To examine the case for the Wikipedia as a major reference tool.Design/methodology/approach – Summarises content of the Wikipedia and looks at the controversy its development has engendered. The controversy is examined with reference to recent press articles and internet postings. The aim is to look at the advantages and disadvantages of the Wikipedia in the light of this controversy, with a view to arriving at a balanced assessment of its value.Findings – Finds that the Wikipedia, through its editorial and up‐keep systems and ability to reflect very recent developments, is a source of unquestioned reference value.Research limitations/implications – The assessment of Wikipedia is brief and the analysis of the controversy surrounding it is confined to a small selection of recent articles and web postings.Practical implications – This assessment provides further exposure of the newly developed Wikipedia and contributes to the growing debate about its value and usefulness.Originality/value – Responds to the growing need for a dispassionate assessment of the Wikipedia and offers informed opinion to library and information workers considering exploiting it as a reference resource.
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