I’m sure most of you can recall those cold-calling salesman who used to visit your home back in the day to sell you a whole volume of the latest edition in the Encyclopaedia Britannica or even Webster’s Encyclopedic editions.
Thank God, the naughties have brought new ways of acquiring knowledge and freely available information that can be accessed by just about anyone with an Internet connection.
Wikipedia is by far the most extensive people’s encyclopaedia. It is the only site that is being authored by millions of people at any given time and offers up a wealth of information on anything and everything under the sun, and in a multitude of languages as well.
It’s a great resource for those looking for a squizz at what something is or means without the tiresome effort of coming up with the right search phrases to do a Google search. Although mind you, Google and other search engines have found Wikipedia listings so useful that they’ve even found value in listing the entries for relevant search queries higher up in their search engine results.
Wiki, as it is fondly known, has a bunch of editors behind the scenes that moderate and help facilitate the authoring on the site so that it doesn’t become an ‘everyone and their dog naming party’. While this may be a great way of avoiding free advertorials and link spam, some have argued that the authors can sometimes have a biased outlook on subject matter and for the sake of being ‘right’, they negate some info, essentially filtering out of the public domain on Wiki.
Considering Wikipedia is created by the people for the people, it does come with its own human inaccuracies so be sure to use it as a useful resource, but don’t let it be the be-all and end-all of your research. It’s great for a first start though 😉