Can websites, wikis, and apps replace traditional reference sources?
“What’s the point of buying a textbook when all the information I need is available online for free?” asks John Beck, a second year medical student at the University of Sheffield.
Glasgow medic William Wilson-Theaker agrees. “With medical textbooks remaining at a high price, most people are now more reluctant to buy. If the internet becomes a more reliable source for information, [textbooks] may become obsolete,” he says.
As penny pinching students, we are averse to paying for anything—especially if it’s labelled “educational.” Thank goodness then for our (mostly) free, (possibly) trustworthy, quick and easy friend, the internet.
For most of us, if we can’t remember the functions of the cranial nerves, the obvious place to go is no longer the bookshop or library. We’ll search Google or turn to Wikipedia.
One study reported that half of junior doctors used the publicly editable Wikipedia for a medical query at