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Wikipedia Invites Users to Take Part in Open, Collaborative Video Experiment

Kaltura, Wikimedia Foundation and WikiEducator announce a beta program to allow users to create collaborative video and other forms of rich media

St. Petersburg, FL and New York, NY, January 17, 2008 — The Wikimedia Foundation, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and Kaltura, Inc., a pioneer in Collaborative Media, announced today that the companies have begun a process aimed at bringing rich-media collaboration to Wikipedia and other wiki websites. Under this project, users will be invited to test new functionality that could one day enable Wikipedia articles to include collaboratively created video, audio, animations, and slideshows as well as text and images.

The functionality will be demonstrated on WikiEducator (not a Wikimedia project), an educational wiki hosted by the Commonwealth of Learning. As part of the first stage of this collaboration, Kaltura will release as open source software its own front-end and back-end code. "This is only the first step in supporting open source and open standards", explained Shay David, Chief Technology Officer of Kaltura, Inc. "As part of the cooperation with Wikipedia, we will ensure that our rich media platform works without any dependencies on closed software or closed standards."

The beta test on WikiEducator serves to give users a glimpse of the functionality developed by Kaltura, and to encourage the international open source developer community to contribute time, skills, and ideas to the project. "I am proud that WikiEducator can support the testing of this cutting-edge innovation for education in collaboration with the free knowledge community" said Wayne Mackintosh, founder of the WikiEducator project: "Social networking and collaborative editing of rich media will unleash untapped potential for learning across our planet."

The concepts of peer production and rich media are at the forefront of today's digital world. The overwhelming participation in Wikipedia has revealed users' inclination to collaborate using text. Simultaneously, the success of user-generated video sharing sites has demonstrated users' growing interest to produce and to share rich media. With this project, Wikimedia and Kaltura hope to leverage both these trends by allowing groups of online users to collaborate and create rich media content together, and contribute to human knowledge creation and dissemination globally.

"Since we launched Kaltura's Global Network a few months ago, we've seen that rich-media collaboration is becoming a reality and something that is valued and needed in the market – be it through users creating collaborative Kaltura videos on our portal, or via partners who license our platform. I am confident that our project with Wikimedia will excite people's imagination as they become familiar with the concept of peer production of rich media, and solidify Kaltura as the leader in its field," said Ron Yekutiel, Chairman and CEO of Kaltura.

Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, welcomed this first cooperation: "We are pleased to work with a company that has affirmed strong support for open source software and open standards. All video and audio content in Wikimedia projects uses free formats, such as Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora, that can be played back using open source software. We believe that open standards are critical to a web future where everyone can contribute — in the true spirit of Wikipedia."

The Wikimedia Foundation landing page can be accessed through: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Collaborative_Video. To see the demo on WikiEducator, please visit http://wikieducator.org/Help:Collaborative_video.

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