Wikipedia is like Walmart

There was one time when I realized that  I didn’t really know a whole lot about the French Revolution. So I went to Wikipedia, typed in “French Revolution,” and skimmed over the page that came up. There was all the basic information that I needed.

Another time, I needed a toilet plunger. So I went to Walmart, found the section with bathroom supplies, and grabbed a toilet plunger.

Both Wikipedia and Walmart are easy to use, handy, and full of the basic things you will need.

Now, while it seems like Walmart has everything, it really just scratches the surface when it comes to all the things there are in the world that we buy and use. And once I discovered my college’s library database, I realized that Wikipedia, similarly, contains the smallest fraction of the information that is out there.

However, finding information on a library database is like trying to find a toilet plunger in a thrift store.

You might find one with a hole in it. There may be a perfect toilet plunger at a thrift store in Idaho, but how on earth could you know that? You may just happen to walk into the right thrift store and the right time and find your plunger, but then again, you might not.

If you combine the sum total of thrift stores in the country and Walmarts in the country, there would be a much more considerable amount of variety in the thrift stores than the Walmarts. Walmart may be better for buying a toilet plunger, but thrift stores are infinitely better for your antique unicorn collection.

With my library database, there are articles from major newspapers and small scholerly journals and everything under the sun. But finding what you want is very difficult.

At least it has been for me, so far.

From this post I hope you will be able to deduce that I am doing research and I love analogies.

Edit: This is why I can’t find anything–

My library has 102 databases

I clicked on one, called JSTOR. Up came 53 categories of journals I could choose from, such as education, music, or psychology.

Each category had somewhere between 4 and 234 journals.

How many articles are in the archives of one journal? I have no idea.

I am a wee bit overwhelmed.

One response to “Wikipedia is like Walmart

  1. Byran J Smucker

    I don’t know if you’re looking for scholarly research, but is a good place to start looking. It will be easier to navigate and search than the databases.



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