When Wikipedia Isn’t Laconic Enough, There’s QuickyWiki
Are Wikipedia articles too wordy for you? Don’t want to spend too long getting your information dose? Try a tool that offers to act as a “Cliff’s Notes” for your wikiexperience: QuickyWiki http://www.quickywiki.com/ .
On the front page you can run a simple keyword search and if you like add focus words to help you narrow down your query (You can also leave that blank and QuickyWiki will suggest focus words for you.) I did a search for elephant and got what looked like an abridged version of the Wikipedia article on elephants (only without the multimedia or easy-to-read formatting.) However when I did a search for elephant with the focus word India, the usefulness of the site made more sense — I got a brief article about just Asian elephants. For an extraction it was well-put-together except at the end when a paragraph about musth was tacked on.
At the end of the article were links to related links, Web links, and news links, most of which were rather disappointing in their quality. I did find however if I did a search that generated a fairly small result (search Charlie Chaplin, focus tramp) I got better related links at the bottom of the article (and in this case the article was only one paragraph.)
In some cases of course QuickyWiki can’t focus for you. I did a search on elephants focus stephen colbert, but got no results. In that case QuickyWiki will suggest matches from Yahoo and Wikipedia, but will not attempt to extract an article for you.
There are many things I wonder about QuickyWiki. How old is that Wikipedia data it’s using? What is the critical mass of data that has to be available before a topic is focusable? Is there any way that Wikipedia article formatting can be handled so that articles with long extractions, like elephant would be easier to read? If I had something really specific that I needed and found the corresponding Wikipedia article slow going, this would be useful. Just stay away from general topics like elephants.