A large number of websites will go dark tomorrow, January 18, in order to protest against the anti-piracy bill, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and one such website is Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia will black out its English site for 24 hours, and millions of users will be unable to access the website. While this is a noble and possibly necessary step on part of the site, the fact is, there are still a ton of reports and papers that need to be written by students pursing various degrees and this blackout might be detrimental.
If you are a regular user of Wikipedia and don’t want to lose access to the website for tomorrow, then Offline Wiki, a Chrome application, can be of great help. It allows you to save and download a copy of nearly all of the textual content locally, so that it can be accessed while Wikipedia is not available, or when you don’t have an internet connection. It downloads and saves a compressed dump file and an index. Two file storage versions are available, a smaller version of 14MB and a larger version of 1GB. All you have to do is launch the app, hit OK in the notification bar and select a file size. The download will start automatically, and you will be able to access and view articles in the index.
Once you’ve launched the app, a notification from will appear asking for permission to save data to your system, which you have to allow.
Visit the app’s settings from the Settings link just below the search bar. The settings offer users with two options for file storage. You can either select a 14MB index or a 1GB file from the drop-down menu. Also, select a parsing engine, from InstaView Parser, Source View, Enhanced Source View and Basic Parser options. The Stop Downloads button pauses the current downloads for the remainder of the session, whereas the Delete Dump button deletes the current dump from your computer. However, once you’ve deleted a dump, you can download the file again.
When the download is complete, it will build an Index of all available articles. You can now search and browse articles when Wikipedia is unavailable, or when you don’t have an internet connection.
The actual size of the English Wikipedia is more than 7GB without images, so 1GB only represents a small part of the entire website. We are not sure about what criteria was used for the selection of articles, but Offline Wiki can come in quite handy for a lot of people, especially during this black out.