Wikipedia in the Legal Research Classroom
No matter how many reliable research strategies they are taught, the new generation of law students (and attorneys) often use Wikipedia as a starting point for their legal research. Detailed Wikipedia pages for primary law are being edited every day; they can’t be ignored even as we attempt to teach students advanced research skills. Instead, we can examine the information and sources of information on these Wikipedia pages. This session will breakdown the type of legal pages that currently appear on Wikipedia and the type of information available on these pages. The “legislative history” infobox on statutory Wikipedia pages will be evaluated for the scope of information available and the range of hyperlinked sources of information. The session will conclude with strategies for dealing with Wikipedia’s presence in the legal research classroom. Participants will leave the session with a clear understanding of what students are seeing on legal Wikipedia pages and ideas for facing the unique challenge of Wikipedia as a research tool. Attendees don’t need any prior knowledge before attending this session, just a desire to hear more about an online source that is disliked by educators everywhere!
- Participants will be able to understand how a new generation of law students interacts with Wikipedia.
- Participants will be able to identify the different types of legal Wikipedia entries and the information covered by these entries.
- Participants will gain insight into the sources of information being used by legal Wikipedia entries.
- Participants will be presented with strategies for incorporating Wikipedia into the legal research classroom.