Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Effectively Using Wikipedia

When using Wikipedia or other similar Wiki's most of us just read the article only. But there are much more details, which can be found if we use the wiki effectively. This post is written having Wikipedia in mind, but it is still applicable to the other wiki's as well.

1. Wiki articles have their earlier revisions accessible to the users. By accessing the 'history' tab on top of the article, you can get a list of the earlier edits. This is really useful, for a current hot-topic, a news item, or a subject with the conflicts on interest. In some not-so-maintained wiki's this option allows to omit the latest version, if it has some irrelevant material inserted into it. However Wikipedians are active that random text or irrelevant spam inserted into an article is removed immediately as it is found.

See whether there is a considerable difference exist between the revisions, by comparing them. If a considerable change has been found, it is worth looking at earlier revisions. Usually the contents of the wiki articles are removed to maintain the size of the article to a standard level. Some are removed to maintain the unbiasedness of the article.

Whatever the case reviewing the earlier revisions give a panoramic view on the topic.

2. In some case, the 'discussion' page will be available. Usually there you can find a summarized information regarding the issues going around the article. Taking a look at this will give you the first hand knowledge about the alternate views and interests.

3. If you are multilingual, try to read the article in the other languages, if it is available, as the articles in different languages are not a mere translation of the English version. However, it is always recommended to take a look at the article written in a local language related to the topic, even if you are not familiar with that language at all. At least you will be able to find more images and links.

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