Wikipedia is without a doubt one of the most innovative and useful tools/resources to have been founded, probably since Google. Wikipedia , as the name suggests, is an online encyclopedia and the best thing about Wikipedia is that it uses open content technology and is free to be used by all internet users. Wikipedia is basically an online encyclopedia that has articles about pretty much anything you can think of and it’s actually kept relevant and up to date by the general public. So anyone can contribute … Even you! Wikipedia was founded in 2003 in Florida , United states by a non-profit organization called the Wikimedia Foundation. It is currently Headquartered out of San Francisco , California and the website boasts close to 20 million articles and has editions in more than 280 different languages (June 2011). So that’s why I say that if you want to get information on something , Wikipedia is your first stop! Seeing that Wikipedia is available in so many different languages , be sure to check whether you native language is supported when using Wikipedia.
How it Works
- Whenever you’re searching for information on something , simply put the words “Wikipedia” behind it. (Example: If you’re looking for info on vintage cars you would input: “Vintage Cars Wikipedia ” into the search engine that you use.)
- Alternatively you can do a search directly on Wikipedia’s official website which can be found here.
- Use the information you obtain for your intended purposes.
- If you can’t find an article about the subject you like or if there’s been an omission or mistake = You could do some research and change the article. (It’s pretty easy)
How to Edit Wikipedia
- Go to the “edit” tab of the article you are reading and that you want to change (near top right).
- In order to change something on Wikipedia you need to Create a free account. ( See top right of any Wikipedia page)
- Be sure to keep to the basic style principles of Wikipedia. ( Wikipedia’s Manual of Style )
- Reference/link to the source of your information.
- Make a quick summary of the changes that you’ve made. (Under “Summary” Field)
- That’s it!
If you can’t find an article on the specific subject you’re looking for, you can create a new Wikipedia page. More detailed information on creating Wikipedia pages can be found here.
Other Wikipedia Projects
- Wiktionary = Free Dictionary , Thesaurus ,synonyms and info on the word’s origins.
- Wikibooks = Free Online textbooks and Learning materials.
- Wikinews = News reported by citizen journalists worldwide.
- Wikiversity = Free Educational Resources from preschool to university and professional training.
- Wikispecies = Free Directory of Species : Animals ,Plants etc.
- Wikiquote = Collection of quotations structured in numerous ways.
- Wikisource = Project to provide and translate free source documents, such as public domain texts.
- Wikimedia Commons = Repository of images, sounds , videos and other general media files.
As you can gather from all the projects above it’s pretty evident that Wikipedia is not resting on their laurels and are actively and aggressively improving the free services they provide. I think it’s exactly this attitude that will keep Wikipedia on top for many a generation to come. Another example of Wikipedia’s innovation: Wikipedia is currently in the process of trying to be recognized as UNESCO’s first Digital World Heritage site. Whether it will happen or not , I’m not so sure = but anything is possible in this day and age…. . Sign their online petition if you’re backing the project here.
Wikipedia is definitely at the forefront when it comes to pushing boundaries and for me Wikipedia is an invaluable source of information. I , like most people , usually go to Google when I need information on something. The problem with searching for information on Google is that the results you get can sometimes be overwhelming . Wikipedia has basically solved that problem for me , as I now always use Wikipedia as my first point of reference when searching for info on a specific subject. I like the public contribution part of Wikipedia and find Wikipedia to be really well structured and easy to use. If you haven’t heard of Wikipedia – maybe it’s time hey……