My parents still have a set of World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopædia Britannica stashed somewhere in the garage or attic. I remember sitting and reading through them for hours when I was a kid growing up in South Chicago.
Those days are gone and most encyclopedias are gathering dust in seldom used public and school libraries. What do we use today to look up what we need to know? The internet. While encyclopedias of the past were edited and researched, back in the day when newspapers and magazines had fact checkers, the public internet as we know it is self-policed, which is a polite way of saying not policed at all, suffers from the process of expedience.
Click To Wiki
My favorite source to look up anything is Wikipedia, which is what you get when anyone can add or delete anything from any topic in the world’s largest library of self edited information. Most of the time my Wikipedia searches are in a web browser, but on the Mac, not the iPhone. For the latter I used a dedicated app. One benefit of using a Mac app like App Wiki for Wikipedia is that it’s always available with a click to the Menubar, no browser required.
That one-click method is handy, efficient, and useful for anyone who uses Wikipedia. App Wiki is free but has an in-app purchase for a Pro version though for the life of my I can’t figure out what you get for the money.
From what I can see App Wiki is little more than a browser wrapper which defaults to Wikipedia. I’m OK with that. Bells and whistles are nominal but you can save articles to read later and offline, select multiple languages, share articles, and even resize the tab window to match your screen and work flow. The built-in stealth mode which lets you search Wikipedia with a bit more visual discretion is clever.
Another favorite Wikipedia search tool is the free Wiki Tab on the Mac App Store. It works much the same way but with fewer bells and whistles and hasn’t been updated in a few years (yet another example of abandonware in the Mac App Store; a growing problem).
A search of the Mac App Store for ‘wikipedia‘ turns up a few dozen similar apps that provide some kind of access to Wikipedia mashed up with a few useful features, including Wiki for Wikipedia. All are similar though few are updated regularly.