4 Free Tools to Download and Take Wikipedia Offline

wikipedia logo   4 Free Tools to Download and Take Wikipedia OfflineWikipedia, for most of us, needs no introduction. We use it perhaps almost as frequently as we use Google for our information needs. All of us might then wonder about the need to download and use a free information resource which is available only a click away online.

But imagine that you are marooned on an island with just your rusty laptop….OK, strike out the ‘Gilligan’s Island’ scenario and look at a more realistic setting of being away from a net connection. Get the picture? Here’s where some of the offline tools for Wikipedia browsing come in handy.

The Wikimedia Foundation has set up an offline Wikipedia version themselves understanding this need. The English version with a collection of about 2000 pages can be had in the form of a CD (an ISO file). But it comes at a cost of $13.99.

The penny pinchers among us have to put in a bit more effort and megabytes. But despair not. Here are four free tools for taking the Wikipedia knowledge off the net and into an anytime, anywhere experience.

I. WikiTaxi (OS: Windows)

wikitaxi   4 Free Tools to Download and Take Wikipedia Offline

All downloaded pages are stored in a WikiTaxi database. WikiTaxi uses compression to make sure that the database remains compact enough. For instance, the huge English Wikipedia easily fits on an 8 GB memory stick. WikiTaxi itself does not require an installation as it runs from an executable. The process to download the information is a bit long drawn out as you have to essentially download a XML database dump from the Wikipedia site containing the wiki content (The largest English Wiki is 3.5 GB).

An included WinTaxi importer contains this database into a WinTaxi database for you to browse offline. The database dumps are updated every few weeks. So you need to go online to get the most recent version of the information.

II. Zipedia (OS:Windows)

zipedia   4 Free Tools to Download and Take Wikipedia Offline

Zipedia is a Mozilla Add-on for Firefox enabling offline browsing. The Zipedia page describes it as the ‘poor man’s choice’. But when we don’t have access to the real thing, then it’s a worthy choice isn’t it? You will still need to download the Wikipedia database dump. Zipedia does not need any external database as this is done by the browser itself. The add-on works with Firefox v2.0-3.0+. To access the offline resource you need to just type in – wikipedia://wiki/

III. Wikislice (OS: Windows)

webslices   4 Free Tools to Download and Take Wikipedia Offline

Wikislice is an application that allows the user to collate Wikipedia entries based on a particular topic or subtopic. Wikislice as the name suggests gives you a ‘slice’ of the information in a downloadable format for easy reading offline. Wikislice comes as a web based tool as well as a desktop interface. To use Wikislice, just type the topic of your interest in the search bar provided and Wikislice will display all the applicable information for you to browse or download.

Here’s how it works –

  1. Type in your topic and click ‘Go’.
  2. You get the information and related subtopics (for more narrow searches).
  3. The Top 50 topics are displayed over 5 pages.
  4. Download the Wikislice (part of Wikipedia) offline if the number of pages is less than 2000.
  5. The downloaded pages can be used with the Webaroo software. The app will check if you have the software installed on first use. In case you don’t, it will prompt you for the download.

Here’s a simple slideshow from the main site.

IV. Pocket Wikipedia (OS:Windows/ Linux and PocketPC)

pocket wikipedia   4 Free Tools to Download and Take Wikipedia Offline

Pocket Wikipedia is a carefully compiled handpicked selection of Wikipedia information and comprises of nearly 24,000 images and 14 million words. That’s a stack of fifteen volume encyclopedias (Encyclopedia Britannica has 40 million words and 24,000 images!). All within a 180MB free download in a single zip archive. This software differs from the others in one aspect – you get pictures within the text as in the original version. But remember that it does not contain the entire gamut of Wikipedia; just the more important ones for ready reference.

(Bonus V) How To Get Wikipedia on Your iPod

If you have an iPod and couple of GBs of spare space you can also install Wikipedia right onto it. For more details check out Mark’s excellent guide on How To Install Wikipedia on Your iPod.

Have you used any of these four software apps? If so, which do you prefer? Do you have another that you prefer instead? Or do you prefer accessing Wikipedia via the web?

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14 Comments -

Klang IT

This is another version of Wikiepdia. I didn’t see it among the other versions in the list above. The version is called Wikpedia for schools. You may of course have heard of it before.

soschildrensvillages.org.uk/charity-news/wikipedia-for-schools.htm

Please maka a visit my blogg, Klang IT. It’s written in Swedish, but Google Translate will help you understand the language. I provide a link to my blog beneath, I hope that it’s ok with you.

translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.klangit.se%2F&hl=sv&ie=UTF-8&sl=sv&tl=en

Mattias Klang

Saikat Basu

Hi Mattias,
I think the Pocket Wikipedia compilation is based on the Wikipedia For Schools version. Isn’t it?

Aibek

Exactly, was jus about to say that. :-)

Dave P

While it is not free, Tomeraider is a £15 reader program for everything from phones to PDAs to PCs. It offline version of Wikipedia is periodically updated (currently thru May 2008) and is huge (currently 3.2GB) with over 4.5 million articles. They do request a payment of £3.00 to pay for bandwidth, our costs, and a £1 to donation to the Wikipedia Foundation.

kuanhoong

Oh what a coincident, I have written and published exactly the same post as yours one day earlier.

8 ways to access Wikipedia Offline on your PC and mobiles

kuanhoong.com/2008/10/13/8-ways-to-access-wikipedia-offline-on-your-pc-and-mobiles/

Aibek

Hey Kuan

Indeed your post list all of our recommended resoures and more. Thanks for letting us know about it.

Klang IT

Saikat Basu,

You are absolutely right! When I follow the link to Pocket Wikipedia, the I see that it is Wikipedia for Schools that is used. I’m sorry!

haider_up32

u forgot webaroo..there is one for iphone and some sourceforge project for mac too

Saikat

Webaroo is the desktop client used to view the WikiSlice(s). WikiSlice is the online version and once downlaoded to the desktop, it is viewed with Webaroo. I have mentioned it.

Sasha

Um, has anyone tried using WikiTaxi? I downloaded the 4GB dump and am trying to import, it’s telling me it’s going to take 1,190 hours. Using a 3.0Ghz Dual Core. That’s a long time. And setting the priority higher doesn’t make it go any faster.

Saikat

Try out the Simple text version first(Simple Wiki). Its about 24MB. Its compact but far less fun. The full dump took me about 28 hrs to download (phew!). Its zipped, so when we unzip it…it expands. So make sure you have enough disk space. Make sure U have enough of free RAM too. (Leave the slider at the default setting i.e what Wikitaxi recommends). But the import does take a lot of time.

Stef

I need help! I’m not a developer nor a wiki expert but I ABSOLUTELY need to download an offline version of my Wiki, including doc. xls, pdf files that are contained in another external website and are linked to in my Wiki.
Is there a tool that grabs not only mediawiki database but also external files?
Thank you for your help.

petesimson

Try httrack.com/ to download your wiki… including the “media” files. I have used this to download a fairly large mediawiki site so I could make it portable on a CD. Use FAR HTML helpware.net/FAR/ to make a javscript search engine for your downloaded material.

alok kumar

i want to download