May 29, 2006

Wikipedia Is Amazing

I am totally in love with Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a "wiki" which basically is an online list that anyone in the world can add to, update, or edit. Wikipedia is a sort of online encyclopedia. The amazing thing is that it's written entirely by different contributors (even you can make an entry!) and anyone can edit or ammend things. It's a little more complicated than that--there are some guidelines and it's moderated--but for the most part you can find just about anything on Wikipedia.

Case in point. I'm working on Chapter 21 in my novel in which I needed to have my main character drive from Cupertino (near San Jose) to San Francisco on Interstate 280. I needed her to pass Palo Alto and not be able to exit the freeway for a few miles. I used to drive the San Jose to Palo Alto drive very, very frequently (Palo Alto is where Stanford University and Stanford Hospital are) but I couldn't remember the name of the exits past Palo Alto, or the distances between them. So I was pouring over maps on Mapquest but couldn't figure out distances. On a lark I searched on something like "Distances between exits Palo Alto San Francisco California" or something equally long and rather obscure and what should pop up? A Wikipedia entry all about Interstate 280. Including a chart of all of the exits and mile markers. Amazing. Boy do I wish they had this kind of resource when I was in college writing research papers!

Posted by Shelby at May 29, 2006 06:49 PM
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