Is how its founder, Jimmy Wales, describes it “a free online encyclopedia that anyone can contribute to and anyone can edit” otherwise known as Wikipedia. The Guardian has a great article on “one of the internet’s most inspiring success stories”.Controversial, over-ambitious and to its fans “a fantastic research source – albeit one that you should use with caution”, the English language version of Wikipedia has over 360,000 entries and is growing every day, yet has cost only £300,000.
Currently the most controversial entry appears to be, unsurprisingly, that of a certain Mr George W Bush – 500 edits between August and October this year and now locked to prevent any further editing.
But perhaps Wikipedia’s greatest contribution so far can be summed up as –
“The truth is that Wikipedia reveals what is normally hidden in an encyclopedia: the countless decisions that lie behind each entry. The only difference is that in Wikipedia, the decision-making never stops…”
And remember, as the General Disclaimer on the Wikipedia site says – “Wikipedia cannot guarantee, in any way whatsoever, the validity of the information found here” – although Wales may have a plan that will justify an edit to that statement too.