Wikipedia has been known to be an internet link that has helped various individuals in their research but it is not acceptable for law research and essays. This essay will show the brief history of Wikipedia, the reasons for and against Wikipedia being used as a source for essays especially law essays and it will also go further to show and discuss links that can be substituted for legal research and law essays, comparisons will also be made. To begin with Wikipedia is an internet source where all sorts of information can be gotten from either for research or just to obtain knowledge for general purposes.
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Wikipedia was formally launched on the 15th of January, 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger but its technological and conceptual underpinnings predate this. The earliest known proposal for an online encyclopedia was made by Rick Gates in 1993, but the concept of a free online encyclopedia was proposed by Richard Stallman in December 2000. In 2001, the license for Nupedia was changed to GFDL, and Wales and Sanger launched Wikipedia using the concept and technology of a wiki pioneered in 1995 by Ward Cunningham. Initially, Wikipedia was intended to complement Nupedia, an online encyclopedia project edited only by experts providing additional draft articles and ideas for it. In practice, Wikipedia overtook Nupedia, becoming a global project in multiple languages and inspiring a wide range of other online reference projects. As of April 2014, Wikipedia includes over 31.2 million freely usable articles in 287 languages that have been written by over 45 million registered users and numerous anonymous contributors worldwide. One of the major reasons Wikipedia can be considered as good source for research is that all the information that can be found on Wikipedia is referenced which gives the researcher various links to look up the particular topic that is being researched. Wikipedia is also free for all to use online. Articles are often added quickly and, as a result, coverage of current events and new technology in particular is quite extensive. Printed encyclopedias can take years to add new entries and those entries may not cover a topic in as exhaustive detail as those in Wikipedia. Wikipedia is also easy to use and it is easy to comprehend given the fact that it can be translated into different languages that people are most comfortable with which is one of the reasons it is being used worldwide. Not only this but the articles found in Wikipedia are extensive, comprehensive and most times may not be gotten from any other links which is why students may be tempted to use Wikipedia for their research. Never the less Wikipedia is not an advisable website for research especially law and legal research. This is so because most of the information gotten from Wikipedia could be edited by anyone which could put the person carrying out a research at an high risk of getting wrong facts and information.
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