Tools in the Wiki Toolshed

Wikipedia is not just an encyclopedia, and not just a community. It's also a software project, as any website project necessarily must be. Accordingly, Wikipedia editing and reading is supported by hundreds of different software tools designed to accomplish specific tasks.

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Wikipedia in 60 Seconds will return to the Manual of Style soon, but we're also excited to begin exploring Wikipedia's many user-generated essays. As we explained in week 7, essays are opinions of the Wikipedia community explaining concepts and proposing unofficial rules, and can be very helpful for understanding Wikipedia's culture.

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Week 91: The Style Section

Most Wikipedia articles divide content into sections, each under a different heading. This makes entries easier for users to navigate and read. Naming these sections might seem easy enough, but of course Wikipedia has rules about how to do it right.

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Week 84: On the Top-Side(bar)

Last week we introduced the navigation sidebar. This week we'll focus on its uppermost links:

  • Main page—Links to Wikipedia's main page, which displays featured content, current events, "Did you know..." hooks, and historical anniversaries
  • Contents—Introduces readers to curated article, reference, and special format collections, and collections of articles by quality or popularity
  • Featured content—Displays some of the encyclopedia's latest quality content, including featured articles, lists, pictures, portals, and topics
  • Current events—This portal archives major news events in reverse chronological order; links to related Wikipedia articles are included when appropriate
  • Random article—Clicking on this link will direct users to a random Wikipedia article, providing yet another way to get lost in the Internet's largest general reference work
  • Donate to Wikipedia—Here's where you can make a contribution to the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that hosts Wikipedia and its sister projects
  • Wikipedia store—Where you can buy Wikipedia t-shirts and other merchandise