7 Hacks You Can Use To Use Wikipedia In New Ways


Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What are some of the best hacks for using Wikipedia? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread. Thank you to the team at Quora for making this happen!

1. Read Wikipedia Pages without Internal Links

Wikipedia pages are written in black text but sometimes they appear blue because each and every word in the article is an hyperlink to another Wikipedia story. If you like to view Wikipedia articles sans excessive links, there’s a simple hack – just go to your browser address bar and append &printable=yes to the URL. Alternatively, click the “Printable version” link in the sidebar.

2. Track Wikipedia Articles via RSS or Email Alerts

You can track changes edits for any Wikipedia page via RSS feeds or instant email alerts. This is useful in two situations – you want to prevent vandalism or you want to keep yourself updated when some new information is added to topics of your interest. To subscribe to Wikipedia RSS feeds : Click the history tab and then choose RSS or Atom feed in the toolbox section on the left sidebar. You will get feeds in the following format:


You can construct your own Wikipedia feeds by replacing Paris_Hilton with any other term like Adobe_Photoshop or Google. No need to visit the Wikipedia even.

3. Find Wikipedia Articles About Places / People / Events Near Your Home

Go to Google Maps, type the address of your home in the search box (or for that matter, any place on earth) and turn on the Wikipedia layer – it is available in the top right corner of the map.

Zoom in and you’ll see markers that resemble the Wikipedia icon. Click to read a summary of the corresponding Wikipedia article.

4. Download the full Wikipedia Encyclopedia

This is already mentioned here, but since the given links are not working,hereis the latest dump for geeks, it’s in SQL / XML format.

Also children’s charity group in UK has created a Wikipedia DVD with some 5,500+ Wikipedia articles designed for use by school children. You can download the school Wikipedia DVD via BitTorrent or the contents may be accessed online at Wikipedia Selection for schools.

5. How to Credit Articles Published on Wikipedia

Unlike stories published on news websites and blogs that generally remain static throughout their life, Wikipedia articles change with time. Therefore when you refer to a Wikipedia page in a blog, try linking to the current snapshot, not the primary article, else your readers may miss context when they visit Wikipedia because the page may have completely changed. The URL of the latest snapshot is in the sidebar as “Permanent Link”.

Example: Google

6. Know the Daily Page Views for any Wikipedia Article

Wikipedia articles rank on the front page of Google for almost every known term be it American Idol, Blogs, iPod, SEO or Britney Spears. No wonder, Wikipedia pages (that number more than 2 million) get huge organic traffic from Google and other search engines. But how do you find out the exact page views (or hits) that any Wikipedia entry receives per day? Using the raw server logs from Wikistats, Wikipedia administrator Henrik has created a tool at Wikipedia article traffic statistics that shows how many times any particular page has been viewed on Wikipedia. It’s something like Google Analytics for Wikipedia with public access.

7. Wikipedia API

– Sample code and API demo for developers. Type a word and it will show a list of all Wikipedia articles that begin with that word.

Semapedia – This tool will help you generate printable QR Codes (in PDF) using Wikipedia articles. Cell phone users can easily load that article by taking a picture of the 2D code.

Wiki MindMap – This tool will help you navigate Wikipedia topics like a mindmap.

Six Degrees – This tool will help you find the shortest path between any two Wikipedia articles. That means how many clicks you need to move from page A to B.

Wikipedia Vision – This Google Maps mash-up will help you visualize edits that are being made to Wikipedia from different parts of the world in near real-time. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

This comment originally appeared at Quora.

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