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31 March 2011

Wikipedia is 10 Years Old

I listened to a podcast episode from the BBC - formerly called Digital Planet, now called Click - which featured an interview with WIkipedia founder Jimmy Wales.  The program aired on 18 January 2011, and you can listen to the program at this link.

I learned some new facts about Wikipedia:

  • Only 20% of Wikipedia entries are  in English, the rest are in all the other languages of the world.
  • The impact of Wikipedia for us is convenience, in many languages it's the only encyclopedia - for instance Swahili now has 20,000 entries.  "As the next billion people come online, we want to make sure that they have access to information."
  • The Golden Rule for information posted on Wikipedia is "Can you site a source?  Where did you get the information you're posting here?"
  • Wikipedia is pushing to  improve the software that would allow non-Roman alphabet languages to make keyboard entries on the site.  For example, it's hard to type in Hindi on an English keyboard!
I began to dig a little on the web for links relating to this interview and discovered more:

"Once criticized as amateurism run amok, Wikipedia has become ingrained in the online world: it is consulted by millions of users when there is breaking news; its articles are frequently the first result when a search engine is used. This enhanced role has moved hand in hand with Wikipedia’s growing stability (some would say stagnation). With more than three million articles in English alone, there are fewer unexplored topics, and many of the most important articles have been edited thousands of times over a number of years." (The New York Times)

Read the New York Times' story about the Wikipedian in Residence program at the British Museum

A Wikipedian-in-Residence at the British Museum
Wikipedia and the British Museum are very similar institutions - "One has the artifacts and expertise, and the other has the online audience." (Liam Wyatt)

Find more statistics about  Wikipedia   on its page in Wikipedia.