OCLC Vice President Lorcan Dempsey (@LorcanD) in his blog makes many very good points about the use of Wikipedia, its addressability and the possibility to cite it in academic work.

But there is one in particular that is just hinted to but that I found particularly compelling: the need for academics who use Wikipedia to improve it on the basis of the verification work they did after reading the entry.

I wonder did any of the work involved in separate verification of detail find its way back into Wikipedia?

On the basis of this simple question I make an appeal to the academic world to get involved in making Wikipedia an increasingly better resource. There's no need for actual work, for rewriting entries, or for correcting them radically. Just adding third-party references would help to make it a more sound reference tool for future researchers. And this should not take more than a couple of minutes of our precious research/teaching time.

PS. And if you have more than a couple of minutes to spare take part in this survey about Expert Barriers to Wikipedia.

PPS. Recently Jim Clifford has written on activehistory.ca another, more extensive blog entry about this issue: Do you edit wikipedia?