Wiki quickie

Quickly look up words and more at open-source data sites with this free reference app.

Wikitup is a free desktop reference tool with extensions for Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Wikitup uses open-source data from sites like Wikipedia, Wikitionary, and Wikiquote to deliver search results quickly to your desktop via a system tray icon. It can translate selections in more than 700 languages as well as find photos and videos and present them in a Cooliris 3D Wall display.

To access Wikitup, we clicked the W icon in our Windows notification area, also known as the system tray. We right-clicked the icon and selected Settings, which let us select languages, data sources, hot keys, and other options. Data sources are selected via the sort of add-and-remove tool that lists available resources in one panel and active ones in another; we simply added those we wanted to use and removed those we didn't. The available sources included various video and picture sharing sites like YouTube and Picasa as well as Google and Wiki sites. We could use the hot keys to look things up or open the Wikitup box and enter searches directly. This compact pop-up categorizes results into tabs labeled Words, Video, Pictures, and Sound. Pressing Ctrl and right-clicking any word in any program on our system initiated a Wikitup search, with results appearing in the appropriate tabs in Wikitup's display. We stumped Wikitup's resources with one search, but the program came back with the opportunity to write an entry and submit it to the appropriate wiki.

Wikitup is an intriguing reference tool that brings a wide range of resources a mouse click away. We don't need to stress the usual caveat regarding wikis, which are only as authoritative and accurate as feedback and scrutiny can make them. However, Wikitup is great for fast look-ups and as an easy-to-use desktop reference, and we recommend it.

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