Last modified on 24 September 2014, at 09:47

Welcome to Wikipedia (Bookshelf)

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The first edition of this material got printed in this version in early September 2010. Ideas for further improvement are highly welcome. Please use the discussion page to leave a comment. --Frank Schulenburg 16:59, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Translations:

NOTE 1: The development page for this deliverable is available here.
NOTE 2: Text in [square brackets] is not printed.


[Frontcover]Edit

[Background image that will echo throughout the piece]

Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. —Jimmy Wales


[Brochure title:] Welcome to Wikipedia

[Wikipedia logo]

Welcome to WikipediaEdit

Wikipedia is the world's largest encyclopedia. It is created and maintained by more than 100 thousand contributors from around the world. Every month, Wikipedia gets over 388 million unique visitors. Wikipedia features more than 16 million articles in over 260 languages. It is free to use, free to edit, and free of advertisements. (Data from July 2010)

[Sara {new01.bmp}] Hi! My name is Sara. I use Wikipedia whenever I need to learn more about a topic. But lately I have been wondering, who writes these articles? Why do articles change sometimes? I have read that anyone can edit Wikipedia. Can I do that too? How?

After reading Welcome to Wikipedia, you will be able to:

  • Understand how Wikipedia works
  • Create a Wikipedia user account
  • Understand Wikipedia's user interface
  • List the different ways you can contribute to Wikipedia
  • Communicate with other users through your My talk page
  • Explain how an article evolves on Wikipedia
  • Describe the attributes of a quality article
  • Create a new article

How does Wikipedia work?Edit

Everything that you see on Wikipedia has been written by people like you, connected via the internet. In fact, Wikipedia would not be the world's largest online encyclopedia had people not been contributing information, images, and data, continuously to it. Wikipedia grows by nearly 1200 articles per day and over 4 million contributions per month. (Data from July 2010)

Contributors (Wikipedians) share in common the goal of providing knowledge, freely to everyone. That is the reason people from all over the world volunteer their time and effort to monitor and improve the quality of Wikipedia articles. By allowing everyone to freely access, download, and reuse content, Wikipedia provides many options for the sharing of knowledge.

[Sara {new03.bmp}] But who decides what gets published? An editor-in-chief, somewhere?"

Wikipedians create so many new articles and edit the existing ones so often, that it becomes almost impossible to have a team large enough to review and validate every single change made to the encyclopedia. Instead, Wikipedia relies on inputs from contributors from all over to create the world's largest repository of encyclopedic content.

Most people who participate in making Wikipedia better, find it both a stimulating and a rewarding exercise. While coming together by everyone to single-mindedly work towards a common goal is enjoyable by itself, most are driven by their passion to make knowledge freely available to the world.

[Sara {new16.bmp}] Helping everyone across the world get access to free content makes a lot of sense to me. Tell me more. Where can I start?'

Try it!


Who can edit existing articles in Wikipedia? Select the correct answer.
UnclickedCheckbox.jpg Only experienced editors
UnclickedCheckbox.jpg Wikipedia's Editor-in-chief
UnclickedCheckbox.jpg Anyone who has access to the Internet

Answers to this question and others quizzes can be found on the back of this reference guide.

Create a Wikipedia accountEdit

Creating a user account is a good first step when you begin contributing to Wikipedia. An account allows you to create new articles (pages), upload images, and rename pages. You also get access to special features, such as My watchlist. A watchlist lets you follow the articles that you are editing as well and bookmark other interesting pages. To add an article to your watchlist, click the star icon at the top of the article.

More importantly, since all your edits are assigned to your account username, you have an identity on Wikipedia. This helps you interact with others that edit the same articles, and helps you become a trusted member of the community. As you get accustomed to Wikipedia, you will find that you have more to say in discussions and you might help others solve problems.

You can edit Wikipedia without having an account. However, without an account, your edits are assigned to your computer's Internet protocol (IP) address. The Wikipedia community tends to distrust edits from an IP address, especially if it is traced to a school or company network where unregistered users may make edits based on their biased interests. Editing articles where it might be hard to remain impartial is considered a conflict of interest on Wikipedia. For example, if a student edits an article about her school, she may have a biased perspective on the school's national importance.

It is easy to create a Wikipedia account and you are not required to provide any personal information: 1. Click Log in/create account, located at the top right side of the page. 2. Choose your Username 3. Select your Password. 4. Click Create account

[Sara{new05.bmp}] That was quick! Now that I have an account, I can work with other contributors to creating quality articles.

Try it!


1 Create a Wikipedia User account
2 Create a watchlist of your favorite Wikipedia articles by clicking the star at the top of the article page. Study how changes to the article are tracked on your watchlist.

Wikipedia user interfaceEdit

The Wikipedia Main Page.

  • [Discussion] Discussion appears at the top of each article. Discussion is a place for you and other contributors to plan article structure, discuss and build consensus on article content, and ask for help from one another.
  • [Recent changes] Recent changes shows you the edits made to all Wikipedia articles in chronological order. This allows you to monitor articles for mistakes and vandalism.
  • [Help] Help provides assistance to learn more about how Wikipedia works.
  • [Wikipedia languages] Wikipedia exists in over 250 languages.


[Sara {new012.bmp}] Who wrote this article? I really like it! I am not sure I can write an article as good as this one.


  • [Create account] Create account, at the top right of the page, gives you access to all features of Wikipedia and helps build your online profile.
  • [View history] View history allows you to view and compare past versions of the page.
  • [Search] Search takes you to the article that matches your query. If the article does not exist, it displays the articles in which the word(s) appears.



Try it!


1 Click Recent changes for any article and study the page. Notice how each edit is time stamped and attributed to a specific user or IP address. Observe how some contributors explain their edits. Explaining an edit is a good practice because it helps others understand why you made the edit. 2 Sara's friend Josh just started editing and finds that he needs information about Wikipedia policies and guidelines, community standards, and general help for editors. Where can he find assistance?
Select the correct answer:
UnclickedCheckbox.jpg Recent changes
UnclickedCheckbox.jpg Help
UnclickedCheckbox.jpg Search

How can I contribute?Edit

Did you know that there are many different roles you can play on Wikipedia? Writing is just one of the many options. Here are some of the roles and what they do:
WikiGnome: Makes minor edits, for example, spelling corrections. Suggests article improvements by leaving messages for the authors by clicking the article Discussion page.
Copyeditor: Improves the language and grammar in an article.
Maintainer: Monitors articles for biased edits and corrects them. A maintainer watches out for changes made by contributors with a personal agenda or political/philosophical point of view, and ensures that factual accuracy is maintained in the articles.
Mediator: Moderates discussion on controversial topics, helps resolve disputes, and provides guidance on contributor behavior.
Illustrator: Uploads images, photographs, maps, and visual aids relevant to the article.
Formatter: Structures or "wikifies" articles, using wiki markup, so they are easier to read.
Author: Adds information to articles from books, websites, newspapers, and other credible sources. An author also initiates the creation of new articles.


[Sara{new017.bmp}] I just corrected an historical fact about Lahore, a city in Pakistan, and guess what? My edits went live as soon as I saved the page. How exciting!

User page and My talk pageEdit

There are thousands of contributors who edit Wikipedia each day. Some edits are not verifiable or are made with a biased perspective. That is why some Wikipedians monitor almost all edits using Recent changes (under Interaction in the left menu bar). This feature provides an overview of all edits made in a particular language version of Wikipedia. Because some Wikipedians monitor huge numbers of edits they may sometimes delete an edit that is accurate but not well-written. To prevent that from happening to you, it is important that you write factual information and reference reliable sources.

Add information about yourself and your interests to your User page. Maintaining your User page is a good way to build trust and provide authenticity to your edits. Every account has a User page and a My talk page. You can find the links for the User page and the My talk page at the top right of your screen. Your User page is accessed by clicking on your username which appears next to the bust icon. Click Edit to write about yourself. Then click Save page at the bottom of the screen when you are finished writing.

[Sara{new08.bmp}] What just happened? The edit I made to the article is gone. Did someone take it out? Why would someone do that?

Try it!


Sara likes to take pictures of the places she visits. If she contributes her pictures to Wikipedia she is:
UnclickedCheckbox.jpgIllustrator
UnclickedCheckbox.jpgAuthor
UnclickedCheckbox.jpgMediator
UnclickedCheckbox.jpgFormatter


On your User page you can write about yourself, your special knowledge, and your interest in particular articles. This is also a place where you can mention your affiliations or if you have a potential conflict of interest. For example, it might be hard for you to remain neutral if you edit an article about the organization where you work. However, you can use your in-depth knowledge of your organization to list verifiable sources of information. That way, when you read information about your organization that is inaccurate or outdated, you could leave a message on the article's Discussion page citing the discrepancy and leading article authors to your User page. The authors can then evaluate your sources and use them to update the article on Wikipedia.

My talk and Discussion is a place where other contributors can leave messages for you and you can respond. Many contributors leave welcome greetings to new users. Others might use the space to start a conversation to get to know you or better understand your edits.

Every article also has a Discussion page. This page is used by Wikipedians to plan how they will collaborate on the content and resolve conflicts. If someone wonders why you have made an edit, or would like to recommend another article to you, they will use the article's Discussion page. The article's Discussion page. The article's Discussion page also a good place to ask for help with the article.

Note: Discussion and My talk are also called talk pages by the community.

[Sara{new013.bmp}] Oh, someone just left a note on my talk page. The message explains that my edits were reverted because I had not cited a source. Since the fact is mentioned on the government website, I will make the edit again. This time I will include the source in the references section below the article itself. That should work.



Try it!


  • Click your username and then click Edit, in order to edit your User page. Explore the various options in the editing toolbar - B (Bold), I (Italics), and Chain Links Symbol (Link).

Click Advanced to see the format tools.
Wiki markup quick reference is available at the back of this reference guide.

Life of an articleEdit

Although the articles in Wikipedia should be detailed and well written, no one is expected to write a comprehensive article in just one draft. Articles typically start small and then mature through extensive collaboration, often following a pattern like this:

  • Most successful articles start small and consist of a summary of the topic (overview), a statement that tells why the topic is noteworthy ("the first...", "the biggest...", "the capital of...", etc.), and a source outside Wikipedia confirming the existence and importance of the topic (a credible publication or website). This basic article is called a "stub". If any of the three items are missing the community may assume the topic is not important and delete the article.
  • As other users add text and images to an article, it matures from a topical overview to a more detailed article that captures various perspectives such as historical (for example "in 1923, new factors..."), or global (for example "in Europe, this was viewed as..."). More active contributors might nominate their article for a Wikipedia peer review process. The Wikipedia peer review process involves close scrutiny of the article's quality from a broad group of Wikipedians. The process is applied to articles that have undergone extensive work. The review process involves addressing comments, questions and suggestions from the peer reviewers. Based on the feedback, the writers plan their article improvement strategy using the article's Discussion page.
  • Finally, an article reaches a level where it is so well-written, sourced, and comprehensive, that only experts can add much value to it. These articles might be designated as good articles. A few articles could be recognized by the community as being of the highest quality. These are designated as featured articles. Featured articles are displayed on the Wikipedia main page. It takes time and effort to write articles at this level. Collaborating to create a featured article is gratifying and also enhances your status in the Wikipedia community. Just as all other articles, a featured article continues to be edited.


[Sara {new015.bmp}] I dream about contributing to an article that appears on the main page of a website with millions of readers.



Try it!


  • What does the Wikipedia peer review process involve? Select the correct answer:

UnclickedCheckbox.jpgReview of article quality by a group of Wikipedians
UnclickedCheckbox.jpgReview of article quality by a group of experts
UnclickedCheckbox.jpgReview of article quality by Wikimedia Foundation

What makes a quality article?Edit

A quality Wikipedia article is the result of a well defined structure, encyclopedic content, and an active community:

Structure: Providing a clear article structure helps readers find information and assists editors in keeping all aspects of a topic well organized. One way to learn about structure is to study featured articles, Wikipedia's finest articles. You can access all featured articles by going to the Wikipedia main page. At the bottom of Today's featured article, click More featured articles... then scroll down to Contents and select the subject that interests you.

Most quality articles have the following structure:

  • Lead section that summarizes the key points covered in the article. Note that the lead section is without a header.
  • The body of the article follows the lead section and includes specific headers and subheaders. A geographic location, for example, might have the following headers: history, geography, climate, economy, civic administration, demographics, and culture.
  • Appendices and footnotes appear after the body of the article. These may include bibliographies, links to other Wikipedia articles, notes and references, relevant publications, and websites.

Content: Many Wikipedians consider content the most important factor in judging an article's quality. To ensure consistent quality, the Wikipedia community created these four guidelines.

  • Provide Sources: Writers are encouraged to provide sources for further information. Every fact should be verifiable by a reliable source.
  • Neutral Point of View: Articles must be written fairly, without bias, and present previously published notable views.
  • No Promotional Content: Promotional material, how-to instructions, resumes, and sales catalogs do not belong in Wikipedia.
  • No Original Research: It is not appropriate to include your own new ideas on a subject (Wikipedia calls this original research), or your personal opinions about a subject.

Community: All contributions to Wikipedia are freely licensed to the public. That means that no editor owns any article. All contributions can and will be heavily edited by many different users. In other words, everybody can join in the decision making process. The community also uses Discussion to agree on the content structure for the article. For times when consensus is hard to reach, check out the various options available at Help > The Wikipedia community. Some writers and editors have years of experience with Wikipedia and their experience can be a valuable resource for resolving conflicts.


[Sara{new010.bmp}]I cannot find an article about this subject. Should I wait for someone else to start the article?

Try it!


  • The body of an article has no headers. Select the correct answer.

UnclickedCheckbox.jpgTrue
UnclickedCheckbox.jpgFalse

  • What aspects should a quality encyclopedic article have? Select the correct answers.

UnclickedCheckbox.jpgVerifiable sources
UnclickedCheckbox.jpgNeutral point of view
UnclickedCheckbox.jpgHow-to instructions
UnclickedCheckbox.jpgSummary, body, footnotes

Create a new articleEdit

There are many topics that do not have an article on Wikipedia. If you think a topic is missing from Wikipedia, search variations of the topic name. For example, try different spellings. Also check if the subject is mentioned in closely related topics. An island for example, may be mentioned in an article about its country. If the topic is not mentioned in Wikipedia, maybe it is too obscure to write about, such as a garage band or an unknown person with a blog. However, if you feel that the topic should genuinely be included in Wikipedia, consider creating the article yourself.

Search the article title. You will see it in a red hyperlink, if the article on it does not exist. Click this hyperlink to start adding to and editing a new article, by that name.

Your new article will get a good start, if you remember to provide the following three elements:

  1. Summary of the topic
  2. Reason why the topic is notable
  3. Reference to a credible source about the topic


[Sara{new02.bmp}] My very first Wikipedia article is now online! It will be exciting to see how the community comes together to expand this article.

When you start your article you will need a place to work. Create your own workspace or "sandbox" where you can edit your article until it has all the three critical elements.

To create your sandbox: Go to your User page> Click Edit> Write [[User:<Your user name>/Sandbox]] > Save page> Click the link you just created. You are now in your sandbox!

Use the sandbox to write your article. Do not forget to click Save page when you are done editing. When you are ready, find another Wikipedia editor who might be interested in the topic. One way to find an editor is to look at the View history tab of an article on a similar topic and see who has contributed to that article. Leave a message on the that editor's Discussion page with a request to review your article. When you are ready, copy the article content from your sandbox, go to the topic name you have chosen, click Edit, paste the content and save the page. Now, that you have created a new article, do not stop here. Link your article to other articles where your topic is mentioned.



Try it!


  • What are the three elements to incorporate in your new article? Select the correct answer.

UnclickedCheckbox.jpgAn explanation, its notability, and a source
UnclickedCheckbox.jpgAn explanation, a picture, and a link to another article
UnclickedCheckbox.jpgA name, its notability, and a source

A WikipedianEdit

[Sara {new019.bmp}] Before my trip to Morocco next month, I will use Wikipedia's Create a book feature. [She points to the menu on the left.] I will collect articles that I need and print a personal travel guide. Wikipedia has many more features than I first thought.


[Sara{new011.bmp}] Well, time sure flies! I just clicked My contributions at the top of the page to discover that I have more than 100 edits. I have so much fun connecting with other Wikipedians, writing quality articles, and spreading knowledge that can be accessed for free!



Now that you have read Welcome to Wikipedia, you are able to:

  • Understand how Wikipedia works
  • Create a Wikipedia user account
  • Understand Wikipedia's user interface
  • List the different ways you can contribute to Wikipedia
  • Communicate with other users through your My talk page
  • Explain how an article evolves on Wikipedia
  • Describe the attributes of a quality article
  • Create a new article

This educational content is brought to you by Wikimedia Bookshelf project. To download an electronic copy of Welcome to Wikipedia and other Bookshelf materials, visit: http://bookshelf.wikimedia.org

This location also houses source files that allow you to translate, customize, and reuse Bookshelf materials.

Wiki markup quick reference [Back flap]Edit

To make changes to an article, click Edit at the top of an article, make your edits, and then click Save page. Your edits are now visible to anyone who visits the page. If you have more information to add or need to correct a mistake, make another edit. Do not be afraid - you cannot accidentally make permanent deletions. All previous versions of an article are saved under View history and contributors can revert to an earlier version by simply clicking undo.

Provided below are shortcuts to frequently used wiki markup that will help you when you edit Wikipedia articles.

Description - What you type - What you get

  • Italic - ''italic text'' - Italic text
  • Bold - '''bold text''' - Bold text
  • Section headers -

==Heading Text== - [insert image]

===Heading Texy=== - [insert image]
====Heading Tex==== - [insert image]
  • Link to another Wikipedia article (Internal link) - [[William Shakespeare]] - [insert image]
Link with another displayed title - [[William Shakespeare |Shakespeare]] - [insert image] - [insert image]
  • Link outside Wikipedia (External link) - [http://www.whitehouse.gov Whitehouse website] - [insert image]
  • Bulleted list -

* Bulleted list - [insert image]
** Bulleted list
Numbered list -
# List item - [insert image]
## List item

  • Image with caption - [[File:Example.png|Caption text]] - [insert image]
  • Your signature for Discussion page- ~~~~ - [insert image]
  • Reference - <ref><ref name="test">[http://www.example.org Link text], additional text.</ref> - [insert image]
  • Display references - <references/> - [insert image]

You can find more formatting tips by clicking Help on the left menu bar.

Try it! answer Key [Inner side of the back cover]Edit

How does Wikipedia work?
Who can write articles for Wikipedia?
ClickedCheckbox.jpg Anyone who has access to the Internet

Wikipedia user interface
Sara's friend Josh just started editing and finds that he needs help with Wikipedia policies and guidelines, community standards, and general help for editors. Where can he find assistance?
ClickedCheckbox.jpg Help

How can I contribute
Sara likes to take pictures of the places she visits. Sara can contribute to Wikipedia as:
ClickedCheckbox.jpgAn Illustrator

Life of an article

  • What does the Wikipedia peer review process involve?

ClickedCheckbox.jpgReview of article quality by a group of Wikipedians

What makes for a quality article
1. The body of an article has no headers.
ClickedCheckbox.jpgFalse

What should a quality encyclopedic article have?
ClickedCheckbox.jpgVerifiable sources
ClickedCheckbox.jpgNeutral point of view
ClickedCheckbox.jpgSummary, body, footnotes

Create a new article
What are the three elements to incorporate in your new article?
ClickedCheckbox.jpgA summary, its notability, and a source

[Back Cover]Edit

Are you one of the 12 million people who use Wikipedia each day?

Everyday people from all over the world use Wikipedia to help them with their school projects, business plans, personal research or travel plans. They use it to kindle new ideas, and to brainstorm concepts with other users. They use it to explore distant lands, ancient cultures, the arts, politics and recent events.

Welcome to Wikipedia is a reference guide for anyone who wants to take the next step and help add to and share the largest collaborative repository of knowledge ever, at mankind's disposal.

Follow Sara as she makes her first edits on Wikipedia. In the process, you will learn key concepts, guidelines, information, and tools, to get you to start contributing to Wikipedia.

[Wikimedia office address]

[Wikimedia logo]

The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization that runs Wikipedia and other freely licensed websites.