Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 17 million articles (over 3.5 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site. Wikipedia was launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger and has become the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet, ranking seventh among all websites on Alexa and having 365 million readers.
Guides & Tips
1. How to Use Wikipedia By Wendy Boswell, About.com Guide
The very nature of a “wiki” is that it can be edited by anyone who has the proper permissions; and because Wikipedia is completely open, ANYONE can edit ANYTHING (within reason). This is both the strength and weakness of Wikipedia; strength, because an open system invites many qualified, intelligent individuals; and weakness, because that same open system is easy to corrupt with bad information.
2. Your Guide to Wikipedia Tools & Resources By Amit Agarwal, Labnol
Since its launch in 2001, the global army of passionate and dedicated Wikipedians have created close to 3 million articles on the English version of Wikipedia encyclopedia alone. Britannica Encyclopedia has about about half a million topics only though it has been around since 1768.
3. How to use Wikipedia for research at Helium
Many people shy away from Wikipedia once they find out that it can be edited by anyone. However, if you’ve ever tried making an article on yourself, or adding a ridiculous fact onto the entry on George Bush, you’ll know how quickly any unsourced lies are removed by the loyal (and somewhat fierce) Wikipedia editors. The fact that Wikipedia usually requires information to be backed up by references also ensures that the content is safe. However, some errors can sometimes get included (as they can in a published book, also) and so it is best to verify your research from another source if necessary.
If you know any other guides or resource that can help users, please let us know.