By now you probably noticed that we love Wikipedia. It’s awesome! It’s a huge community of volunteers who support the distribution of free knowledge, and we are a part of it! We couldn’t be prouder. But still, Wikipedia has its limits. Some articles are very long and consist of so many details that it’s difficult to skim them or receive an easily explained summary. Also, you have to read it…
That’s why we love YouTube. You can find videos that explain various topics, including our own explainer videos! However, you can find everything on YouTube. And by everything, we mean everything: there’s a lot of nonsense on the hosting site too. Our biggest question is: who skims the videos and tells you which one will actually explain something to you correctly?
You see, although we love these websites, they have some drawbacks. Luckily, there’s something new called video encyclopedias, which are able to get rid of the mentioned disadvantages. One of these is Check123, which is another collaboration partner of ours. We can indirectly control the content uploaded on Check123 through contacting them.
But what are video encyclopedias anyway?
In general, an encyclopedia is a very extensive work of reference. It covers a variety of subjects and takes a look at each of them in grand detail. It’s always neutral, because conveying knowledge is supposed to enable the reader to make up his or her mind, it is not supposed to force an opinion onto somebody. In 1809, it was stated that an encyclopedia can never be complete. It rather allows readers to gain access to basic knowledge. This was true at the time, since in the past, encyclopedias were printed and distributed as books. As time went on, CD-ROMs were created and published, but everything was still limited.
In today’s digital world, encyclopedias are available online. The printed and CD-ROM versions are almost forgotten since we get free access to quality sources on the Internet. And…the Internet basically is unlimited, right? So that 1809 statement might not be true anymore. The articles we read get more and more detailed, but what if more isn’t always better?
Video encyclopedias are downscaling everything again. Let’s face it: videos are more and more important! You can earn money becoming a YouTube blogger, videos find their way into e-learning systems, and even the theoretical part of driving school relies on videos. The old, descriptive pictures on test sheets have completed their service.
With a video you have to get to the point pretty quickly, since nobody wants to wait for ten minutes until you finally cut to the chase. Short explainer videos have proven to educate their viewers much better than longer lectures (otherwise our founding partners at simpleshow wouldn’t be in business anymore! 😉 ) But if you only have two or three minutes for an explanation, you can’t include every detail.
In one of our latest projects, called the “mysimpleshow pilot project”, we take extensive and complex Wikipedia articles and create short explainer videos which offer a summary to the reader. That way you will get quick access to a topic without needing to read the entire article, unless of course you want to know more details! As soon as we create our videos, we upload them under a Creative Commons license. Now they are available to all Wikipedians and can be integrated into Wikipedia article bodies as well as other projects for everyone to see!
So far, we haven’t found the one organization that brings everything together. There are always some drawbacks, but we believe that by creating our explainer videos, based on Wikipedia articles, we can contribute to creating a good video encyclopedia! Our vision is to one day have an entire encyclopedia consisting of videos that relies on the contribution of volunteers, allows editing, and offers free knowledge to all.