Whenever you come across a word or concept you don’t know, if you’re anything like the majority of internet users out there, you’re most likely to go to one of these places to get more information: Wikipedia, Dictionary.com, or just plain old Google. Sites like these are a good source of reference and information sharing (except for Google, which might take a few extra clicks to find relevant results), but they overlook the fact that, by and large, learning is a social activity. That’s why you usually forget what you looked up on these sites the very next day.
Whereas Wikipedia takes excellent advantage of knowledge sharing among experts via its wiki-based model, contributors to the site are often hidden behind the scenes without readily visible connections to other users, which makes it more of a content factory than an actively collaborative learning site. What’s missing is the sense of community—an important construct that fuels the development and spread of knowledge in learning facilities around the world.
Designed to bring community and communication back into online education and reference, the new social learning network called TermWiki is a community-oriented knowledge platform that facilitates collaboration, knowledge sharing and social networking in addition to its targeted encyclopedic functions. In other words, TermWiki has effectively merged Wikipedia and Facebook into a new type of social learning community. By allowing its members to collaboratively develop, learn, and share knowledge, as well as connect with friends and peers in over 1,200 domains, TermWiki is changing the way people acquire knowledge and interact with friends and peers in a internet-driven world.
In terms of its encyclopedic functions, TermWiki introduces a number of new concepts that help to organize its content into highly structured sections.
Unlike Wikipedia, which contains mostly flat data, i.e., text spread out on a page without any particular order, TermWiki uses only structured data organized into a set of pre-defined attributes or meta tags. This means that every entry in TermWiki belongs to a structured database, so it can be easily indexed, searched, watched and translated, which enhances the efficiency and accuracy of its content. More importantly, it enables users to find relevant information and related concepts quickly and more accurately.
Social Learning Network
With TermWiki, a user can learn about a particular subject by finding all related terms and information in one convenient location. For example, a student studying algebra is able to find a wealth of important terms and usage examples in the Algebra category under the Mathematics domain. More importantly, that same student is able to post algebra-related questions to TermWiki’s subject-driven question and answer platform. Furthermore, the student can join special online clubs to connect with other users who have similar interests or questions through TermWiki’s forums. Essentially, TermWiki provides a centralized platform in which students can look up terms, view references, ask questions and promote discussions in any subject with other students and teachers around the world.
As indicated, all TermWiki entries are structured according to their domains, industries and category classifications to allow easy access to relevant information. Users can search for the meaning of a term in a specific industry, or in the context of a particular product or company, solving the Internet-wide issue of generic or inaccurate information. And the benefits are multiplied for language students and enthusiasts: TermWiki is the first site on the web that enables users to find and contribute domain-specific translations for terms and their definitions.
Most encyclopedias can only handle one language, or fractured content in a few languages. TermWiki, however, allows users to move between source and translated versions of terms in 75+ languages with a single click. By linking all multilingual terms and translations to one another, TermWiki ensures the effective leverage of content across languages. It also makes TermWiki a powerful combination of encyclopedia and multilingual dictionary, so language learners from all walks of life now have a place to go and brush up their topic-based vocabularies.
You have to admit: sometimes it’s addicting to surf through Wikipedia pages and click on link after link after link within the article. But sometimes, when all is said and done, you realize that you haven’t really found the information you were looking for in the first place. There’s just too much information available!
Research suggests that most encyclopedia users only read the initial few lines when referring to terms or concepts. On the whole, the priority of most users is to gain a quick understanding, so long articles will generally go unread. TermWiki entries have a short, to-the-point description of each term, while providing readers up-to-date links to gain further information if required; this includes news articles, as well as associated videos and images right there on the definition page. By summarizing vital information, while providing further information right at the user’s fingertips, TermWiki supports a more targeted approach to term definition and online learning.
Fluid, Real-time Data
Given the fast-changing nature of many concepts described in encyclopedias, TermWiki’s collaborative and fluid approach to information development and sharing facilitates the up-to-second data. TermWiki users are invited to take charge of and moderate the terms in their field, and keep them updated with recent developments. Should a user make a modification that is inaccurate or of low quality, the term can be discussed by multiple users in entry-specific discussion forms or marked with a 1 to 5 star rating to draw the community’s attention to quality issues. This combination of subject-matter expert control and communal collaboration ensures that the data in TermWiki is both relevant and reliable.
TermWiki gives users access to pertinent and up-to-date information in English and 75+ target languages. Its balance of structured yet updatable entries has enabled its quick growth into a fantastic information resource: the new wiki encyclopedia.