Recently, Irish sociology student Shane Fitzgerald fooled numerous reporters by inventing a fake quote just hours after the death of French composer Maurice Jarre. The quote, originally posted on Jarre's Wikipedia page, wound up in blogs and publications around the world. Fitzgerald says this was done to teach journalists the importance of double checking the facts listed in Wikipedia before publishing them. Maybe some of these writers would have been hip to the hoax if they had used Wiki Alarm.
Wiki Alarm is a simple, free service that allows users to track an unlimited number of Wikipedia pages and the edits that happen to them. This is especially useful for journalists covering hot topics, when Wikipedia edits tend to increase dramatically. The site simply asks for the list of URLs that you want to follow, and delivers you an email alert whenever that page is edited.
There's a lot of things that make this service very useful. Having unlimited Wiki entries monitored is great. So is having the alerts delivered directly to your email. But the best thing about Wiki Alarm is the fact that the email contains the full transcript of the edited information. With this, you can decide whether or not it is important to intervene (if you're the owner of the entry, for example), and whether or not the information is pertinent to your use of the entry. The alerts tend to come pretty quickly too, which makes Wiki Alarm everything it says it is.
The importance of Wikipedia is well established by those who have used the service. However, one must always be careful of what information you're taking from Wikipedia because of the nature of the service. I must sound like one of your old college professors right now, but at least with Wiki Alarm you have a defense against fraudulent edits in Wikipedia. Take it out for a spin, and let us know if you catch any hoaxes!