Can we imagine world without Wikipedia! The user-created encyclopaedia has made waves around the world by temporarily closing at midnight. The voluntary closure was done with the purpose of publicising the website’s belief that provisions in two Congressional bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act, referred to as SOPA as well as the PIPA, or the Protect IP Act, which may require search engines to block access to sites that employ copyrighted material via links or hosting, is tantamount to censorship.
A visit to Wikipedia’s English site shows a gloomy black screen with the stark words “Imagine a world without free knowledge. “Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia co-founder, said, “This bill is poorly constructed, quite dangerous and won’t actually address the real problem of piracy. Internet policy shouldn’t be set by Hollywood.”
Wikipedia’s protest is being strongly supported by the search giant Google, which has not shut down its site. However, around midnight Google had covered most of the logo on its U.S. homepage with a black box, and added a link asking users to tell Congress “please don’t censor the web.”
Within minutes of the Wikipedia website being closed, social media news blog Mashable started recommending numerous alternatives like Encyclopaedia Britannica, which is written by about 100 editors and 4,000 contributors; Google Scholar, which delivers answers from professionals and universities; Quora, an information network that connects users to people with similar interests; IMDb, the internet movie database; as well as online libraries that have links to research sites such as LexisNexis.
The fans who can’t avoid Wikipedia always had the recourse to using the cached pages on Google.