Will Wikipedia Wither Traditional Legal Citation?

08 November 2012 Publication

Law Technology News

Wikipedia is an unbelievably popular source of information. This may in part be because search engines prioritize Wikipedia in search results. This month Wikipedia claims it has 23 million articles and that in 2011 the site received an estimated 2.7 billion monthly page views from the U.S. alone. Have you ever wondered who owns the content and the risks of relying on Wikipedia content rather than legal authorities like law review articles or classic legal encyclopedias, or dictionaries?


Wiki is Hawaiian for fast or quick, which of course has nothing to do with what a wiki is. The definition of a wiki on Wikipedia is as good as any: “A wiki is a website which allows its users to add, modify or delete its content via a Web browser usually using a simplified markup language or a rich-text editor. Wikis are powered by wiki software. Most are created collaboratively.”

Ward Cunningham created the first wiki software technology in 1995, naming it WikiWikiWeb after the shuttle bus at Honolulu International Airport, which was called the Wiki Wiki Shuttle.

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