is an "open source" website where anyone with an internet connection can create, edit and flag articles for the site. Once considered unacceptable for serious academic research, it is now being used by professors to have their students write entries for the site in lieu of term papers.
While the majority of the entries on the website aren't good, Wikipedia aims to be academically sound. To that end the website has set up an assessment scale on its English language site. The best entries are ranked as "Featured Articles" and showcased on the homepage.
To be ranked as a "Featured Article," Wikipedia said an entry must "provide thorough, well-written coverage of their topic, supported by many references to peer-reviewed publications."
Of more than 10 million articles in 253 languages, only about 2,000 have reached "Featured Article" status, it said.
According to a report by the AFP
, last January, professor Beasley-Murray, who teaches Latin American literature at the University of British Columbia, Canada, promised his students a A+ grade if they could get their literature project titled, "Murder, Madness and Mayhem," accepted as a Wikipdeia Feature Article.
In May, three entries created by nine students in the course became the first student works to reach Wikipedia's top rank.
Their articles, about the book "El SeÃ±or Presidente" by Nobel prize-winning Guatemalan author Miguel Ãngel Asturias, ran May 5 on Wikipedia's home page.
Wikipedia has also designated, but not yet published, a student's biography on Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, and an entry on Gabriel GarcÃa MÃ¡rquez's book, "the General in his Labyrinth."
There are around 70 entries from various academic institutions including Yale University, and they are now registered at Wikipedia. Of course, this is just a small success considering the vast majority of the entries are still not up to fluff to be used for serious academic study.