1. Summary description of its structure and purpose
Wikipedia is a free web-based, multilingual encyclopedia that was created in 2001 by Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales. It has about 17 million articles on different topics that were written by volunteers all over the world. Wikipedia provides articles on 267 languages. The main website of Wikipedia is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page . The main page of Wikipedia provides information about encyclopedia itself, its history, gives an opportunity to choose the language of a page, provides the main article for the current day and tells what happened at this date at in different years.
If we are looking for some specific information, for example distance education, we make search and are redirected to the page with the article about it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distance_education ).The structure of the page is simple and understandable. The page consists of the main article, discussion section and some kind of menu on the left side. The menu consists of such sections as Main Page, Contents, Featured content, Current events, Random article, Donate to Wikipedia, Interaction, Toolbox, Print/Export, Languages (allows choosing any of 26 languages)( Distance Education). There are also offered such functions as: Read, Edit and View history.
The slogan of Wikipedia is “The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.” The purpose of Wikipedia is to provide information about different things, events, people and so on.
2. Its overall \”look and feel\” and apparent target audience
Talking about “look and feel” of the Wikipedia`s website, there should be mentioned that it makes a good impression in visitors, it has good interface, easy menu, understandable search functions. The main advantage of the site and the reason of its huge popularity is a great amount of provided information almost on any subject and on any language. The site provides a lot of information that can be very helpful. The main colors of the site are white, black and blue that make materials easy to read. Also a lot of articles are followed with pictures that are very useful. It is very helpful, that almost every article ends with the links to some other supportive articles and links to relevant sites. The site contains a huge amount of information, but it is rather easy to follow necessary direction (Hoskins, 2009). But every visitor of the site should remember that any person can write an article for this encyclopedia, that is why information there can not be reliable 100%. Nevertheless the whole impression from the site is good.
The apparent target audience includes all people who use internet.
3. What I find useful about this site
All information that is provided by Wikipedia is very interesting and useful. I use Wikipedia from time to time, so the site of this encyclopedia wasn’t new for me. It was useful t know that Wikipedia is hosted by Wikimedia Foundation that is a non-profit organization. Wikipedia has some sister’s projects (hosted by the same foundation), such as Commons (free media repository), Wikiquote (collection of quotations), Wikispecies (directory of species), Wikinews (free-content news), Wikibooks (free textbooks and manuals), Wikiversity (free learning activities and materials), Wiktionary (dictionary and thesaurus), Wikisource (free-content library) and Meta-Wiki (Wikimedia project coordination) (Main Page).
4. Links there that I either did or intend to follow up
Looking through the page of Wikipedia about distance education I followed some links that were offered as additional for this topic. I followed such links as Correspondence Law School, Electronic learning, Sunrise Semester and Continuing education. All these links redirected me to the relevant articles on other pages of Wiki.
5. Any other things about the site that I find interesting
It was interesting to find out that sometimes articles can be written not only in English, but in “Simple English”. Such articles explain the material in a very simple and common way that every school pupil can understand it. Such function makes the range of apparent target audience wider. It was also interesting to know that the site gives an opportunity almost to any person register on it and write or edit articles on the site.
6. Bottom-line evaluation of its value to me
The site of Wikipedia encyclopedia is very valuable for me as it provides information about almost everything and everyone. Every time I don’t know something I make a search for this in Wiki and I am sure a lot of people do this. I am even sure that for some people this site is number 1 in finding new information. So, the site’s value can be evaluated very high.