If you’re anything like me, when a new subject comes up, and you need to do research, you do a search (Google or otherwise), and end up for starters at…WIKIPEDIA.
Why? Because they never fail to have SOMETHING, written in reasonably clear English, that serves as an introduction to whatever it is you were researching. At least not in my experience, which goes back to the very beginning of Wikipedia.
We do a LOT of researching in this household, and always have – we homeschooled three kids, and the parents are into science and education (both) and writing (me).
When you are writing a complicated novel, there is a constant stream of details to remember (or misremember) which have to be checked:
when do the dogwoods bloom in New Hampshire (southern NH), and which species are they?
the medieval epic poem Roland – when was it written? and which historical events got transmogrified into the epic version of the poem?
what year was Gone with the Wind first published, when was it optioned, and when was the filming of the movie finished?
The list is endless – and I find myself at Wikipedia first because, well, I do.
We have a wonderful public library in Hamilton, NJ – full of interesting volumes. But for someone with CFS, even the effort to check things by phone with the reference librarian gets significant when there are lots of things to check.
And over half of what I need happens, by definition, when they’re closed.
Today I ended up at my usual – Wikipedia – for a quick study of post-development economic theory (don’t ask. Really, don’t ask), and was confronted by the annual yellow banner: it’s fundraising time, and if everyone who used Wikipedia contributed a few bucks (literally – they ask for $3 which is ridiculous), they would be done fundraising in a day.
So I sent my $50 into the maw to do my annual bit, but stopped to read the request in the required contribution-acknowledgement email: please tell other people.
I’m suggesting that if you haven’t done so yet, you might make a rough calculation of how much time Wikipedia saves you every year, and send them a chunk of change to keep them operating (they are a non-profit with only 150 staff – and rival Facebook in number of hits).
Just go to the website, and follow the instructions on the banner – credit card, Paypal, or Amazon – and say thanks the modern way: with cash.** Edited – the donate banner is temporary – and seems to have disappeared, but there is a button on the left side of the main English page, under the logo.**
I would really hate to not have them there, at the drop of a URL, when I need them.