Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Wikipedia!!

‘Imagine a world without…’ is a frequently use term. It was first used in connection with basic necessities like air and water. We then moved on to using it for inventions as and when they were invented; newspapers, radio, television, internet, etc.On the 10th anniversary of what may well be the most visited, trusted and relied upon online information database in the world, let us try to imagine a world without Wikipedia.

Visited more than e-Bay
This unique system has allowed millions of people to create an online encyclopedia went live on January 15th, 2001 with hardly any trumpet blast. No one knew whether people would contribute to such a venture, and if they did, whether the information they submitted would be trustworthy. Although it has suffered its share of inaccuracies and hoaxes, it remains among the Internet’s most visited sites, more visited than eBay.

Information received with just “one click”
Old school thinkers may frown at the fact that fewer and fewer of the young generation are visiting libraries thanks to websites like Wikipedia, but the truth that cannot be avoided is that websites like these are here to stay. In an age where even our coffee is supposed to be ‘instant’, any tool that cuts down the time taken for information gathering is a welcome one. This site has gathered interest over the years, attracting more and more contributors.

Non-profit organization
Wikipedia, run by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation of San Francisco, has developed into the closest obsession to a worldwide mass of all human knowledge (other than, perhaps, the somewhat less efficiently structured Internet itself).

Jimmy Wales:Founder of Wikipedia

Software Engg:Manoj Mane
What do Wiki-user’s have to say?
“Wikipedia complies almost everything and what really interest’s me is the fact that, it can influence the globe to seek any form of document or information, “said Manoj Mane, software engineer with Zoom Entertainment Network at Mumbai,who further added, “The site has now become very reflexive thing that sits on the shelves”.

College-goer:Aruna Hariharan

Aruna Hariharan, a mass media student considers Wikipedia
to be a boon to students, “Internet in general is a reliable source for information. In addition, it’s much easier to punch a subject into a search engine and use the answer that comes up, than to actually look for a reliable resource and read through it to find the information you need”.


If you are a member and decide you don't like the way something is explained you can change it to fit your view. Akshay.Kasurde, a professor from the S.I.E.S College, Mumbai also feels, “The site generally contains accurate information. If you disagree with an entry you can dispute it which shows up on the concerned page.” Kasurde’s view is shared by many across the globe, who regard Wikipedia as not only a source of information but as an online discussion forum of sorts, where information is challenged and proven on a daily basis.
Many stories to tell:Gautam Mengle

Gautam S Mengle, a crime reporter with an English daily, adds, “I mostly have Wikipedia running in a separate page while I am working. At a time when deadlines close in by the second and bosses are screaming for either stories or blood, it is helpful to be able to cross check doubtful information by running a quick search.”

Need to improve the quality of articles              
Even though Wikipedia covers a huge swath of information, an endeavor to improve the quality of articles is also under way, including a partnership with 16 universities to have professors assign students to write about unrestricted policies.

Future Plans
Wikipedia is also trying to get professionals to contribute better articles and images for the site.Wikipedia is also trying to get professionals to contribute better articles and images for the site. Co-founder Jimmy Wales and Executive Director Sue Gardener had a conference meeting with journalists last month wherein they stated their future endeavors of expanding the content of topics and bringing in diverse voices on the site. They also confirmed upcoming prospects of reaching out to the women genre, the elderly, connoisseur of arts and humanities along with the less-represented geographic areas such as South America.

With the amount of difference it has made to a lot of us over the last ten years, one feels that the time has come for Wikipedia to join the list of necessities one cannot imagine the world without.

Here's wishing Wikipedia...........Happy Birthday!!!

Hope it has many more successful and glorious years to come.

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