Stef Magdalinski has done something very clever. Fresh from his work on theyworkforyou.com, he’s set up a proxy to the news.bbc.co.uk website which scans the content for capitalised phrases and acronyms and replaces them with links to Wikipediaarticles if they exist (He’s written about how it works in “Don’t get me wrong, I really like BBC News Online“).
For example, the current lead story “Trust us, Howard urges voters” has references to and Michael Howard, the UKIP, Tony Blair. When you run the article through the proxy and all of these become clickable links to the relevant Wikipedia articles (so Michael Howard, the UKIP, Tony Blair), providing not only background on all the relevant parties, but a “further reading” list, so if you’re interested in something on the site, you can find out more about it using Wikipedia as your reference source (of course, there are some problems with this). What would be nicer of course, would be to have cross-referenced BBC articles, which they kind of do in their “See Also:” section of each news story, but these tend to be just similar articles which don’t actually add anything to the original article, and may in fact pose more questions. For example, what’s really needed on the BBC article above are links to Michael Howard’s biography, Tony Blair’s biography and the UKIP Q&A – all on the news.bbc.co.uk site. Incidentally, those three articles are all the first results for the relevant searches using the BBC search engine.