Wikipedia is a great place to find information on any topic that interests you. But it can also be a great place to learn about interesting topics you didn’t even know about. These tools help you discover new Wikipedia pieces and keep up with what you want to read.
In case you didn’t already know, Wikipedia’s homepage has a featured article every day, as well as hot topics. If you don’t visit the homepage, you’re missing out on one of the best places to get new information every day. You should also consider the advantages of creating a Wikipedia account , so you can track your interests and save pages for later.
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1. Wiki Good Article (Twitter): Daily random article to read
Did you know that Wikipedia has some criteria for what makes a good article? In fact, he made a list of those “good articles” that you can read. But of course that would be too much in a day, so follow the Wiki Good Article bot on Twitter, which tweets a random link every day.
The six factors of a good article are that it is well written, verifiable without original research, broad in its coverage, neutral, stable and illustrated. There are also a few disqualifying factors, but for the most part those six are enough to eliminate uninteresting pieces.
Importantly, an entry loses its “good article” status if it becomes one of Wikipedia’s featured articles. This list therefore becomes a good way to find interesting articles that you would not have been able to find easily otherwise.
2. Copernix (Web): world map with Wikipedia entries
Copernix is a mix of Google Maps and Wikipedia. It’s a fascinating way to travel the world map and learn new ones. Whether it’s history, geography, or current affairs, this is the coolest map experience from Google Earth.
The map is filled with pins of interesting Wikipedia articles about any region. But it’s not just about points of interest. This means that you do not need a physical structure for Copernix to place a pin. The pin is about what’s interesting in that area, whether it’s a person, event, or something else.
You will see pins like Prophet Muhammad in Saudi Arabia, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in Ethiopia, and more. These are not landmarks in the physical sense, but they are landmark events in the history of our world, which is worth reading.
At any time, you can step through a precision of all pins in a pane on the left. Click on a pin to expand its entry and learn more about it. And there’s always a link to read the full Wikipedia entry. Just warning, spend a few minutes on Copernix and you are forced to descend the rabbit hole.
3. Weeklypedia (Web): Weekly list of major changes in Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a good indicator of important events. When a major event takes place in the world, editors will skip to related articles about that event and start updating it. The number of changes in an article therefore indicates what you need to pay attention to.
These changes are available through Wikipedia’s open source tools. Weeklypedia tracks changes and lists the 20 most edited articles in a week, turning them into a newsletter. It’s like a summary of what’s going on in the world, dropped into your inbox. The interesting part is that edited articles are not always current affairs.
In addition to the 20 most edited articles, Weeklypedia also follows other activities on Wikipedia. The first five discussions, where editors talk about hotly debated topics and what to say and what not to say about it, are a great place to see all sides of an argument unfold. And the top 10 new articles created in the week is like a little newsletter.
There is simply no reason not to subscribe to Weeklypedia. Think of it as a leisure read, as and when you want.
4. WikiTweaks (Chrome): better Wikipedia and history tracking
As incredible as Wikipedia, it could be designed a lot better. The amount of wasted space on a page does not seem to be optimized for reading, especially when there are tables, charts or pictures.
The WikiTweaks Chrome extension makes some cosmetic changes to Wikipedia that use space more efficiently, which improves readability. It’s an old extension that also adds previews if you hover over a link, but that’s no longer necessary now that Wikipedia has made it an official feature.
WikiTweaks also tracks your Wikipedia story, which is a great tool for those used to falling into the rabbit hole. Click on the extension icon and you’ll see the last Wikipedia pages you visited, instantly reminding you of how you ended up on the page you’re reading.
Download: WikiTweaks for Chromium (free)
5. EpubPress (Chrome, Firefox): Create an Ebook with several Wikipedia links
Once you have your topics, you should be able to read them anywhere, even offline. Wikipedia offers its own tool for create and download a PDF of multiple links . But currently the Book Creator tool is undergoing changes and you cannot get these PDFs.
EpubPress is a great alternative to Wikipedia Book Creator, and much easier to use. Install the extension in your browser and open Browse Wikipedia as you would. At any time, click on the extension to see a list of all open tabs. Choose which ones you want to add to the ebook. Give it a name and description, then download. The tool takes a while to finish downloading and compiling all the pages, but it’s worth the wait.
The only restriction is that your final file is in ePub format, not in PDF. But that’s not a problem as most readers will support ePub. Alternatively, you can always convert ePub to PDF or any other file format with free online tools.
Download: EpubPress for Chromium | Firefox (free)
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Wikipedia alternatives and improvements
Wikipedia is arguably the largest user-edited encyclopedia in the world, but it’s not the only resource you should trust. It is in your best interest to look for alternatives and try to improve it as much as possible.