Today Wikipedia turns 15. Happy birthday Wikipedia!
Two decades ago when you needed information about something you had to either do a serious research job which could last for hours or you had to spend serious money on encyclopedias (remember Encarta?) over and over again since new information required a new edition and so on.
But 15 years ago a wonderful thing happened and Wikipedia appeared online. A free encyclopedia with information on every possible subject, with contributors who did the research on topics they were passionate about and posted it online for the whole world to find out. Information shared from passion, not for profit. But more than that, information updated every minute.
Today if you want to find out how a quantum computer works all you have to do is type it in the search bar and you will get accessible information which doesn’t require much knowledge in quantum physics to understand. Just imagine the same situation before the internet and before Wikipedia. You would have had to go to a library, get a library pass and spend hours with a book you probably wouldn’t understand at all without previous knowledge in physics.
Wikipedia made everything simple. Not only you don’t have to spend any money and any time looking for information but in combination with the newest technology like smartphones and tablets, it is with you everywhere. If you’re on the beach and you want to find out something about a fish you’ve seen in the water it takes you a few minutes to get the info and you don’t even have to leave the beach for that.
Wikipedia killed printed encyclopedias with a long tradition. Four years ago, Encyclopedia Britannica – one of the most famous and best sold in the whole world – decided to stop the printing and move the business online.
The unique value of Wikipedia relies in the fact that it is a public good. Everybody can change it, everybody can access it, disregarding their sex, color or class. Wikipedia is the common creation of passionate individuals who share the same dream of equal access to information.
However, as it is hosted by a nonprofit and in order to remain free, Wikipedia needs money at least for its huge servers. So as it enters its adulthood the free encyclopedia announced the creation of a $100 million fund which should ensure its longevity. So if you like having access to free information, get up there and donate at least $1. Happy Birthday Wikipedia!
Image source: wikipedia