First Resource.

The encyclopedia thread got me thinking as to how many people actually use them and that got me thinking about how research has changed dramatically especially due to sites like Wikipedia. When you have a question about a part, a thread, how a component works, where do you go? Do you ask a fellow student/mentor, look it up one an old text book, browse Wikipedia, or any other type of source? What is your first resource?

What is this thing called an ‘encyclopedia’? Is it a noun?


I used encyclopedias through 2nd grade. Between then and Wiki, google and alta vista sufficed. Now Wiki is my ultimate resource.

Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s not fact… Anyone can post… But its USUALLY right… especially pages with references. It is far superior to an encyclopedia because it is VERY current (updated every second).

If I don’t know what something is, I Wiki it. That will give me the gist of what I’m looking for. The links at the bottom of the page rock too, because I can find out more info that way.

So yeah, basically, encyclopedias, in my house, are used for counterweights in various projects, such as catapults, etc.


If it is robotics related (and sometimes even when it isn’t) a search of Chief Delphi is the first thing I do. If that fails, or if the question isn’t of the type found on CD, like something about the production of cheese, I use Wikipedia. If I need further detail than the Wikipedia article offers, I use the references from the Wikipedia article (For example, I located this great site through the Wikipedia article on ‘Coilguns’) If Wikipeda fails to provide an answer (very rare) I tend to use Google. I have a few good reference books lying around (like a basic electronics book from '65), but those are often harder to search for the odd little tidbits I’m curios about or small things I tend to forget (like resistor colour codes). However, the books tend to be better written, making them far better than Wikipedia for learning new things.

hmm. wikipedia is my first. and CD/firstwiki are a very close second because my life is so robotics dominated. i only use google for pictures and stuff.


Depends. In my World Literature class, Wikipedia was (virtually) outlawed as a source. In other classes, it hasn’t been. It often isn’t the first resource anyway, simply because a quick search can find more complete information.

When ever I would write research type paper I would use Wikipedia as a place to confirm infomation from other sites or as a place to get an idea of what direction to look in. I would never site Wikipedia because anyone can enter wrong information.

I almost never use Wikipedia as a source for school things, and if I do, I cross check my information with another site.

(I also like to think that I’ve discouraged my fellow classmates from using Wikipedia, as well…;))

If I’m looking for an answer to something, Google and Wikipedia are great places to start. If their information could be cross-reference-able through multiple [reputable] sites and print media (books, encyclopedias, etc.), then I’ll use the information. But if I need concrete facts right now, I’ll just consult the encyclopedias in my home library.