My Power Quote !

A good book on a rainy day is happiness for me - Ruskin Bond

Sunday, November 27, 2011


There was a time when Encyclopaedia of Britannica & Americana in their physical form adorn our libraries as the most distinct entities, and to know anything in depth, they are the authorities. During my childhood days, I use to visit libraries more often. In such visits I use to take a glimpse of these encyclopaedias and a huge respect outpours from my heart being the mankind's whole knowledge that is systematically arranged, more so, alphabetically. But the drawback of hardbound encyclopaedias is that the subject can not be updated instantly to bring out new insights/ research/ facts in sciences and humanities. At the same time, we can not escape from the fact that new information and new statistics only make the subject more holistic.

Knowledge is an ever expanding horizon. New insights always creep into the subject and the reader must have an updated information with a 360 degree perspective. Instead of bare facts, the information should be neatly sandwiched with relevant multimedia i.e. videos and images, which was missing in traditional hardbound encyclopaedias.

The Internet Revolution changed all the game rules for KNOWLEDGE. The traditional route of knowledge sharing i.e. mouth to mouth is now through Twitter and Facebook etc. Around 1999, Google gained ground as a giant search engine, indexing the whole internet into searchable database for user's convencience. It was around this time in January, 2001, Jimmy Wales, who has Masters in Finance from US, founded a non-profit Foundation Wikimedia and hosted the website : Wikipedia

Jimmy with his brainchild wikipedia made rapid strides in gaining popularity as he facilitated a free and continuous updating mechanism by which the information started updating and everybody started using it as a 'reference tool' in their daily needs. Jimmy's achievements brought him so many laurels including the Times Magazine which in its 2006 edition named him in the list of world's most influential people.

Wikipedia is only having 679 servers and 95 staff but it ranked as the world's 6th mostly viewed website. In terms of resources and manpower, it is a tiny organization not supported by Ads but only through donations making a large impact on our lives. Its penetration on internet is laudable.

Wikipedia is offered in 282 languages. In terms of public service, wikipedia serves 365 million different people every month. It has 20 million articles on its servers of which 3.8 million articles are in English. All these articles have been written by volunteers with online editing capabilities by any one so that each article refines in terms of accuracy, content and links. Wikipedia has around 1 lakh dedicated regular contributors. It is estimated that Wikipedia receives 2.7 billion monthly hits from the United States alone.

The word wikipedia is actually derived from Hawaiian word 'wiki' which means quick and it's catchy slogan : The Free Encyclopedia. Internet's search giant Google pays it's tribute to wikipedia by giving the wikipedia's articles as it's first link in its search index page.

We all owe a lot to Jimmy for creating this Knowledge Highway !

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