We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Its kinda funny - back in college (in '06 - gosh, that sounds soooooo old....) our prof was asked about references for our papers, and Wiki. Prof wanted (at least) 3 per. One intrepid student asked about Wiki - the prof said, sure, but you need an additional one besides Wiki.
I give it a look, for some things, but, am critical of it, since its quite edit-able by anybody whom access the page, and the EDIT links there, and input wrong/questionable/contrary info at will.
I would bet my set of "Great Books" would be considered household waste. In high school I wanted them so much, but my parents would not buy them. When I got a real job, I finally bought them. Now I can get most of them on my Kindle for free. It still was worth it.
My son's Junior Research Project (high school) required at least 16 references. He did it on the growth of peer to peer file exchanges and their impact on the music industry.
He began his work on Wikipedia. I warned him that Wikipedia can provide useful starting points, but is NOT RELIABLE. Real work must be done elsewhere.
I find Wikipedia useful in the same sense I once found Encyclopedia Britannica useful. When I was relaxing, as a kid, I'd make a pot of tea and read it. I still get flak about this kind of behavior because today I love perusing Wikipedia. It's one great advantage (which I'm sure the online Britannica has) is the hyperlinks. When I find a great story, the hyperlinks allow me to read up on other useful or unusual stories related to what I'm enjoying.
My son's project went well, and Wikipedia did very little of the work. It got him started, and that's all I can ask for. Encyclopedias are NOT meant for research papers (as I rudely found out in my first college paper where I cited Encyclopedia Britannica only to receive a massive NO! from my professor), they are meant to get you started....and give you context.
My grandfather, Lenox Lohr, was president of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago for about 25 years. He was a contributor and editor to a 1959 Golden Book encyclopedia for children.
I did many elementary school reports from that encyclopedia. It was so well done, I would read it for hours at a time, just roaming from article to article and volume to volume.
I found a copy in a thrift store for my own kids. Of course a lot of it is out of date. Nathan Hale is still a hero, the North still won the Civil War of The Southern Rebellion Between the States, and it's interesting to see what they predicted 50 years ago vs what actually happened.
I bought my set when they were already 20 years old at at the Salvation Army for $10. They are one of my cherished possessions. I did not go to college, and have become a bit of an autodidact. Sometimes they sit there (the encyclopedia and the collection of great books) just looking pretty. Other times I, like the tea-drinker who posted earlier, just read them for joy. Last Thrusday I started War & Peace. I am enjoying it greatly. Interesting aside though. As we read of the Battle of Austerlitz and as Pierre became a Free Mason and Emperor Alexander appeared as a character I looked each to refresh my memory on Wikipedia. The Wiki explanations helped me uderstand what I was reading; adding to the richness of the novel that I might never had experienced.
We got our utopian world view from World Book. In the seventies, communism looked pretty tasty, and life for girls was a picnic in Saudi Arabia...if you believed World Book's view on those topics. I have had a lot of unlearning to do because of World Book fantasies.
When I bought my current home, I found that the previous owner had left us a set of Britannica, circa 1960. Rather than trash them, I think they will be very important as a knowledge base, one second after access to the internet and Wiki is gone...
In 1986, while I was recuperating from a cerebral aneurysm, my wife bought a 13th edition of [i]Encyclopedia Britannica[i]. She paid $15. The books helped me through a time of readjustment. Article authors include R.L. Stevenson, B.H. Liddell-Hart, J.F.C. Fuller, Leon Trotsky and Lon Chaney. The books are a treasure and will remain so as long as my fingers can turn pages and my eyes read words. Nothing on the internet compares.