Thursday, May 13, 2010

The New and Improved Wikipedia

Wikipedia has made some recent changes that will make editing easier.

The following is from an interview with Jimmy Wales from the Yale Daily News in early October, 2009. This question helps answer why making editing easier so important:
Q What is Wikipedia doing to try to get a more diverse group of contributors?
" We’re very global; there are people all over the world editing Wikipedia, mostly in their own home language. But there’s a certain geek culture that transcends national cultures; there’s a homogeneity in that. The main thing we’re doing is the useability project. We have a $950,000 grant from the Stanton Foundation that’s specifically targeted at finding the points in the software that are off-putting to people that aren’t computer geeks. There are lots of people that are geeks, but not computer geeks. I always give the example of a stay-at-home mom with a master’s degree. So, this is a very educated person, someone who is already on the Internet and sharing information, but probably not participating in Wikipedia, because she’s not a computer geek."
Here’s what’s new according to the Wikimedia Blog:
  • Look and feel:  essential functions easier to find.
  • Navigation:  tabs at the top of each page more clearly define whether you’re reading or editing a page. There’s also a collapsible navigation for the left sidebar that hides items that aren’t used often, but allows them to continue to be easily accessible.
  • Editing improvements: formatting pages is simpler and more intuitive and creating tables is easier; new find and replace feature to simplify page editing.
  • Link wizard: An easy-to-use tool allows you to add links to other pages on Wikipedia, or to pages on external sites.
  • Search improvements: Search suggestions are now improved to get you to the page you are looking for more quickly.
  • Pediapress book creator: Create a book by selecting Wikipedia articles and adding them to the Book Creator.  Your articles will be turned into a PDF (or OpenDocument) file so you can easily take Wikipedia wherever you go. [this could be a cool way to place pages on our pathfinders]
  • Updated Puzzle globe and wordmark: The well-known Wikipedia globe and wordmark have been enhanced and improved. We’ve introduced Linux Libertine, an open source typeface to help support the creation of hundreds of localized Wikipedia wordmarks, and the internationally-recognized puzzle globe has been recreated in 3D and includes even more languages.  
  • If you don't like the new features you can switch back to the older version: see directions

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