Today’s comic on xkcd is a pithy statement on modern knowledge. It’s funny, yes, but it’s still true. There really is a growing shift from books to centralized sources like Wikipedia. It’s easier to access, so why look further?
But there’s also a downside. To put it simply, Wikipedia isn’t a trustworthy source. The collective wisdom of the crowd might be a good thing, but the collective bias is not. Just in the past couple weeks we’ve seen an example of this when supporters of Sarah Palin were editing the entry on Paul Revere to match her somewhat inaccurate statements while other users undid the changes.