The Chronicle of Higher Education reported today that Wikipedia’s staff will soon decide whether to add a feature that would make the publicly-editable encyclopedia more useful to students and scholars.
The new feature would allow versions of the encyclopedia’s articles to be frozen so that experts could the verify the information contained on them. The resulting articles, which exist outside the normal timeline of article edits, would be tagged as vetted and expert approved. A similar version of this feature is already being tested on the German Wikipedia to certify articles as free of vandalism.
This could help students cite the pages more reliably, since the information on those pages would not be vulnerable to sudden and complete revision by a passing Wikipedia user. And since many students already use Wikipedia in their bibliographies, even against the advice of the site’s founder Jimmy Wales, this could be a significant addition to the popular site.