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Report: More Than One-Third of American Adults Consult Wikipedia

Sara Goo

In case you haven't seen it, there's a new study out by the folks at Pew Internet & American Life Project, who took a look at how often people consult Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia. Although there are many questions about the accuracy of entries on Wikipedia, the survey shows that 50 percent of adult Internet users who are college graduates look up information on the site, compared to 22 percent of those who say they have a high school diploma.

Here's a link to the full study.

Another interesting tidbit that won't come as a surprise to those who are familiar with search engine optimization: Wikipedia gets 70 percent of its traffic from search engines such as Google. As an Internet user, you've probably noticed that Wikipedia entries usually come up high in the search results. That's because Wikipedia is full of links to other Web sites and the number of links on a Web site is one factor that Google's search engine uses to rank the popularity of a site. Not surprising that Wikipedia always tops the list of the most visited sites on the Web.

By Sara Goo  |  April 24, 2007; 2:49 PM ET  | Category:  Sara Goo
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Comments

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It comes as no surprise to me that Wikipedea is as popular as it is. As a college student I have used Wiki many times to get a general overview of whatever topic I need. It is a common instance on campus to hear about someone using Wiki to reserch a possible paper topic or lecture information.

Most however, are smart enough to recognize that in college wiki should only be used as a guide rather than an actual source. Wiki comes first then the real research once you have an idea where you are going.

When it comes time to cultural information? Like Slang or TV show history, Wikipedia is second to none. It's a great resource if say...you want to know everything there is to know about Fox Mulder.

Posted by: Paula | April 25, 2007 9:39 AM

Wikipedia is a way of life. If I'm sorting my music collection and need to know the release order of an artist's CDs, or want to know how much the President is getting paid, Wikipedia has the answers. Questionable articles are normally tagged with a note citing the need for more sources, or better sources, so I know what's not quite right. I look there for a lot of stuff I would have asked Google for first, a couple of years ago.

Posted by: Gonzo, MD | April 25, 2007 11:09 AM

It's a good source -- if it's for something important, it may only point you in the right direction, but it's wonderful. In order to use it, however, you do need to realize that anyone can update it which means that the info found on it does need to be verified. Like Paula said, for pop culture-type things, it's great and usually gives good enough info for common usage/entering into iPods/etc. (though were I do research and article, I'd double-check all the facts).

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2007 8:59 AM

Wiki is great. What is surprising is that more submissions are not being made on more subjects by writers and editors given the demonstrated power of the site.

Posted by: PeaceNow | April 27, 2007 12:49 PM

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