What is it?
From the words of the official website, http://www.wikipedia.org ",Wikipedia is a multilingual, Web-based free-content encyclopedia project. The name is a portmanteau of the words wiki and encyclopedia. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by volunteers, allowing most articles to be changed by almost anyone with access to the Web site. Its main servers are in Tampa, Florida, with additional servers in Amsterdam and Seoul."
Wikipedia is powered by a wiki. "A wiki is a type of web site that allows the visitors themselves to easily add, remove and otherwise edit and change" the information and content that is contained within the website. A wiki is a powerful tool for collaborative authoring.
Some educators use Wikipedia as part of the course activity and assign students individually or in groups to author new pages to expand Wikipedia's library of subject matter, or edit an existing page for accuracy.
Where to find it?
Wikipedia can be found online at www.wikipedia.org. Access to the pages of Wikipedia is free. Registration is required for those who wish to participate in any authoring activity. Registration is also free.
Wikipedia is a controversial resource. It is one of the most popular information sources online, and ranks as one of the most visited websites on the Internet. Wikipedia has been criticized as an unreliable source of information due to the publicly authored basis of information generation and its reliance upon consensus as a policing mechanism. Proponents of the site have defended the overall quality of Wikipedia as comparable to other long-standing encyclopedic works. Some instructors choose to bar Wikipedia as an information resource for use with course assignments. It is reasonable to expect that students will access Wikipedia, unless such expectations are clearly communicated. In either case, it is appropriate to recommend and provide students with guidance regarding the use and critical evaluation of information sources and the proper methods for citing referenced works.