Wikipedia expert tips: How to keep the facts close

Wikipedia's wealth of knowledge is just a quick search away

Wikipedia is a great idea, and increasingly it is establishing itself as a credible source of information on an astonishingly wide array of topics. Most people use it as a quick reference tool, and it's great for that. But if you want to go deeper and become a Wikipedia power user, the following tips and tools will get you started.

Carry Wikipedia on your iPod: Free application Encyclopodia puts the world's largest online encyclopedia in your pocket. And if you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch with an internet connection, let Wikipanion optimize Wikipedia for your device's touchscreen.

Learn from your screensaver: Screensavers usually display pretty pictures when your computer is inactive, but why not use the space to dish out a little old-fashioned learnin' instead? Rectangle Red's aptly named Wikipedia Screen Saver displays new random pages from Wikipedia at regular intervals.

Download Wikipedia to your computer: Wherever you have an Internet connection, Wikipedia's wealth of knowledge is just a quick search away. But when you aren't connected, try Wikipedia for Schools (schools-wikipedia.org), a downloadable selection of Wikipedia articles that you can burn to a DVD and carry with you everywhere. For an alternate version of Wikipedia that you can install on your laptop, give Pocket Wikipedia a try.

Access Wikipedia despite IT restrictions: If your overzealous IT department has blocked Wikipedia access at your workplace, e-mail ask@snapask.com with a subject like 'wiki windows 7'. In less than 30 seconds, SnapAsk will return an e-mail message containing the full Wikipedia article for whatever you searched for after the "wiki" keyword.

Learn to edit Wikipedia entries: Wikipedia is built on user-contributed submissions and edits. To participate, whether by supplementing an article or correcting a typo, press the Edit this page link above any section--no membership required. Read Wikipedia's 'How to edit a page' guide, and you'll be an editing pro in no time.

Track Wikipedia edits: The dark side of a collaborative, anonymous online encyclopedia is wiki-vandalism. To track changes to Wikipedia edits inside Wikipedia, click the History link at the top of any page; but to turn those sometimes confusing edit trails into an easier-to-understand chart, visit Web site WikiDashboard (wikidashboard.parc.com). Another safeguard is WikiAlarm, a free service that tracks Wikipedia articles of your choosing and e-mails you when someone edits them.

Get a daily dose of Wikipedia in your inbox: Web site DailyLit delivers bite-size chunks of the classics to your e-mail inbox every day. If you prefer nonfiction, subscribe to DailyLit's Wikipedia Tours section for a daily dose of Wikipedia articles covering everything from masterpieces of Western art to Wine 101.

Developer's Choice: Change the Look and Feel of Wikipedia

"You can easily change the type of "skin" that is used to display all Wikipedia articles. To do this, first visit en.wikipedia.org and click Log inoCreate account (located at the top right of the page). If you already have an account, go ahead and log in. Otherwise, click Create one. Once you finish the quick account setup, click My preferences at the top right and select the Appearance tab.

"You will see a number of skins available to change the look and feel of your browsing experience. We offer a preview link next to each skin so that you can get a good feel for what the page will look like before saving it. For those users wanting to customize their experience even more, there are many other options under the Appearance tab for setting items like the default size of images or whether or not to display a table of contents.

"After you have selected a new skin, click Save at the bottom of the window and the new layout should be visible when the page reloads. Go ahead and select Main page to see the new skin in action."

--Thomasz Finc, Wikipedia software developer

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags wikipedia

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Adam Pash

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?