WikiNodes iPad App Delivers a New Way to Browse Wikipedia

By on Jun 8, 2011 at 8:02 am

Rockville, Maryland – The encyclopedia just got an upgrade. WikiNodes is a new app for the Apple iPad that displays content from Wikipedia in a futuristic way. Instead of clicking through page after page of long articles, users tap on images and nodes to breeze through topics. Each node contains a piece of an article, and nodes are linked together to infinity and beyond. For casual users, WikiNodes’ interface makes Wikipedia both more interesting and addictive.

Available for 99 cents, the app has been popular with tech bloggers and was tagged as “New and Noteworthy” and as a “Staff Pick” in May by Apple’s App Store.

Wikipedia changed the world with an encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Articles are linked to other articles, but the fundamental experience of using an encyclopedia is still the same: page after page of text with a few photos and illustrations thrown in. Like something from Minority Report, the 2002 Spielberg film, in which Tom Cruise’s character whisked photos and text around in virtual reality, WikiNodes’ intuitive user interface puts Wikipedia’s millions of encyclopedic articles at the user’s fingertips in the form of little nodes that can be touched and expanded. An illustrated node about “Tornados,” for example, links to “Life Cycle” and “Intensity and Damage,” as well as to other articles such as the tornado outbreak of April 2011.

“We released WikiNodes at the end of April, and the response has been wild,” said WikiNodes Project Manager Michael Douma. “Last week, someone tweeted, ‘One day I’ll make my kids spend an hour with it daily.’ We sure hope so.”

The app, developed by the nonprofit Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement (IDEA), leverages the unique features of the iPad while engaging users’ imaginations. According to Douma, “Our intent is to enable people to easily jump between pieces of information without having to read long passages of text.” But when users want to slow down and read in detail, WikiNodes also offers a traditional, full-page view, which displays Wikipedia articles as long-form pages.

Douma noted that the WikiNodes team updates the app once or twice a month. “The recently released WikiNodes 2.0 supports Wikipedia’s top 36 languages, as well as improved layout and stability,” he said. “Future releases will incorporate bookmarks and history, as well as sharing capabilities and additional types of content.”

Supported Languages include English, Arabic, Bokmål, Norwegian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Malay, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.

Device Requirements:
* Compatible with iPad
* Requires iOS 4.0 or later
* 6.5 MB

Pricing and Availability:
WikiNodes 2.0 is only $0.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Lifestyle category.

IDEA
WikiNodes 2.0
Purchase and Download
Screenshot
App Icon

The Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement (IDEA) is a nonprofit organization committed to enhancing the public’s knowledge of science and culture. IDEA draws on some of the best practices of museums, publishers, software developers, and research labs to deliver a variety of programs via the web and mobile devices. Because mobile, multi-touch apps are a new frontier for enhancing scientific, artistic, and cultural literacy, IDEA researches, designs and builds new ways to put information at the public’s fingertips. In addition to WikiNodes, IDEA has developed two other apps: SpringAhead, an eBook and tool about when and where people around the world observe Daylight Saving Time; and Popstamatic, which creates Pop Art silkscreen style 1960s artwork from photographs. Copyright (C) 2011 IDEA. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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