Link of the week. 3-29-07
Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by volunteers from all around the world. With rare exceptions, its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet, simply by clicking the edit this page link. The name Wikipedia is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a type of collaborative website) and encyclopedia. Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has grown rapidly into one of the largest reference Web sites on the Internet.
In every article, links will guide you to associated articles, often with additional information. You are welcome to add further information, cross-references, or citations, so long as you do so within Wikipedia’s editing policies and to an appropriate standard. You do not need to fear accidentally damaging Wikipedia when you add or improve information, as other editors are always around to advise or correct obvious errors, if needed, and the Wikipedia encyclopedia software, known as MediaWiki, is carefully designed to allow easy reversal of editorial mistakes.
Because Wikipedia is an ongoing work to which in principle anybody can contribute, it differs from a paper-based reference source in some very important ways. In particular, older articles tend to be more comprehensive and balanced, while newer articles may still contain significant misinformation, unencyclopedic content, or vandalism. Users need to be aware of this in order to obtain valid information and avoid misinformation which has been recently added and not yet removed. (See Researching with Wikipedia for more details.) However, unlike a paper reference source, Wikipedia can be constantly updated, with articles on topical events being created or updated within minutes or hours, rather than months or years for printed encyclopedias.