Wikipedia Celebrates its Seventh Birthday
San Francisco, January 15 — Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia anyone can edit, celebrates its seventh birthday today. Founded on January 15, 2001, Wikipedia has become one of the world's ten most visited websites, and the fastest growing, most current, and largest encyclopedia ever created. Currently, the website has nine million articles in over two hundred and fifty languages. It is collaboratively written by volunteers from around the world.
"In a relatively short time, Wikipedia has become one of the world's most successful collaboratively written websites. We have struck a chord with tens of thousands of volunteers worldwide, all of whom share our dream of empowering citizens worldwide to share in the sum of all human knowledge. Now with a strong international volunteer base, we would like to focus more energy on improving the quality of Wikipedia and its sister projects. The next five years are going to bring many never-seen-before web based initiatives geared towards this goal," stated Florence Devouard, Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.
The Wikipedia experiment has repeatedly been acclaimed as a resounding success. Most recently a 2007 study from the Hewlett Packard Information Dynamics Laboratory found that Wikipedia's best quality articles are those that have been edited often and by many different people. The report also validated Wikipedia as a "successful collaborative effort".
Wikipedia and its sister projects have become a virtual library that spans all languages and continents, attracts millions of visitors, and collects information from all corners of the world. The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit foundation behind the project, has begun developing programs and tools that will extend learning and knowledge gathering in the developing world and disadvantaged communities. In Fall 2007 the Foundation held several Wikipedia Academies in South Africa, with the goal of increasing the number of Wikipedias in African languages.
The Wikimedia Foundation has chapters throughout the world, responsible for promoting the projects locally. Currently, chapters are present in Argentina, France, Israel, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.
The content on Wikipedia and its sister projects are under a free license. Content can be modified rapidly and repeatedly, and individuals can build on the material submitted by other editors. As a result, this ensures that the content will never be lost to humankind, and that information remains free and accessible to all.
The Wikimedia Foundation Inc. is a nonprofit, charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of its wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. It operates some of the largest collaboratively-edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, one of the world's 10 most-visited websites.
For a full list of projects, visit Our projects.
All projects of the Wikimedia Foundation are collaboratively developed by volunteers using the MediaWiki software. Their content may be freely used, freely edited, freely copied and freely redistributed subject to the restrictions of that license.
The goal of Wikipedia, the largest encyclopedia in history, is to create free encyclopedias in all languages of the world. Anyone with Internet access is free to contribute by writing new articles and editing existing articles. Wikipedia was ranked the fourth most visited website on the internet in November 2008 according to comScore.
Wikipedia started in January 2001, and currently offers over eleven million articles in over 260 languages. The largest Wikipedia is in English, with more than 2.6 million articles; followed by the German and French editions, each of which contain more than six hundred thousand articles. Nine other language editions contain 200,000+ articles, and more than 150 other languages contain 1,000+ articles. Wikipedia is entirely created and maintained by a community of active volunteers.