Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations.
My favorite bookstores abound with how-to manuals. How to fix your car. How to do home repairs. Endless manuals on computers, parenting — pretty much anything. There's still a good market for how-to books, but a lot of that practical knowledge is migrating to the Internet, and our Website of the Week is part of that trend.
HERRICK: "WikiHow is a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest-quality how-to manual. It's about 21,000 articles written by volunteers all over the world, coming together to make an article as good as possible about how to do something."
Jack Herrick is the founder of WikiHow.com, and he says the range of topics covered has ballooned far beyond his initial expectations.
HERRICK: "When I started WikiHow I really thought it would be your typical how-to stuff — how to fix your car, how to cook food — but then it's become a lot more. You know, we even have things about relationships. How to get along with your wife, how to enjoy a weekend with your child. Things like that. You also start moving to some areas which are maybe a little wacky: how to sing a rap song, how to make a paper hat. They're 'how-to,' but there's also something kind of interesting and unique about them that brings people back and reading them over and over again."
With a name like WikiHow, you might think about the user-written online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Actually, the two sites aren't connected, except that they work in the same way — users write and edit the articles. No big editorial staff, just volunteers. And like Wikipedia, WikiHow is multilingual. So far, most of the site is in English, but there are growing numbers of how-to articles in five other languages so far.
HERRICK: "But we really want to be in every single language in the world. And we are opening right now in Japanese and Chinese. We're trying to get a version in Urdu. We're trying to get one in Arabic, Hindi, Bengali — all the major languages are something we would like to have a presence in soon."
There are categories for computers and pets and health and finances and lots more. Although Jack Herrick explained how wikis are self-correcting mechanisms, you might want to double check before you follow the anonymous advice on a WikiHow page. Anyway, you're smart enough to figure that out, right?
How to do most anything at WikiHow.com, or get the link from our site, voanews.com.