Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Wikipedia Revolution, by Andrew Lih

Wow, what an eye-opener. I rarely can say this about a non-fiction book, because fiction is more my speed, but this most definitely an awesome book that I highly recommend. Why? Because of the enormous subject it covers: Wikipedia. ^_^

I use this site on a regular basis, and I'm sure many of you have used it for one purpose or another. But until I read this book, I pretty much took it for granted. Not anymore. I learned many facts and have gained a new respect and appreciation for the people behind this fabulous site, including the people who invented it, developed the software for it, and add to it every minute of every day!!!

Did you know that Wikipedia was first put up in 2001? How about that today, over 14 million articles exist on the site in hundreds of language, about a 5th of which is written in English (3.2 million). Do the names Jimmy Wales or Larry Sanger strike any awe in you? They will when you read this book. The first couple chapters were a little hard to get through, because it talked about the history of the regular encyclopedia and some brief history on the people behind Wikipedia, but trust me, when you get to the middle part, where it starts detailing Wikipedia's fascinating evolution, watch out! It will blow your mind!

I kind of wish I could have been involved with the early Wikipedia, as it was still growing and all. It must have been so exciting to be part of such a community, when the number of articles was more than doubling every year. Nowadays, I can imagine how tough it is to upkeep all the articles out there, to keep everything up to date so that Wikipedia keeps it's reputation as an accurate and current online encyclopedia. It must be hard to create a new article, since probably almost every subject has been covered. You type anything in the search box, and chances are good that it's there.

Bottom line is, no matter how often you use Wikipedia, whether for looking up a celebrity's birthday or learning about what E=MC2 means, or even the many uses for the number 11 (I came upon this the other day by clicking the recent changes link. Funny stuff, actually ^_^), I think this is a highly educational book for everyone to pick up. It's a must-read. It's part of our very history! Learn about the greatest encyclopedia in the world!

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