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Archive:Press releases/2008-9 Selection for Schools

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SOS Children UK and the Wikimedia Foundation announce the 2008/9 Wikipedia Selection for Schools

CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom & SAN FRANCISCO CA - October 22 — SOS Children UK, in coordination with the Wikimedia Foundation, has released a complete 2008/9 revision of the Wikipedia Selection for Schools, which is perhaps the most successful "checked content" project derived from the English Wikipedia. Previous revisions have been distributed off-line widely across the globe including by the Shuttleworth Foundation to South Africa Schools, by the Hole in the Wall project to rural Indian children and through SOS offices worldwide. The updated selection has the content of a 20 volume encyclopaedia - with 34,500 pictures, 20 million words and articles on more than 5500 topics. This revision, which can be freely downloaded or collected free from SOS Children is selected and organised around the UK National Curriculum and aimed at 8-17 year olds who broadly follow the UK National Curriculum and similar curricula elsewhere in the world.

Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, remarked:

"The Wikimedia Foundation is delighted to work with SOS Children. Our goal is to make Wikipedia accessible to as many people as possible around the world, and SOS Children is a great partner who helps us make that happen. Wikipedia content is released under a free content license so that individuals and institutions can easily adapt, reuse and customize its content: we encourage others, like SOS Children, to do exactly that."

Dr Andrew Cates, CEO of SOS Children (and also a Wikipedia administrator) said:

"Wikipedia is an incredible phenomenon, and we are proud to have helped improve the accessibility of Wikipedia content to include users requiring remote access, child-friendly access and checked access. This year, general quality improvements on the English Wikipedia (particularly on requiring reliable sourcing for material) means the single most important selection criterion is now relevance or interest to children and manual content checking is slowly becoming secondary."

This selection which was originally designed for remote developing world schools without internet access, has been widely put on first world school intranets and websites. Although it is mainly an off-line project, even the online browsable copy at http://schools-wikipedia.org gets on average well over ten thousand human surfers a day. Around 15% of last year's article selection has been removed as no longer meeting rising relevancy standards and more than fifteen hundred more relevant topics have been added, as now of high quality. All articles were reviewed and updated as needed.

SOS Children's Villages is best known as the world's largest orphan charity (UK Charity No. 1069204) but is also a very large educational charity running 192 schools with 91,000 pupils in the developing world. See www.soschildren.org

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit, 501(c)3 charitable foundation that operates Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects. The Foundation was established by Jimmy Wales in 2003, two years after creating Wikipedia, to build a long-term future for free knowledge projects on the internet. The Foundation, now based in San Francisco, California, maintains the technical infrastructure, software and servers that allow millions of people every day to freely use Wikipedia and its sister projects.

Summary points

  • The selection is organised around National Curriculum subjects
  • The articles have been cleaned up and checked for suitability for and usefulness to children
  • Website: http://schools-wikipedia.org
  • Download: a full download of the content should be available via BitTorrent by 23rd October. It is currently being seeded.


David Gerard

UK volunteer media contact,
Wikimedia Foundation
+44 7733 223584

Andrew Cates

CEO, SOS Children UK
+44 1223 365589

Elizabeth Rodgers

Press Officer, SOS Children UK
+44 1223 365589

About us

About SOS Children UK

SOS Children UK (UK Charity No. 1069204) is the UK member of SOS Children's Villages International, one of the largest children's organizations in the world, operating in 123 countries including the USA and Canada. Best known as the world's largest orphan charity, with around 70,000 children living in family based care in SOS Children's Villages, and a large African Aids Orphan program, SOS is also a very large educational charity running 192 schools with 91,000 pupils in the developing world. The Schools Wikipedia (a special selection of articles from the English Wikipedia, completed through a partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation) was started by SOS Children UK and was substantially checked by volunteers. For more information on the worldwide organisation see www.soschildren.org

About the Wikimedia Foundation