Tag Archives: Wikipedia

Use Library databases—not Wikipedia—for medical research.

Don't use Wikipedia for medical research. Don’t use Wikipedia for medical research.

OK, let’s be honest: If you came home from a walk in the woods and discovered a tick on your skin, where would you turn first for information? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably Wikipedia. By doing so, however, you could be placing yourself at risk. A recent study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that “most Wikipedia articles representing the 10 most costly medical conditions in the United States contain many errors when checked against standard peer-reviewed sources.”1 Moreover, the report’s lead author, Dr. Robert Hasty, concludes that “from a public health standpoint, patients should not use it as a primary resource because those articles do not go through the same peer-review process as medical journals.”2

Use the Library's medical databases. Use the Library’s medical databases.

So where should you turn? The Library subscribes to two databases with authoritative medical information: Consumer Health Complete and Alt HealthWatch.

Consumer Health Complete provides “the single-most comprehensive resource for consumer-oriented health content… covering all areas of health and wellness from mainstream medicine to the many perspectives of complementary, holistic, and integrated medicine.”3

Alt HealthWatch “focuses on the many perspectives of complementary, holistic, and integrated approaches to health care and wellness… with full-text articles for 200 international, and often peer-reviewed, journals and reports.”4

While Dr. Hasty cautions that “the best resource when looking for a diagnosis is to speak with your physician,”5 the Library’s medical databases can provide you with the information you need to be an informed patient. To try Consumer Health Complete, click here; to try Alt HealthWatch, click here.


1Robert T. Hasty et al., “Wikipedia vs. Peer-Reviewed Medical Literature for Information about the 10 Most Costly Medical Conditions,” The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 114, no. 5 (2014): 368, http:www.jaoa.orgcontent1145368.full.

2Mike Campea and Nicole Grady, “Caution Prescribed When Researching Medical Conditions on Wikipedia,” American Osteopathic Association, May 2, 2014, http:www.osteopathic.orginside-aoanews-and-publicationsmedia-center2014-news-releasesPages5-2-caution-prescribed-when-researching-medical-conditions-on-wikipedia.aspx

3“Consumer Health Complete: Informing Patients on Important Health Related Topics to Foster an Understanding of Health,” EBSCO, 2014, http:www.ebscohost.compublicconsumer-health-complete.

4“Alt HealthWatch: An Extensive Resource for Alternative and Holistic Approaches to Health Care and Wellness,” EBSCO, 2014, http:www.ebscohost.comacademicalt-healthwatch.

5Campea, “Caution Prescribed.”












Regent faculty clash at National Library Week debate on Wikipedia

Written by Harold Henkel, Associate Librarian

On April 15th, the Library held its finale event for National Library Week, a faculty debate on the question:

Scholarly Research in Higher Education: What should be the role of Wikipedia?

Three intrepid members of the faculty took up the challenge to address this important question from three points of view:

Library to sponsor essay contest on Scholarly Research in Higher Education and the role of Wikipedia as part of National Library Week 2010

Written by Harold Henkel, Associate Librarian

From April 11th to the 17th, the University and Law Libraries will join libraries across America in celebrating National Library Week, an annual observance sponsored by the American Library Association since 1958. The purpose of National Library Week is to draw attention to the contribution libraries make in the cultural and civic life of our country. This year the national theme for the celebration is “Communities Thrive @ Your Library.” In keeping with this theme, the Library will sponsor a series of events focused on the educational and spiritual aspects of the Regent University community.

As part of our celebration of Regent’s academic community, the Library is sponsoring an essay contest on a topic that continues to provoke debate in the academic world:

Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit,” has always been controversial as a reliable source. A 2005 study by the journal Nature found Wikipedia’s accuracy across scientific disciplines comparable to Britannica, but the lack of verifiable credentials and peer review continues to make Wikipedia’s reliability suspect by many scholars.

Beyond the question of factual reliability there is considerable controversy about the larger implications of Wikipedia, as the following quotes illustrate:

Frankly, and let me be blunt, Wikipedia as a readable product is not for us. It’s for them. It’s for that girl in Africa who can save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around her, but only if she’s empowered with the knowledge to do so.

-Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder, Wikipedia-l mailing list (23 October 2005)

To control the reference sources that people use is to control the way people comprehend the world. Wikipedia may have a benign, even trivial face, but underneath may lie a more sinister and subtle threat to freedom of thought.

-Martin Cohen, philosopher, The Times Higher Educational Supplement (28 August 2008)

Is Wikipedia a revolutionary tool for empowerment through knowledge, as its founder claims, or is philosopher Martin Cohen on to something when he calls Wikipedia an unauthoritative work displaying “all the prejudices and ignorance of its creators”?

The Library invites all interested Regent students, staff, and faculty to submit essays of 500 words or less on the question:

Scholarly Research in Higher Education:
What should be the role of Wikipedia?

The following rules will apply: