Wikipedia is the number one source of information for many users, being the open-wiki encyclopedia that it is. It has probably far exceeded the famous Britannica or Encarta, with the amount of information that it contains, all being constantly updated. However, what if you need some information and do not have internet access, hence no Wikipedia? Wouldn’t it be great to have an option to ‘install’ Wikipedia locally?
BzReader is a free, open-source tool that allows offline browsing/reading of Wikipedia, or any other Wiki-format website, like Wikibooks, Wikitravel, etc.
The software relies on Wikipedia’s .xml.bz2 dump files, and works by indexing these files locally. Please remember that this process may require a decent amount of hard-disk, so make sure that you have any.
In order to use, you need to download any (or more than one) of the Wikipedia topic dumps here. You need the files named ‘pages-articles.xml.bz2’ for your preferred language, or multiple languages if you choose.
Open the downloaded dump(s) in BzReader. In case of multiple ones, all will be searched together. When opening for the first time, the reader will create indexes for fast retrieval of articles. This process is really lengthy, and the developer reports that for a 3.5 GB dump, a Core2Duo machine will take almost 4 hours. The index file itself is quite large, taking about 550 MB for a dump of this size.
Once indexing is done, that’s it. Browse Wikipedia offline right on your desktop. Just enter the search term in the search box and you’re good to go.
The software ran fine on Windows 7 32-bit. Screenshot above has been taken from the developer’s site.