This article covers several useful and powerful Wikipedia search engines. Put in a search with a keyword into a regular search engine and there’s a high chance a reference from Wikipedia will pop up at the head of the results. Wikipedia has become a virtual “˜Encyclopedia Britannica’ for a lot of us. I would rate Wikipedia as one of the best examples of social co-operation that you will ever get to see.
Wikipedia is social web at its finest and freest. As Wikipedia co-founder and promoter Jimmy Wales had said long back ““
“Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing.”
Wikipedia is also being increasingly used and cited by schools, colleges and scholars. So, let me also ask you here – how do you use Wikipedia? Not for what, but how exactly do you browse through it?
The answer is relevant because there are lots of different Wikipedia search engines you can use to tap into the world’s largest encyclopedia. And in lots of ways, it’s more interesting than going to it directly and searching for the information you want.
Wikipedia at 15,000,000 articles in more than 270 languages is an ocean of information. Just like there are different ways to catch a fish, there are also different ways to angle for the information that’s there.
Throw a line in Wikipedia with these ten websites and see if they make browsing Wikipedia more fun, easy or just different.
If you are familiar with mindmaps, you will know that they are useful for getting a helicopter view of any topic, especially if it’s a complex one. Some articles in Wikipedia are just that intensive. WikiMindMap brings the diagrammatic relationship of mindmap to Wiki content.
The central topic is in the center and directly related topics linked around it on the first level. Clicking on the text takes you to the Wikipedia entry. Clicking on the green arrows brings you to the next level. There are also links which take you to external resources.
We have covered it earlier when it went by the name of VisualEncyclopedia. Since then, they have added more categories. But the same visually intuitive way to browse and read Wikipedia information has remained. It also has the Wikipedia content followed by a “˜related to’ mindmap diagram. What you might like about VisWiki are the direct links to relevant YouTube, Flickr, Google Maps etc straight from the Wikipedia content you are reading.
Getting video on Wikipedia can only make it more complete. Wikipedia based Navify was about video links and comments. When I checked, the site seemed to be down. So, that’s why I went on to Video on Wikipedia which is trying to advance the cause of getting videos on Wikipedia. The submissions are forwarded to Wikipedia. All this goes to show that as promised, we will see a lot more articles loaded with videos.
Qwika is a Wikipedia search engine straight up. But it not only searches Wikipedia but also other wikis. The homepage says that it searches 21,964,380 articles in 1,158 wikis. Qwika also searches wikis across 12 languages which you can select from the dropdown. The search results from other language wikis are translated to the language chosen in the dropdown. There’s also a Qwika toolbar for Firefox and IE.
Clusty is a Wikipedia search engine that groups search results into clusters after it does its meta-search. Clusters helps to organize thousands of search results into more organized groups or topics. Clusty also searches through Wikipedia. You can check out the clusters on the left side of the page. You can expand the clusters by clicking on the little red icon. Clicking on Remix reveals the other submerges topics.
Searching for more search engines? Read 4 Search Engines to Search Wikipedia the Pro Way
Simple English Wikipedia is a good resource for less intensive searches. Children, non-English speakers, adults with learning difficulties, and first timers to Wikipedia can give this simpler version of Wikipedia a read. Though the total number of content (59,566) is less than the standard version, the easier uncomplicated usage of words makes it a great introductory tool.
If you are searching for a Wikipedia app that’s even simpler, go to Tenwordwiki.com. This site helps you to find our facts and meanings in scraps that aren’t lengthier than ten words. You can think of it as the Twitter equivalent of Wikipedia. Tenwordwiki.com shows you that sometimes briefness can also be the soul of information. Sometimes with a pinch of humor.
We have covered this previously, but just to remind you – Okawix is a great starting point to download the whole content of Wikipedia, with or without images, so that you can browse it offline. You can download it for Windows, Mac and Linux. You can also choose to go the torrent way. Okawix lets you choose the language among the 253 it supports. The great thing is that you can not only download the 6GB of Wikipedia but also bundle it with its sister sites like Wikisource, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks etc.
There are four other ways to take Wikipedia offline.
Wikipedia is not only about barrages of hyperlinked information. It can give you a bit of a break in between all your Wikipedia research. You are given a random word at the beginning (e.g. Portmanteau) and a final article as an end goal (e.g. Tokyo). Your job is to go from the first article to the last, clicking as few links as possible. That sounds like it could do something to our fun quotient as well as our intelligence one.
Wikipaths is a similar game based on Wikipedia but as a Greasemonkey Firefox add-on.
Clicking on this Wikipedia link takes you to a list of all public mailing lists that you can subscribe to. The most useful mailing list you can subscribe to lets you get the Wikipedia article of the day, every day in your inbox. You also get mentions of a few selected anniversaries as well as the word of the day from Wiktionary and the Quote Of The Day from Wikiquote.
Think of these ten addresses as different kinds of agents who go about gathering Wikipedia information differently. Dive into our past archives of posts on Wikipedia and you will get a few more. They all show one thing – the ocean of information that’s Wikipedia is constant, but the way we navigate through it can change in many ways.
Tell us if you depart from the beaten track while trawling through Wikipedia.