# Day 233 (A virtual world-brain)

“It’s Wikipedia’s 15th Birthday.
Tell us what Wikipedia means to you?”
Reading that banner across the main page of the website set me thinking. Just two decades ago if someone had spoken of a source that could “compile a sum of all human knowledge” and which anyone could add information to, edit the facts contained, or access details about millions of topics ~ chances are that the idea would have been dismissed as a figment of imagination from some sic-fi movie. Today we actually have such an encyclopaedia, one that is well over twenty times the size of what was at one time the world’s largest encyclopaedia, the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Wikipedia ~ that free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopaedia has been ranked as the sixth most widely used website in the world. (the ask-me-all-Google being the numero uno naturally!) Launched in 2001, it has amassed more than five million articles as compared to the 65,000 in the largest edition of the Britannica. As per another estimate nearly 10 billion pages of the English version alone are viewed every month. When i think about it, i too use the site an average of 10 to 15 times a day. There’s nothing more convenient when you want quick tidbits of information on topics that may range from the story of a newly released movie or current world event, sports tournaments to the side effects of a drug.
Detractors will no doubt tell you that its open-source format is not really the most reliable. Its own disclaimer states that information on Wikipedia is contributed by anyone who wants to post material, and the expertise of the person doing so is not really taken into consideration. Undoubtedly in such a scenario you can’t have serious academic research based on it, but it provides great basic reference material when you are trying to familiarise yourself about a subject. And if you are just plain curious by nature here is a world of knowledge that will answer most of your questions. For me it remains a wondrous concept ~ a world-brain that shares knowledge freely with no discrimination whatsoever.


About sunsur81

A gatherer of thoughts...exploring myths,metaphors and expressions of life...
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