Starting at Midnight (Eastern Standard Time) on January 18th, Wikipedia, along with several other major internet sites, will suspend operations for 24 hours. This action is being taken to protest SOPA/PIPA (Stop Online Piracy Act/Protect IP Act) legislation that is under consideration in the U.S. Congress. Supporters say that this legislation is designed to stop online piracy, but protestors fear that it could severely limit online freedom.
So, what can we do in the absence of Wikipedia? The Washington Post has some great tips about how to perform research during the Wikipedia blackout (note their repeated suggestion to use a library!)
And, if you’re interested in finding out more about the proposed legislation and the controversy surrounding it, check out this Los Angeles Times article and the Wikimedia Foundation’s letter to the English Wikipedia Readers and Community.