wikipedia with more valid sources is now more challenging.
What is the difference between a valid source and what I can find just by googling it? Well, published articles in journals have hefty weight. Most are peer reviewed and some are juried, so the content cannot be too ‘creative’ or far from the ‘truth’. On the other hand, people can say anything on the Internet. I can say I’m a dog, and you’d have to believe me. I could also say I have purple spots and ride a pineapple. Or take some of the election 2016 content. You get the point.
Being that anyone on the Internet can say anything, providing free, quality knowledge to people can be a challenge. This hits me right at my core beliefs: education and equity.
We are insanely privileged. We all may fuss about our clothes, our houses, or our cars, but we have access to quality knowledge. We have books in our homes. We have libraries. We have Internet access. Education is a human right, but only accessible to the privileged.
I am trying to change that. I hope you do too. Instead of just reading Wikipedia from now on, make an edit each time you read. Together we are greater than the sum of our parts. We can provide a free, quality education through Wikipedia.
If you can’t edit, keep me editing! Consider donating to help me purchase remote access to my alma maters’s databases so I can keep updating those citations. I greatly appreciate it!