Monthly Archives: August 2016

The Unreliable Internet

A few months ago, one of my 8th grade students wrote a short essay for me. He has an unexplainable obsession with Dartmouth and ask to write something comparing it to Columbia. In the first sentence he read aloud to me he had written, “Dartmouth University….”

I said, “Stop.”

I sighed.

I said, “I told you not to use Wikipedia!”

Yesterday I was trying to find information on President William Howard Taft’s relationship with African Americans. I had read a few things that had made me very uncomfortable. I googled. The first site I clicked on seemed legitimate. It’s title was something like, “African Americans and the Presidency.” It had numerous scholarly articles and a page with an essay on each President. I clicked on Taft. The first sentence said, “Vice President Taft…” I shook my head and glanced through the rest of the page. It made several references to Vice President Taft. Fortunately for my research, I already know that Taft was never Vice President.

If I hadn’t known this, I probably would have taken notes from this site. It’s hard to believe that someone who spent so much time on the appearance of their website could spend so little time double checking its contents. But there it is. Over and over again. Double check. Better yet, triple check.

 

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