Wikipedia is a free, multilingual encyclopedia project operated by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its name is a union of the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites) and encyclopedia. Wikipedia’s 10 million articles, about a quarter of which are in English, have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone who can access the Wikipedia website. Everyone can edit or make an article for the Wikipedia of any topic you can imagine (that may be difficult because Wikipedia has articles of the weirdest topics you can imagine). Launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, it is currently the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet. From 2001 until 2008 Wikipedia has been translated to more than 150 languages from all around the world including Chinese and even Swahili.
Wikipedia is among the ten most visited websites world-wide. Of the top ten, Wikipedia is the only non-profit website. The growth of Wikipedia has been fueled by its dominant position in Google search results; about 50% of search engine traffic to Wikipedia comes from Google, a good portion of which is related to academic research.Wikipedia is not only used by students, The Parliament of Canada, The World Intellectual Property Organization, even the U.S.A. Intelligence Agency have consulted it. Some freelance journalists have used it as a way to start their jobs. The uses of Wikipedia are unimaginable, The Washington Post reported that Wikipedia had become a focal point in the 2008 election campaign, saying, “Type a candidate’s name into Google, and among the first results is a Wikipedia page, making those entries arguably as important as any ad in defining a candidate. Already, the presidential entries are being edited, dissected and debated countless times each day.”
Wikipedia has also spawned several sister projects.
· Wiktionary, a dictionary project, was launched in December 2002.
· Wikiquote, a collection of quotations, a week after Wikimedia launched.
· Wikibooks, a collection of collaboratively written free books.
· Wikiversity, a project for the creation of free learning materials and the provision of online learning activities.
Wikipedia is more than an ordinary encyclopedia. As said before, Wikipedia is from everyone to everyone. The collaboration of people who can live next to you make Wikipedia useful for everybody, so if anybody knows more than Wikipedia, why not complete it?
Wikipedia. (2008, October 17). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:22, October 17, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia&oldid=245844888
Jimmy Wales. (2009, January 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:33, January 23, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jimmy_Wales&oldid=265423429
Larry Sanger. (2009, January 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:34, January 23, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Larry_Sanger&oldid=265854290
Note: This post has been updated for several changes 11:37. 23 January 2009