Wikipedia is a great online resource when looking for a quick answer. However, it shouldn’t be used as a definitive source. Though most criticisms are around the “everyone can edit” part, and I agree completely, I also have issue with the argument Wiki-editors make that Wikipedia is about “verifiability” and not truth. (citation)

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been a Wikipedia editor since September of 2005 and have about 13,000 edits.

As I said, Wikipedia is great for a quick answer or to get a general idea about something. It’s also great to use as a starting point for more in depth research, as the sources referenced can be very reliable (not always though).

However, Wikipedia is just about what can be verified by citing “objective” sources. This means that if anything that has ever been published about something is a complete fabrication, then that is what’s going to end up on Wikipedia.

An example would be for me to write about you on this blog saying that you are a polygamist and eat babies. Since this is a published source, then it will be used in an article on Wikipedia about you. Nice huh?

To make this post related to the subject of the blog, i.e. heraldry, I must bring up the excellent work done by the WikiProject Heraldry and Vexillology. Though the members of this group have contributed greatly to the heraldic wealth of Wikipedia, their greatest contribution (in my humble opinion) is the artwork. The very talented computer graphics designers have created the emblazons for many of the blazons in the online encyclopedia for the world to see. The best part is that these images are freely distributed without any copyright limitations (beyond the normal abuse of another’s arms).

As you may have noticed from past blog posts, I have reused these images many a time and you can do the same. Just make sure to give credit where credit is due.

This repository of heraldic images may be of interest to some of you. I know it has been immensely useful to me as a source of clipart:

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