That resource is Wikipedia.
The fact that this resource is provided free to all is a great testament to the value of the internet in the 21st century. Millions of people around the world visit the Wikipedia site every day to research, browse, read, and just as importantly to add new content to the site.
Personally, I think my blog posts would be far less interesting without the addition of historical information to help put my musings and observations into some sort of context. Without the history, they would merely be the casual ramblings of a traveler passing through a city or landscape noting things of interest without understanding the history behind the construction of a particular building or monument, or why certain events happened when they did.
I enjoy the research, and I especially enjoy learning more about the many places I have visited or I am planning to visit. I also like the challenge of incorporating what I hope are some of the more interesting historical tidbits into my writing. In deed, there is rarely a day when I don’t check the Wikipedia site for information about any number of topics, and it’s an ever rarer day when I have come up short and not been able to find information on what I’ve been looking for.
Started in 2001, the main Wikipedia site is written in English, and currently contains over 3.5 million articles. However other language versions of Wikipedia are available and while they do not yet contain the same number of articles, they provide an incredible resource to non-English speaking users.
Wikipedia is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization that also hosts a range of other projects. These include a free media repository (Commons); Wikinews, free-content news; Wiktionary, a Dictionary and thesaurus; Wikiquote, a collection of quotations; Wikibooks, a great resource of free textbooks and manuals, Wikisource, a free-content library; Wikispecies, a directory of species; and Wikiversity, which provides free learning materials and activities.
That’s why have I decided to add one more blog post to the final day of 2010. Because Wikipedia is wrapping up a fundraising drive aimed at raising $16 million to fund the ongoing work of the foundation behind the website, and having just made a AU$100 donation to the foundation, I thought I should bring the fundraising drive to your attention, dear reader.
If you too, have made use of Wikipedia during the year, or if you have enjoyed the historical background information I’ve used in my posts, I would encourage you to head on over to Wikipedia and make a donation of your own. It will be greatly appreciated.