Monday, December 8, 2014

The great idea - Wikipedia

Wikipedia which was started in 2001, has had a profound influence as a Free Online Encyclopedia. It empowers the common internet to contribute something a small piece of information, a small piece of a recent event or an old , new or a rare photograph to be seen by people around the world. 

     Wikipedia started in 2001 intially it was a complementary project of Nupedia . Nupedia was a online Encyclopedia who's articles were written by experts and were reviewed under a formal process. Nupedia was intially licenced under its own Open Content licence but at the insistence of Richard Stallman it changed over to GNU Free Documentation License. The co founders of Wikipedia were Larry Sengar and  Jimmy Wales

      Initially Wikipedia began as a English language online encyclopedia but later on many different language versions of Wikipedia came into existence . Today there are over 4.6 million articles in English Wikipedia and millions of other articles in other languages. 

    Wikipedia along with its many sister projects like  Wikimedia Commons, WikiBooks, WikiSpecies etc has formed a tremendous information powerhouse contributed by people around the world and the information is also verified by people around the world. 

    In the pre internet days it was difficult to get information on anything instantly one had to buy an entire set of Encyclopedia Britannica which cost a huge amount of money. Then Microsoft Encrata came into existence it cost less at $ 50 but the number of aritcles in either of the two Encyclopedias are very small as compared to Wikipedia and the numbers are growing everyday. 

    I myself am based in India over here there are many languages spoken. The most spoken language of India is Hindi and around 500 million Indians have Hindi as a their mother tongue. There are only about 120000 articles written in Hindi Wikipedia. The number of internet users in India is stedily rising and at the most 70 milion Indians can understand English(although newspaper reports claim there are more but there are lots who fake) while the number of Internet users in Indian has now crossed 250 million.

    So 180 million Indian internet users don't understand English and most of them have Hindi as their mother tounge. So I made it a point to contribute few lines to Hindi Wikepedia articles everyday(I also contribute edits to English Wikipedia) and I request the readers who know both English and Hindi to contribute to Hindi Wikipedia everyday. Even a line of contribution a day can make a big difference. 

     If 100000 people contribute only one line a day each that would result in annual addition of 150000 Wikipedia articles in Hindi each year. 

    There is an old saying that " Tiny drops make and ocean " Wikipedia and its sister projects are an example of that. Tiny bits of information updates and verification by the users have created a giant powerhouse of global information that is growing each and every day in almost all the major languages of the world.

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