While browsing through an article in Wikipedia today a thought about the value of the material I was reading stuck in my warped little mind.
The real information on that page was not the words displayed on it but the links embedded in it.
In essence, the writers/editors of this Wikipedia document are providing me with an annotated directory to a larger body of knowledge surrounding this particular topic.
Compare that to sending the same term to Google (or any other search tool). The first page of hits are based on some formula of popularity, combined with other factors.
But as good as Google might be in finding links, there’s no organization. And no human has made any judgement as to the quality of the materials at the end of those links.
In fact, have you noticed that a Wikipedia article on your search terms often pops up as one of the first few links?
I’m not ready to recommend using Wikipedia as anyone’s primary search tool but it’s something to think about.
However, it’s also very possible that I’m the last person in the world to make this connection anyway. :-)