How to Use Wikipedia More Effectively

Wikipedia, the largest online encyclopedia, needs no introduction. We share some of the best tools, tips and tricks to help you use Wikipedia more effectively and productively.

wikipedia hacks printed

1. Find knowledgeable writers for your Blog or print magazines via Wikipedia

Say you are looking for people who know about "Earthquakes" and can write for your publication. Open the Earthquake page on Wikipedia and switch to the history tab.

Here you’ll see a list of people who have contributed to that Wikipedia article - click the profile name of the contributor to read more about him and then use the Talk feature of Wikipedia to send him a message via Wikipedia.

2. Read Wikipedia Pages without Internal Links

wikipedia-internal-linksWikipedia pages are written in black text but sometimes they appear blue because each and every word in the article is an hyperlink to another Wikipedia story - see this snapshot from Google’s Wikipedia entry.

If you like to view Wikipedia articles sans excessive links, there’s a simple hack - just go to your browser address bar and append &printable=yes to the URL. Alternatively, click the "Printable version" link in the sidebar.


3. Track Wikipedia Articles via RSS or Email Alerts

You can track changes edits for any Wikipedia page via RSS feeds or instant email alerts. This is useful in two situations - you want to prevent vandalism or you want to keep yourself updated when some new information is added to topics of your interest.

To track Wikipedia stories, click the history tab of any article and then select the RSS feed from the sidebar. It looks something like this - replace Google with a different title.

You can either subscribe to this feed in any newsreader or go to to get the same information via email alerts.

4. Read Wikipedia on Mobile Phones

wikipedia-search While the lengthy pages of Wikipedia may look good on your large desktop screen, they are not really optimized for the small screen of your mobile phone.

Enter - it’s a Wikipedia search and browse tool for mobile phones. If a Wikipedia article is particularly long, Wapedia will split it into multiple page so they load faster on your phone similar to Google Transcoder. Also see: Read Websites on Mobile Phones with Google

5. Find Wikipedia Articles About Places / People / Events Near Your Home

wikipedia-google-mapsGo to Google Maps, type the address of your home in the search box (or for that matter, any place on earth) and turn on the Wikipedia layer - it is available in the top right corner of the map.

Zoom in and you’ll see markers that resemble the Wikipedia icon. Click to read a summary of the corresponding Wikipedia article.

6. Download the full Wikipedia Encyclopedia

If you want to browse Wikipedia on computers that are not connected to the Internet, you may download Wikipedia to your hard-drive and browse the entire site offline. The latest dump is for 04-07. For geeks, the latest dump is available here - it’s in SQL / XML format.

7. How to Credit Articles Published on Wikipedia

wikipedia-citationUnlike stories published on news websites and blogs that generally remain static throughout their life, Wikipedia articles change with time.

Therefore when you refer to a Wikipedia page in a blog, try linking to the current snapshot, not the primary article, else your readers may miss context when they visit Wikipedia because the page may have completely changed.

The URL of the latest snapshot is in the sidebar as "Permanent Link".

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