Wikipedia was and is a pioneer organization in open source software and applications. No one benefits more from the opportunities open-source has created than students at all levels of education. Wikipedia has gone from a source and a concept most educators would not take seriously to being global leaders in open source. The site now represents the most reliable and comprehensive information resource in the history of humanity. While just a couple of years ago a source citation from Wikipedia would have undoubtedly garnered some angry red ink slashes across the written page today, web citing is a clearly defined and accepted practice. In fact, today professors often cite Wikipedia as a resource to use. In fact, 380 million people use Wikipedia every month!
Recently the founder of Wikipedia began a fund raising campaign through the site in which he eloquently defines what Wikipedia is and what it has become. Some of the things he says are truly inspiring and humbling. For instance he writes, “Wikipedia isn’t anything like a commercial website. It is a community creation, written by volunteers making one entry at a time...you can use the information in Wikipedia any way you want.” And he also says, “Wikipedia is about the power of people like us to do extraordinary things. People like us write Wikipedia.”
Everyone reading this has probably wondered at some point if an original idea of theirs has had merit or potential and chances are if they decided to do some research about it, Wikipedia was one of the first ports of call. The site serves as a touching tribute to those ideas deemed ridiculous before achieving phenomenal and glorious success. It is also inspirational to us as students and educators that a couple of guys created an international phenomenon with a single idea. An idea based upon an intellectual need and desire for knowledge and information. Wikipedia is 10 years old in January.