Wikipedia is a source based solely on user-contribution. In this “digital age” is the very first time we have ever seen anything like this. The walls of the hierarchical organizations of our parents’ generation are tumbling down. Online organizations have become flat. By that I mean everyone has the potential to contribute equally, and a contributor’s validity is determined by how often and how accurately he posts.
Thanks to the advent of the internet, these ‘contributors’ are contributing for free, which makes for more liberal research topics. Back in the olden days (a decade and a half ago), a company like Encyclopedia Britannica would have to spend money to pay researchers to investigate very specific topics of high interest amongst readers. Now, because ANYONE can contribute, arbitrary topics can be researched; it is of no financial loss to the encyclopedia company, and there is a larger collaborative tub from which to soak up information.