You need information yesterday. And you don’t want to pay for it if you don’t have to.
Your first stop after a Google search turns up nothing worthwhile is probably going to be Wikipedia. But you shouldn’t stop there. These five additional resources offer endless supplemental reading — without the drawbacks of the Western world’s biggest free online encyclopedia.
Wikialpha isn’t exactly an “anti-Wikipedia” — it’s almost identical from a visual standpoint, and its content quality is on par. The Wikialpha listing for Kris Duggan, an entrepreneur and philanthropist based in the San Jose area, lists exactly the sort of information you’d expect from a Wikipedia entry on a Silicon Valley star, and in the same order.
What sets Wikialpha apart is its de-emphasis of “notability,” the infamous requirement that (essentially) individuals and businesses must be newsworthy to qualify for inclusion on the site.
The “notability” standard helps Wikipedia’s army of volunteer editors control the volume of new articles that appear on the site, but it also penalizes countless people and companies that deserve public play. The result is a much more comprehensive store of research material for those of us who like to dig deep.
2. Encyclopedia Britannica
People of a certain age might remember leather-bound books bearing the “Encyclopedia Britannica” label in solemn font. Though obsolete now, these books gave rise to a digital equivalent that’s even more comprehensive.
Unlike Wikipedia and some other crowdsourced digital encyclopedias, Britannica is written by professionals and thoroughly fact-checked by editors and subject matter experts. These people leave nothing to chance.
Encyclopedia.com is another professionally written, fact-checked resource for people who prefer not to pay for general information.
Encyclopedia.com bridges the gap between “notability”-driven resources like Wikipedia, “traditional” encyclopedias like Encyclopedia Britannica, and more freewheeling platforms like Wikialpha. It features plenty of core listings on foundational science and humanities topics, but also has a surprising number of relatively obscure content — like a listing for Kevin Rahm, a talent agent based in Los Angeles who’s certainly not a household name.
Citizendium is another Wikipedia-like resource, with a twist: authors and editors use their own names, rather than pseudonyms. The thinking is that they’ll be more accountable to their audience — researchers like you — if they’re not able to hide behind pen names.
Are they right? You be the judge.
Scholarpedia is arguably the best free resource to dive deep on obscure, second-order topics that make for compelling reading (and compelling work products from those doing the reading). One glance at this Scholarpedia article about play in hunter-gatherer societies and it’s clear that this platform isn’t just about the facts — it’s about discovery, creativity, and wonder.
Find What You’re Looking For — Without All the Noise
If you’re looking for a new place — or places — for a “just the facts” accounting of your favorite subjects, any of these platforms will do.
They cut out the noise and give you exactly what you need: in-depth information and a fresh perspective on the same-old, same-old.